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ICT AND BUSINESS Use of computers has brought profound change to business. The electronic office is an obvious example. In this, every desk in a business is likely to have a computer. The computers will be networked and have communications facilities. The work done in offices is usually; * receipt, * processing, * storage, * despatch Computers and ICT systems can do these things more efficiently and faster than manual systems. Businesses now advertise FAX numbers and email addresses prominently. This affects the number of letters sent by post but FAX and email cannot completely replace the postal service as original, hard-copy letters are still needed for legal reasons. Products can be ordered on-line via the internet and most businesses now have their own website. Electronic Data Interchange is used to send orders, pay invoices and transfer information generally. Employees are paid using electronic funds transfer. ICT AND MANUFACTURING Many industries now use Computer-Aided Manufacture (CAM), eg. cars are manufactured by robot welders and paint sprayers, Benetton manufactures clothes more quickly using CAD-CAM. The quality of computer-manufactured articles is more consistent and better, leading to greater productivity and reliability. Working conditions are often cleaner and safer. There may be shorter working hours but this could mean more reduncancies or redeployment. ...read more.


Treatments received and illnesses diagnosed are stored in patient records in computers. This has the advantages that relevant data can be quickly transmitted between health centre and related hospitals and that rapid access to patient data is possible by any doctor in a practice. When patients move, their records can be transmitted electronically to their new doctor, thus speeding up the transfer process. Expert Systems are used in medical diagnosis; they ask questions about symptoms and use the answers to make predictions as to the likely cause. Patients with embarassing complaints may be more forthcoming with such diagnosis. Computer-controlled ultra-sound and CAT scanners allow accurate screening of patients. X-Ray film is being replaced by on-screen digital images. Computer-controlled robotic arms are used for operations, eg. prostate gland surgery; this is more accurately and more quickly done than by conventional means. Monitoring of patients' heart rates, respiration rates, blood pressure are routinely measured by computers. Computers can be used to help the disabled communicate. This includes improvements to VDU displays for the partially sighted, text to speech for the vocally impaired, braille keyboards and printouts, touch screens, speech input. Artificial limbs are being developed that use computer control to make for more natural movement. ICT IN THE HOME ICT has made major changes in the home; * computer controlled washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, * central heating ...read more.


They used a special, low-melting point metal to make the printing plates for newspapers. Today the same work is done from an office using DTP software and electronically controlled printers. Journalists can capture the news, write it up and typeset it in one operation, leading to much greater job flexibility. Automatic digital telephone exchanges have reduced the number of people needed to man switchboards. OCR and OMR mean that people are no longer needed to check examination answers or football pool entries. A few jobs have remained unchanged, eg. gardeners, plumbers. Some jobs have been retained but existing staff have had to be retrained, eg. bank clerks, secretaries. New industries that have arisen due to the influence of computers include, computer manufacturers, component manufacturers, consultancies, service engineers, call centres, programmers. In many industries improvements in communication mean that job location is no longer important: * Telecommuting, in which the worker operates from home, receives work via email and sends work back to head office via email, is commonplace. Video-conferencing is also possible. * Small businesses may find it cost-effective to be based in rural areas rather than in cities. There is now a danger that workers with IT skills will demand and get well-paid jobs, whereas those without IT skills may find it difficult to gain employment. This could have public-spending implications for future governments. ?? ?? ?? ?? Andrew Wareing. 1 ...read more.

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