In the broadest sense, information technology (IT) is a general term of any methods, tools and skills which can use sufficiently and extend information organ of human beings. It includes the computers, communications, control, sensing and microelectronics. In narrow definition, it refers to technique that research collecting, processing, storing, analyzing and disseminating of information. It is also called Information and communications technology (ICT). The application of information technology includes the computer hardware and software, computer network and communication technology, development kit of application software, etc.
Since 1946 the world's first computer ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was built, immediately as a representative for information technology and advanced productivity. It started an information technology revolution. In twenty first century, people always related to the computer and communication technology and the internet when information technology was mentioned. The impact of information technology is distinct in many aspects of our daily lives of every country in the entire world. Britain, as a country with one of the information technology research and developing centre in the world, is no exception. In recent decade, British information technology has achieved swift development and excellent effects. Britain have been an electronic product and relevant industries centre which is the lead in the Europe. The 3G research and developing aspect is the lead in the world. Britain is not only a busy information transferring centre in the Europe but also is the most important internet hinge in the whole world. In the aspect of British software industry and computer services area, has more than 95,000 firms which related software and computer services.
The main purpose of this report is trying to collect some impacts from four aspects related to applications of information technology on contemporary Britain. The report will cover commerce, government, education and people's life, which intend to contribute a better understanding with a substantial number of cases that related to applications of information technology, such as website and management information system. All will be placed within critical perspectives in order to show how people use it and how information technology can be a powerful and positive impact in contemporary British society. The negative about applications of information technology is also projected.
Impacts on Commerce
Electronic commerce (EC or e-commerce) is the most important aspect of information technology application. Electronic commerce, as the name suggests, is a kind of electronic realization of entire realistic commerce activities. Broadly speaking, electronic commerce refers to the whole process of any exchange of information or business transaction via computer network and communication technology. Says from the narrow sense, electronic commerce is transaction or relevant activities in electronic ways that take place in internet, which is electronic and networking for every link of traditional commerce. Electronic commerce includes exchange of electronic currency, supply chain management (SCM), customer relationship management (CRM), marketplace of electronic transaction, network marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), warehouse management and automated data collection system. In this process, the needed information technology includes internet, extranet, email, database, electronic catalog, mobile phone and etc.
The application of information technology has changed the structure of commerce with surrounding. This is no doubt in many business models and ways. There are many different business models and ways for applications of electronic commerce. The online shop is a virtual shop that provides sells products and services online. According to what French technique website (JDN, 2009) reports that 2009 British five outstanding electronic commerce websites which is eBay of UK, Amazon of UK, Home Retail Group, Apple of UK, and Tesco. The increase of electronic commerce promotes development of enterprise management information systems, which can be supported it. For example, supply chain management (SCM) is a management of commerce processing by information system, such as the sources and processing of material, inventory management, etc, which provides an important support on efficient management of the end-to-end processes. Martin Christopher (1992) argues that a famous expert in SCM aspect, who predicted that the competition in the future is not going to be between individual organizations, but between the supply chains they are part of.
A few years ago, with the internet bubble crashed, the venture capital makes a strategic retreat from internet industry. British commerce website was into a slump, electronic commerce process was impacted, but it is only a short-term influence. After market adjustment and filter, market requirements become wanted than before. The electronic commerce presents a rapid growth in the Britain and affects every aspect of society. In May 2001, according to the first statistical report from the Office for National Statistics, amount of British electronic commerce transactions was 57 billion pounds sterling. It has two per cent of total amount of transactions at same period. For the past several years, each item of British electronic commerce has a substantially raise. IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group, 2009) reports that Britain has been one-third people shopping online and amount of consumption has constantly expand. In 2003, British online sales have been ten per cent of nationwide total volume of retail sales, which estimated that amounts of individual online shopping will achieve 80 billion by 2009.
Impacts on Government
Electronic government is a kind of brand new ideology and management model of government management, a virtual government based on information technology, which is going to achieving organization transforming, efficient management and omni-directional services to public. From the general sense, it is the use of the Internet by government, for example to give information to the public or to allow people to vote from their computer. The website of government is necessary, which was a core and key way of realization for electronic government. It is a communication platform between electronic government and its service object.
As the rapid development of information technology on modern society and the launch of campaigns of contemporary British organization transforming, after ninety generation of twenty century, British government put the information construction of government in the very important position. According to the White Paper of the Modernising Government by Labour governments in 1999, entire services of government are going to provide online services, all public services to be 24 hours. In 2000, a large amount of information more than one thousand government organizations was putting on the internet. Users can obtain information and services about employment, financing, travel, life and etc which are from governments, such as Directgov. By 2002 there are sixty per cent internet services website of British governments was opening or developing.
