The most important changes in communication technology to affect business and industry are the adoption of the Internet and the increase in mobile working. These technologies have improved the speed and quality of decision making, changed the way companies market their products, simplified collaboration, increased the efficiency and productivity of mobile working.
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As a result of changes in communications technology, executives can access up-to-date information to make better and faster decisions. Companies can deploy machine-to-machine technology, for example, to measure the performance of equipment, such as oil wells, in remote locations. Sensors on the equipment transmit performance data via the Internet, enabling monitoring teams to identify and respond to any problems on site. Branch offices or retail outlets can transmit sales and business data by Internet to head office, allowing executives to monitor performance and make adjustments to stock levels, pricing or promotions.
Communication technology has also changed the way companies market their products. Marketers use the Internet to communicate directly with customers. Buyers use search engines to identify sellers and visit websites to obtain information on products and services. Buyers also visit comparison sites or use social media to check the opinions of other consumers about products or services. Companies recognise that traditional one-way communications, such as advertising or direct mail, are no longer sufficient. They aim to build relationships through two-way communication with customers by providing them with useful information when they visit websites.
Conferencing technologies and the Internet have changed collaboration and team working. Team members no longer have to travel to meetings. Instead, they can hold virtual meetings using video conferencing or Web conferencing. Using Web conferencing, team members can review and edit documents and presentations. Conferencing technologies enable teams to meet more frequently to maintain the pace of projects such as new product development.
Mobile communication technology has changed the way people work. Employees can work at home or away from the office and still access the same data and services they would use at their desk in the office. Using smartphones or tablet computers, they can link to company databases over secure Internet connections. Sales representatives and technical service staff can work more efficiently using mobile communications. Service staff can access service databases or hold a conference with colleagues to solve difficult problems. Sales representatives can communicate new orders or details of customer problems to speed up response.
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