The term 'Technology' is derived from the Greek word 'Technologia' - 'techne' means 'craft' and 'logia' means the 'study of something'. Technology is a very broad concept and is used to refer to several braches of science and study. Some examples are information technology, medical technology, biotechnology, etc. As the term technology branches into various fields of science and study, so do its benefits. Let us look at the benefits of technology in some major areas of day-to-day life:
Benefits of Technology in Business:
The days when the Chief Information Officer (CIO) took implementation decisions and passed the responsibility down the line are passé. Today, the CIO is an individual who possesses business as well as technical skills, understands the new IT issues facing a business, and drives the IT changes from the top down. This is a clear indicator of the benefits businesses are enjoying through the implementation of technology. Today technology is an integral part of any business right from the purchase of computers and software to the implementation of network and security tools. This helps businesses to:
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In short, technology has become one of the significant factors that maximize an organization's ROI.
Benefits of Technology in Communication:
From hand-held computers to touch phones, technological advancements in the field of communication are endless. The means and the modes of communication are unlimited. Some of the benefits of technological advancements in the field of communication are:
Speed - time is no longer a constraint in communication
Clarity - With megapixel images and video, and high fidelity audio systems clarity in communication has become a never-before experience
Proximity - technological advancements have made the world a smaller place to live in
Dissemination - whether spreading information, broadcasting news, or sharing knowledge, technology has made it faster, easier, and smarter
Benefits of Technology in Education:
Technological advancements in the field of education are fast evolving. Today, e-learning is a familiar and popular term. Some of the benefits of technology in this field are:
Personalized learning experience: Learners are able to take control and manage their own learning. They set their own goals, manage the process and content of learning, and communicate with peers.
Immediate response: Most e-learning programs provide immediate feedbacks on learner assessments. Similarly there are features such as chat, discussion boards, e-libraries, etc that allow clarifications at a faster pace than in traditional classrooms.
Self-paced: Learners can chart courses at their own pace. This ensures higher levels of motivation both in terms of completing the course as well as in performance.
Greater access: Technological advancements have opened education to learners with learning disabilities and in remote locations.
Benefits of Technology in Healthcare:
The marriage between medicine and technology has reshaped healthcare and revolutionized the medical profession. Some of the major benefits are:
Secure environment: Technology allows physicians and patients to interact in a secure and comfortable environment to discuss sensitive issues.
Flexibility: Physicians can answer routine and less critical queries at a convenient time.
Cost- and time-saving: Physicians can follow-up, provide advice, and re-direct patients to resources on the Internet. This saves cost and time by reducing office visits.
Medical devices: Medical aids allow patients to continue recovery at home reducing their hospital stay.
Vulnerable population: Technology aids the very young, elderly, and patients with complex birth defects, chronic illnesses, and disabled children by alleviating their problems so that they can continue living in their homes.
Benefits of Technology in Society:
Today technology pervades almost all aspects of our daily life from shopping, banking, making travel arrangements to university admissions. Some of the benefits are:
Convenience: Provides a great deal of convenience in expediting personal and business transactions be it shopping, banking, or simply paying bills.
Speed: From sending gifts to making payments everything gets a done with a few clicks.
Communication: The world is a smaller place and technology allows everyone to keep in touch with their families and friends at a more affordable cost.
Accuracy: Technology has reduced errors in mundane and monotonous chores, saving time and cost.
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Development: Technology has brought about development in many fields such as medicine, government, business, education, etc.
Technology has evolved and transformed our lives and society. Overall, it has brought about tremendous growth and benefit to mankind.
What Are the Benefits of Technology in Business?
Technological advances in the past few decades have greatly increased the competitive nature of the economic business world. Companies have used software, computers and the Internet to transform their businesses from local places of business to national and global market competitors. Many companies have responded to these changes by automating their business processes and capturing industry-related information and using it to their advantage. Technology has also forced businesses to remain flexible, adapting their operations to newer and better technological advances.
Better Reporting Functions
Companies that have multiple locations, whether nationally or globally, have used technology to implement better communication services and software modules that communicate to a home base via the Internet. This allows companies to penetrate new economic markets without sacrificing the needs of communication or financial and operational reporting. Additionally, companies can improve their management information system (MIS) to capture information for specific locations when making business decisions.
Financial reporting has also benefited greatly from technology; rather than sending external auditors to multiple locations, it is possible to create a centralized accounting office to record and report financial transactions. This improves financial reporting and lessens the expense related to external audits.
