Information and communication technologies

Information and communication technologies or techniques of information and communication 1 ( ICT , transcription of English information and communication technologies , ICT ) are, mainly in the academic world , the field of telematics , that is, the techniques of computing , audiovisual , multimedia , Internet and telecommunications that allow users to communicate, to access sources of information, store , manipulate, produce and transmit information in different forms: text , music , sound , image , video and interactive graphical interface ( IHM ). Legal and regulatory texts use the term “ electronic communications ”.

After the first steps towards an information society, which were writing and then the printing press , the big steps were the electric telegraph , then the telephone and radiotelephony . Computing has taken off thanks to printed circuits , with manufacturers of decentralized computing innovating rapidly . Television , the Minitel and the Internet then mobile telecommunicationshave associated the image with text and speech, “wireless”, the Internet and television becoming accessible on the mobile phone which also acts as a camera.

The rapprochement of computing, audiovisual and telecommunications in the last decade of the 20th century benefited from the miniaturization of components , making it possible to produce “multifunction” devices at affordable prices, from the 2000s. rapid increase in the number of high-speed Internet access (for example with ADSL or via cable television networks ) and very high-speed Internet access (with subscriber line networks in optical fiber) favored the distribution of audiovisual content at affordable prices since it lowered ICT prices in two years between 2008 and 2010 2 .

With the development of the Internet and WEB 2.0 , the uses of ICTs have developed and the vast majority of citizens in industrialized countries use them to access information. On the other hand 3 , a geographic digital divide has developed with developing countries where high-speed Internet access is beyond the reach of most households. A large number of Internet users, via websites , blogs , social media or projects such as the Wikipedia encyclopedic project are constantly adding information to the Internet.

The number of services available explodes, and generates jobs related to these technologies, for 3.2% of French GDP around 2010 and 5.5 expected in 2015 4 .

The sector requires more and more skills in communication, marketing and sales, the technique being only a support of communication and organization. The professional profiles sought are changing accordingly notes the International Observatory of Internet Professions, which analyzes the profiles and skills sought by the employment market in Europe 5 .

The uses of ICT are spreading, especially in developed countries, at the risk of locally accentuating the digital and social divide as well as the gap between generations. From precision agriculture and forest management ( traceability of wood to fight against trafficking), to global control of the planetary environment or biodiversity , to participatory democracy (ICT at the service of sustainable development ) in passing through commerce, telemedicine , information, management of multiple databases, various financial transactions, robotics and military uses, without forgetting help for the disabled (including the blind who use advanced voice synthesizers as well as ephemeral braille displays ), ICTs are tending to take an increasing place in human life and the functioning of societies.

From 2007 to 2010, the percentage of companies with an extranet rose from 17% at the start of 2007 to 35% at the start of 2010 6 .

Some fear a loss of individual freedom ( Big Brother effect of generalized surveillance in reference to George Orwell ‘s 1984 novel , growing intrusion of targeted and unwanted advertising , etc.) 7 . Prospectivists believe that ICTs should take a growing place, even be at the origin of a new civilizational paradigm , with perhaps an evolution of ICTs towards Nanotechnologies , biotechnologies, computer science and cognitive sciences (NBIC) and artificial intelligence . .
The expression “information and communication technologies” transcribes an English phrase used in various international bodies which roughly corresponds to the field of telematics . It has different definitions according to the point of view of the authors or according to the time, due to the progressive blurring of the boundaries of the fields concerned and the rapid evolution of techniques with digital convergence .

The definition of ICT remains particularly vague: the term “ technology ”, which means “discussion on technique” , is used instead of “ technique ”, which would be both simpler and more exact. Information and communication technologies are support tools for information processing and communication, with information processing and information communication remaining the objective, and technology the means . [ref. necessary]

The Larousse dictionary defines information and communication technologies as being a “set of computer techniques and equipment allowing distance communication by electronic means (cable, telephone, Internet, etc. )” 8 . But this definition is limited to the convergence of computing and telecommunications in order to communicate and does not take into account the impact of digital convergence in multimedia and audiovisual.

The OQLF ‘s Grand Dictionnaire terminologique defines information and communication technologies as “A set of technologies resulting from the convergence of computing and advanced multimedia and telecommunications techniques, which have allowed the emergence more effective means of communication, by improving the processing, storage, dissemination and exchange of information” 9. This definition is much more complete than the previous one, taking into account the numerical convergence as a whole. It reflects more the point of view of international institutions, which consider information and communication technologies as being the integration of telecommunications, computing, multimedia and audiovisual techniques 10. The rapid spread of high-speed Internet access has led to an explosion in the use of audiovisual services which are taking on increased importance in the concept of ICT, not only at the level of communication, but also at the level of information management and knowledge and its dissemination.

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