Information and Communication Technologies: Current Developments

Information and Communication Technologies: Current Developments

Maria Manuela Cunha (Polytechnic Institute of Cavado, Portugal) and Goran D. Putnik (University of Minho, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 47
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-010-3.ch006
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“The introduction of reliable, low-cost electronic computers into the economy was the most revolutionary technical innovation of the twentieth century” (Freeman & Soete, 1997, p. 158). “The fact that a new technology has many potential applications does not mean that all of these will occur simultaneously, or even over a short period. On the contrary, the assimilation of a major new technology into the economic and social system is a matter of decades, not years, and is related to the phenomenon of long cycles in the economy” (Freeman & Soete, 1997, p. 184). This was what, in fact, Schumpeter (1939) suggested. The focus of information technology within organizations has shifted over the last thirty years, from improving the efficiency of business processes within organizations, to improving the effectiveness of the whole value chain. During the sixties and seventies, businesses focused on the use of mainframes to process large quantities of data. In the 80s, businesses focused on using personal desktopcomputers to improve personal efficiency. The last decade has seen the use of information and communication technologies to create electronic networks within and between organizations. The information and communication technologies (ICT) of today consist on advanced communication systems that, combined with advanced information technologies, allow the overcoming of time and space conditionings, by means of: (1) communication networks (telephonically, satellite, cable, etc.) that transport information, (2) basic services (electronic mail, interactive video) that allow the utilization of networks, and (3) applications (electronic commerce, electronic marketplaces, teleoperation, electronic business) offering specialized solutions for groups of users. Information and communication technologies and systems are the support of concepts as distributed systems, computer-supported cooperative work, electronic commerce, electronic marketplaces, teleoperation, virtual prototyping, concurrent engineering, telemedicine, telework, etc., most of which, more deeply or less deeply, are connected with the implementation of some of the emerging ICT-based organizational models, to which the present book is a contribution. In this chapter we present some of the main ICT and some ICT-based techniques and applications that can support and enable the new organizational models, in particular, that can support Agile/Virtual Enterprise integration. Addressed is the impact of the new information and communication technologies. This chapter also reviews some of the most relevant technologies that can contribute to support the A/VE model, and introduces relevant applications of these information and communication technologies, some of then considered of relevance to the implementation of the Market of Resources. Finally, this chapter addresses the issue of information integration, presenting recent developments.

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