Increased Employee Productivity
Computers and business software packages have exponentially increased employees' productivity by allowing them to provide data entry functions or review automated reports. Companies have automated several traditional manufacturing processes; instead of using manpower to manually create and assemble goods, machines and/or robots now complete these functions. While these improvements may increase capital expenditures, they lessen the impact of consistent labor expenses related to productions. Fewer employees are needed to monitor the machines and ensure they are working properly.
Other areas, such as customer service, accounting and administrative support, have also seen an increase in employee productivity. Employees now review and report electronically collected data to ensure they are accurate and timely, rather than manually gathering information.
Improved Business Mobility
Technology has also improved companies' sales and service departments by allowing employees to use personal electronic devices to create sales displays and transmit orders and customer information to the home office. These electronic devices shorten the lead time companies spend on receiving and delivering goods or services, creating an instant competitive advantage in the industry. Companies can also send sales representatives to multiple markets at the same time, allowing them to penetrate multiple markets with few overhead costs. Companies may allow their internal employees to work from home using a company Internet connection, reducing the fixed overhead expenses from a large corporate office.
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Effects of Technology on Business
Businesses have been at the forefront of technology for ages. Whatever can speed production will draw in more business. As computers emerged in the 20th century, they promised a new age of information technology. But in order to reap the benefits, businesses needed to adapt and change their infrastructure. For example, American Airlines started using a computerized flight booking system, and Bank of America took on an automated check-processing system.
Obviously, now, most business is conducted over personal computers or communication devices. Computers offer companies a way to organize dense databases, personal schedules and various other forms of essential information.
As information travels faster and faster and more reliably, barriers of distance disappear, and businesses are realizing how easy it is to outsource jobs overseas. Outsourcing refers to the practice of hiring employees who work outside the company or remotely -- and even halfway across the world. Companies can outsource duties such as computer programming and telephone customer service. They can even outsource fast-food restuarant service -- don't be surprised if you're putting in your hamburger order with a fast-food employee working in a different country entirely. Outsourcing is a controversial practice, and many believe that U.S. companies who take part are hurting the job market in their own country. Nonetheless, from a business perspective, it seems like the wisest route, saving companies between 30 and 70 percent [source: Otterman].
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Another technology that's starting to revolutionize business is actually not very new -- it's just cheaper these days. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is infiltrating and changing business significantly in a few ways. Microchips that store information (such as a number equivalent of a barcode and even an up-to-date history of the chip's travels) can be attached to product, and this helps companies keep track of their inventory.
Some businesses have even begun to use RFID chip implants in humans to tighten security. An access control reader detects the chip's signal and permits the employee access to the door. But many people are concerned about privacy issues if this were to become widespread practice.
Handheld devices like BlackBerries have become wildly popular for businesses because they let users check and send email from anywhere, and browse the Internet.
The Internet enables airlines to provide online flight booking, banks to offer online account management and bill pay and allows any company to sell any product online. In general, the Internet has proven to be an inexpensive way to reach more customers. Nowadays, if you can't find a business online, or if it has an outdated, ugly Web site, it looks downright unprofessional.
Many businesses have succeeded in using the Internet as their primary, or sometimes only, medium. (You're, of course, aware of this, given that you're reading a HowStuffWorks article. HowStuffWorks started as a hobby for college professor Marshall Brain, and it eventually grew into successful company.)
Small businesses, too, have become easier to start up using the Internet. If you're a stay-at-home mom who makes a killer batch of cookies, you can easily sell them over the Internet and ship them to your customers.
But, it's not always as simple as it sounds. Any business conducted online must consider security, privacy or even copyright issues. Copyright issues would include making sure your business doesn't use someone else's original work (such as a logo, for instance) or even making sure no one else is profiting from your business's creative work.
One of the biggest ways the Internet has changed business is through targeted advertising. Using Google, companies can specify the keywords that will drive certain customers to their ad. For instance, if you were to plug the word "baking" into Google, you might click on a page from epicurious.com. That epicurious page will have Google ads from sponsors who sell baking-related products. A company that sells rolling pins can pay to have its ads show up for people who search for specific words, like "baking," "pies" or "dough." It makes good business sense -- people who search for "baking" on Google will be much more likely to click on a rolling pin ad than the average person.
Despite what we've discussed in this article, we haven't even scratched the surface of what new technology can do for business communications. The next page provides links to even more articles on information technology and products that have business implications.