For many reasons, the establishment of technology is crucial to socio-economic development, as well as increasing democratization of a nation. The technology is pervasive in nature, but the cost benefit together with the national urgency for its introduction through various applications mostly depends on the grass roots awareness and utilization of computers (interconnected computers) for the common people. Hence, the transferability and applicability of e-applications (e-learning, e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, etc.) must assured to be applied at their consistent state and best obtained by the congenial atmosphere at all levels of the policy making. The essential issues are that developing countries, faced with enormous social and economic pressures, must start to confirm consistent economic growth and at the same time accelerate broad-based technology deployment. In this aspect, low-ranking developing countries had to utilize every benefit of it in order to compete with others for a dominant share of the global ICT contribution. In order to realize this vision more efficiently and cost effectively, and to integrate increased human participation within the technology, governments must be proactive in prioritizing limited resources by appropriate planning: build the foundation for a rational expansion of the ICT sector into higher value-added services. In addition, the drive to transform countries into “knowledge-based” societies will necessitate intergovernmental, interagencies, intersocietal, as well as private sector cooperation, commitment, dedication, and partnership in the context of an overall framework for the logical development of the ICT sector. The positioning of suitable foundations requires a comprehensive national strategic vision with elaborate plans. They should ensure seamless interlinkages among all sectors and meaningful participation of all citizens in meeting the challenges to transform the human capital through establishment of various e-applications. At the same time, pervasive education/skill development and the provision for life long learning has to be interlaced within all sectors. As the technology is ever renewing, especially in developing countries, the inadequacy of proper management structure and the scarcity of suitably trained managers deserve immediate attention. This article emphasizes broad-based utilization of ICT applications for social developments, focuses on issues and challenges of their implementations with various usages, and provides a brief discussion on a few cases on networked applications.
Development and operation of network services to be utilized for social engagement call for system-oriented solutions, by far exceeding traditional network, databank, and software technologies. They require dynamic stratification and efficient access as well as a flexible and accommodating application of a broad range of resources in the network (information, contents, methods, equipment, etc.) while maintaining a high standard of availability, consistency, security, and privacy. Those include process-oriented software systems, multimedia information systems, and scalable component architectures, as well as safe information and communication systems. Applications would vary from multimedia information and news services, electronic transactions with legally binding effect, cooperative workflow management in distributed organizations to information management for multimodal platform, and e-applications. All these applications aim at rendering information—as an economic product—technically manageable and affordable (Chen, Chen, & Kazman, 2006; Li, Browne, & Wetherbe, 2006; TUHH, 2001).
New and converging technologies have created the Information Age that is altering society and assimilating information, and at the same time, maneuvering educational institutions through homogeneous knowledge distribution. The 1990s have seen the growth in the connectivity and software that was available to the education community. In the beginning of the 21st century, novel and more powerful technologies are emerging to pave their way into classrooms across nations. Traditional classrooms and conventional learning are being replaced significantly by online/off-line e-learning in many layers of education and research. Advances in telecommunications technologies have spurred access to the Internet, allowing learners and educators to communicate around the world via new ways of communication techniques and presenting information in more powerful ways to analyze and understand the world around them.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Knowledge-Based Society: A society that generates, shares, and utilizes knowledge for the prosperity and well-being of its people.
Interconnected Computers: A network of computers and other electronic equipment connected together to create a communication system between other communication points/systems. They can be under local area network, wide area network, metropolitan area network, nationwide network, and others.
Socioeconomic Development: Socialeconomic development incorporates public concerns in developing social policy and economic initiatives. The ultimate objective of social development is to bring about sustained improvement in the well-being of the individual, groups, family, community, and society at large. It involves sustained increase in the economic standard of living of a country’s population, normally accomplished by increasing its stocks of physical and human capital and thus improving its technology.
E-Applications: Electronically/network based applications for the social development of communities/societies, as such e-learning, e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, and so forth
Technology Deployment: Establishment of innovations in action that involves the generation of knowledge and processes to develop systems to solve problems and extend human capabilities. The application of new technologies, particularly computers and software applications, has been a major factor driving productivity growth in recent decades.
Information Management: Information is an asset to an organization or entity, and the management of this information is a means to administer a document during its entire life cycle. Information management may involve the ability to know what content exists regarding a particular subject, where they are located, what media they are stored on, who owns them, and when they should be destroyed. It also encompasses document management, records management, imaging, and knowledge management systems.
Skill Development: Improve the ability of human being to perform a job related activity, which contributes to the effective performance of a task. It could be a form of intimacy where knowledge learned through detailed and repeated experience.
Network Deployment: Establishment of a group of spots (computers, telephones, or other devices) that are connected by communications facilities for exchanging information. The mode of connection can be permanent, via cable/radio, or temporary, through telephone, or other means of communications.