To develop electronic democracy is a representative campaign that about aspect of the electronic government implementation. Britain attaches great importance to electronic democracy development. In November 2000, British government promulgates a new ordinance, which announced British citizen can seek advices and provide any suggestions for government documentations on internet. At the same time, the government builds a series forum for the policy, which made that citizen can use it and talk freely with each other as well as discuss something about the policy of government. Many governments are establishing the special area related to their policies on internet. People can choose their interested and directly visit the special forum or something else. In order to promotes development of electronic democracy, British governments trial implement electronic voting and electronic registration on some area. The main purpose of electronic registration is for remote users who are going to voting, which is going to makes sure people have the legal right to vote. Moreover, the Office of British Electronic Envoy combines Cabinet Office with other departments to seek suggestions of public, which in order to draw relative legislation and case up.
Impacts on Education
Education information-based is that modern information technology used in education area. Its goal is promoting learning. It may also be electronic education or electronic learning. In this report, the electronic education and the electronic learning will be same place, which is basically equivalent. Electronic education makes information becoming a basic element. It demands more comprehensive using modern information technology that based in computer, multimedia and network communication and promotes education reformation. The processing of electronic education intends to make a comprehensive effect on study, which is transforming information by many kind of electronic equipment. Electronic education will certainly use many of specific technologies and machines.
From British Department for Education and Employment, the survey reports (Education and Research Network, 2001) show that British fundamental construction of education facilities gets distinct effects. The percentage that is teachers and students are having mailbox, which is going to a proportion with yearly progressive increase, and the speed of increase is very quick. Its primary and secondary school teachers have a percentage of e-mail from two per cent in 1998 to thirty seven per cent in 2000. The number of schools with internet access has greatly increased and its primary and secondary schools from seventeen per cent of 1998 to eighty-six per cent. So, in terms of the number of schools connected to the internet, or from the proportion of students and computers, the level of the electronic education of UK in the world are in a leading position, but also shows that the British information and communication technology infrastructure construction has achieved remarkable effect.
The British Government is fully aware of information resources in basic education is playing the important role of information technology. To this end, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) make an investigation and research work in the year 2000, it is to research information and communication technology resources in the role of improving the quality of teaching. By 2110 the middle schools in the survey, for the information and communication technology in schools the effect of the application, the survey results showed that 77 per cent of the students reached the required level in the schools with good information resources, the proportion of that schools haven't got good information resources has reached 68 per cent, thus demonstrating the basic education information resources which are the key of information technology.
Impacts on People's Life
Applications that based in computer networks are all kinds of information centre that refers to communication, coordination and transaction processing. To describe the results of this network, which is a structure, contacts and system characteristics. It can highlight the social connectedness of people within the system, and between the management as well as control, through the network of information systems integration processes and etc. Thus, the definition of network society can be an abstract expression that is applications of information technology in people's life. It is by the information technology, communications technology and network technology, which is a digital social structure, relationships and resource integration environment.
Before 1999, the popularity of the Internet in the UK lag behind other economic powers, that is one of the highest Internet access charges in the world. The broadband penetration rate was only 0.1 per cent. The term digital polarization phenomenon becomes serious. Internet users are mainly young people, the rich and male. In September 2000, British Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the “UK Online” campaign. After several years, British network spread at an alarming rate. According to the report released by British National Statistics Bureau in August this year, 15 million domestic consumers, which amount to about 61 per cent of all British domestic consumers have connected the internet by the year of 2007, increased by 7 per cent to that of 2006 and 36 per cent to that of 2002, and 84 per cent of them access the Internet through broadband, increased by 15 per cent as compared to 2006. A new report from the research institute “ComScore World Metrix” says British is the most active market in internet application among the Europe countries, both the average daily visit quantity (21 million) and the average month online time (34.4 hours) are highest in Europe. There is an obvious example, the phenomenon of working at home get an increase. According to British media reported that SOHO (SMALL OFFICE HOME OFFICE) family in the past eight years has doubled, which reached 2.4 million people.
With the popularization and development of information technology, people's life and work are increasingly dependent on it. For applications of information technology, there are some problems must be resolved. The security problems could be faced more and more obvious and difficult to predict. Such as hacking, computer viruses and spam information, as well as specific types of information systems security issues and so on. However, the information-based is the inevitable trend of the development of human society. Humanity must use the information technology correctly with more effectively promote social progress effectively.
To sum up, information technology has becoming the most important technology that achieve political, economic, and cultural development objectives for countries of the world. Britain, once the world leader in the industrial revolution, has also been in the information technology revolution. In order to adapt to the economic development of the information age environment, British Governments strongly advocated the development of modern information technology. Today's information technology, except effects that is business development, government offices, educational spread and aspects of building a new network society, it will have a broad and profound impacts on all areas of British society.
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