ICT > Impact of ICT
- Every company has to pay its employees. If the amount is high, they use payroll system to do it: which results in faster processing and less error.
- The amount of time employee work is recorded in ICT system as they swipe in on arrival and exit every day.
- These information is stored on the old master file. Payments are calculated from this information and accordingly done. A new master file record is then created.
- Payroll is a batch processing system.
Airline booking system
- A large airline uses an ICT system to store details of flight schedules and passenger bookings.
- All information about airlines are stored in a mainframe computer which has multi-access from large number of travel agents.
- If a seat has been booked, all other attempts to book the seat is locked out to avoid double booking.
- The system is 24/7 online. Therefore it has another identical computer which is available as hot standby to use if the main computer breaks down.
- Data backup is done be saving the flight information on both disks. Any changes made, applies to both. This is called disk mirroring.
- Airline booking system is a real-time processing system.
Supermarket stock control
- Supermarkets use general purpose ICT systems for a range of application, including stock control. Checkouts or point of sale (POS) terminals are connected to the supermarket’s main computer and there are terminals in the warehouse and elsewhere.
- Every POS terminals have bar code reader which scans the barcode on the product. The barcode contains the product code which is sent to the main computer to find the information about the product.
- A record on the product information file which includes name, price, quantity in stock etc. is printed on the customer’s receipt.
- After every sale, the stock level is decreased. A limit is set on the level, as soon as it reaches the level, the computer automatically sends an email to the supplier for delivering more products.
- Performance of staff can be monitored by checking the number of items sold at each checkout.
- Rate of sales can be used to increase stock of popular goods.
- Pattern of sales can show what needs to be stocked at certain times of the year.
- Extent of theft from the supermarket can be calculated.
ICT systems are used in banking in:
- Internet banking systems
- automatic teller machines (ATMs) for cash withdrawals
- electronic funds transfer (EFT), which businesses use to transfer funds from one bank account to another. For example, it is used when customer’s pay for goods with their debit or credit card. This process is known as electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS).
Engineering and manufacturing
- Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used to design products, buildings and parts. It provides sets of standard components and basic design elements. Designs can be produced faster and changes to the original design are easier because the full drawing doesn’t need to be redone.
- Computer-aided manufacture (CAM) is the use of a computer to control manufacture. CAM software generates instructions for the control of CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) machines, e.g. computerised lathes for turning and drilling.
- CAD/CAM systems combine computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). Engineers use CAD/CAM to create product designs, and then to control the manufacturing process so products are more consistent.
- Computer-aided engineering (CAE) systems analyse engineering designs produced by CAD systems, and simulate a variety of conditions to see if the design actually works. CAE features are found in many CAD packages.
- Process control is the use of computers to monitor manufacturing processes and to take corrective action to prevent malfunction; for example, ensuring the temperature is at the right level using sensors.
- Robots can be used for assembling cars and welding and can perform physical tasks that could be dangerous for humans. Robots can be programmed to do tasks using programming languages or using teach and learn methods, where the robot is physically moved through the actions you want it to do, and the computer converts these into a program, which enables the task to be repeated.
- Flight simulators are used to train pilots to fly aircraft, without risk to themselves or to an aircraft. The simulator is mounted on legs, which move when the pilot moves the simulator’s controls. The trainee pilot feels the simulator move in the way a real aircraft would move.
Weather forecasts are based on data collected using weather stations, weather balloons and satellites:
- Weather stations are groups of sensors that collect information about the current weather. They may have sensors for wind speed and direction, air pressure, temperature and rainfall. The data that is logged is collected on a computer over a network. As well as being used for forecasting, they can also help councils and motorists plan for bad weather conditions.
- Weather balloons have a more complex and varied set of instruments than weather stations.
- Satellites orbiting the earth allow meteorologists to observe cloud formation throughout the world.
Data from weather stations, weather balloons and satellites are automatically collected and stored. This is an example of data logging.
A supercomputer uses mathematical models of the atmosphere to predict what weather conditions will be like in the near future. The models used are constantly being improved and forecasts are increasingly accurate and timely.
- Logistics software is used to plan and control the effective delivery and storage of goods and services between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer requirements.
- Logistics could involve the organisation of information, transport, materials handling, packaging, stock control, warehousing and security.
Education and libraries
- Virtual learning environments (VLEs) help teachers teach and support students’ studies by providing learning resources at all times where there is web access. VLEs enable resources to be organised and shared easily, with digital drop boxes to store and submit students’ work, access to wikis, blogs and podcasts, and information about grades so progress can be assessed.
- Computer-assisted learning (CAL) software helps students learn. CAL provides immediate feedback; enables students to recognise their weaknesses and improve; displays encouraging messages; and can be accessed using a VLE. Drill and practice programs help students consolidate learning. Tutorial software introduces and teaches new material to students. Simulations model real-life situations so the software can be used in the classroom without risk or wastage.
- School information and management systems (SIMS) are widely used to help with the day-to-day running of schools. They can produce class lists, create timetables, provide automatic reporting, improve communications quality, provide fast access to information and produce statistics and accounting information automatically.
- Libraries use ICT systems to: keep records of books that have been borrowed; provide online searchable catalogues; provide access to electronic books; keep records of borrowers; and send reminders to borrowers who have not returned books.
- The police use ICT systems to help fight crime. National databases help the police identify offenders.
- Other uses of ICT by the police include: managing cases and preparing reports; analysing statistics; tracking criminals who have been tagged; developing contacts with police worldwide; profiling of potential criminals; and accessing information remotely through wireless network links on police cars.
- Law firms use ICT to create legal document templates, find information about past judgements, and obtain information about legislation in other countries.
Healthcare and medicine
- Computerised patient records contain notes from all the doctors and institutions that a patient has attended. These are available wherever a patient is being treated. Research based on these records can lead to improved treatments for everyone.
- Patient monitoring systems continuously monitor very ill patients. Sensors connected to a computer record vital signs, such as heart rate, and sound an alarm if there are problems.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer axial tomography (CAT) scanners produce images that can be viewed in 3-D.
- Medical expert systems analyse questions input by a practitioner and provide decision-making support and suggest alternative diagnosis or treatment.
- Using telemedicine, patients can visit a doctor online and doctors can treat their patients at a distance.
Entertainment and leisure
- The Internet can be used to communicate with friends and family with webcams and video calls.
- Computer games of all genres provide entertainment and can be used on a PC or on a games console.
- Using media streaming, you can listen to music, watch TV and watch videos on desktop PCs and mobile devices.
- Personal performance during sport can be monitored by mobile devices using satellite navigation, and recorded for later analysis.