Developments in technology have immensely improved business communications with messages delivering instantly, over great distances to a number of people at the same time! There are various types of electronic media:
The internet consists of a vast amount of sources of information which businesses and individuals with a computer have access to. With the help of broadband, websites containing images and text can be quickly downloaded. The internet has many uses for businesses some of which are: it is used for advertisement; advertising job to employees or even advertising the company, it can be used to allow people to view financial reports or company’s mission statement, companies can gain market research information and it allows customers to buy products of the company using credit card details.
An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet protocols and network connectivity to securely share part of an organization’s information or operations with its employees. Sometimes the term refers only to the most visible service, the internal website. Information on the internet is available to the public therefore it is impossible to send confidential messages. A business intranet is controlled by the company so information sent can be controlled. For example, a company with 150 administration staff may all be linked to an intranet and they can send messages and access common information. The use of intranet allows company’s to save greatly, because internal phone number, diaries and timetables quickly become out of date therefore with the intranet, an electronic format, information can be revised as soon as the change occurs and can be available to all the staff through the browser.
The email system has allowed businesses and individuals to communicate immediately with others via processed text or images. The information sent from one email address via a computer, model and telephone to another computer is stored by the ‘server’. The advantage of emails is that long documents can be instantly sent to other people anywhere in the world.
Answerphones record messages when the receiver is idle. The advantage of answerphones is that important messages can be stored an received later for example if the employee is away from desk. They also allow messages to be sent from one company or person to another outside normal office hours and the information can be received the next working day. This is particularly useful when there are time differences between countries.
These devices are especially useful for people who work outside a business and move around a lot such as sales representatives. They are also useful in a large organization such as a doctor in a hospital with a ‘bleeper’ alerting him to a message waiting for him on a prearranged telephone number.
Video conferencing and teleconferencing
Videoconferencing is a method of communication which allows individuals in different locations to communicate through videos (they can view their surroundings). Individuals can see each other in monitors with the use of cameras and talk to each other via telephone lines. This is useful when employees need to interact face-to-face. It also saves the time taken to get to a central meeting place. Teleconferencing is where many people are linked together in one line. Each person can talk to each other.
Portable computers mean that business people can work in different locations to their office. They allow people to continue working during train journeys, for example. With satellite link, they can also email each other therefore it prevents working time from being wasted. Some laptops need to be plugged into a telephone terminal to receive email which can be problem.
Multi-media communication is a combination of visual images, written texts and audio transmissions. They are also interactive which allows individuals to enter into dialogue with the information that is contained in the programme. The use of this method is useful in the area of training. Individual employees can access concepts developed in the multimedia training package from home.
Electronic notice boards
Electronic notice boards are used to communicate with employees via visual display located in public places around the business, such as reception. The advantage over normal notice boards is that it can be kept up to date. Their main disadvantages are that they are limited to particular locations in the business and the information may not be relevant to everyone.
Faxes are similar to emails but information is already printed on paper in the form of text or image. This information is read by a fax machines and converted into audio signals and sent down a telephone line to another fax machine. The machine then re-converts the signals into text and graphics. The advantage is that it sends messages instantly an the receiver does not have to be there to receive. A disadvantage compared to email is that it takes a long time to process a large document and the information needs to be printed out before being sent.
Discuss the problem with ICT-pg 508
Although new technology improved communication there are problems with both the amount of information sent and the use of the new technology.
The allowance of large amount of information being instantly sent by faxes, emails and the internet may cause overload. Individuals and organizations may not be able to fully process all the information sent, therefore resulting low efficiency.
At the beginning, electronic media can create problems as employees need to adjust to them. the staff need training which is time consuming and mistakes can be made if the information is not stored, as there may be no written record. Employees may also work at a slower pace as they get used to the new methods.
Misuse of new technology:
It is evident that employees spend time using the internet and email facilities that is necessary (maybe for personal use and etc). Browsing the internet and constantly checking email for new messages can waste working time.
Sometimes the electronic media send messages that be viewed by people other than the intended receiver, which can be a problem is the sender sends confidential messages.
Computer viruses spread really quickly and it can damage information kept on computers. Viruses can be sent through emails which is risky to the receiver, even though anti-viruses can be used to protect computers.