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TRENDS OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY




 Ifedayo Akinwalere

2017

INTRODUCTION

Wood (2004) defined communication as “a systemic process in which individuals interact with one another and through symbols to create and interpret meanings.” Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules. Communication is a Latin originated word, meaning of which is sharing. Communication means sharing or exchanging information, news, ideas, etc. with someone. The most common medium of communication is language. Besides, there are other several means of communication available to us. We use non-linguistic symbols such as traffic lights, road signs, railway signals to convey information relating to the movements of vehicles and trains. We also use telegraphic code for quick transmission of messages and secret codes for communication defense and other highly confidential information.
Technology is defined as the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science. Maclver and Page defined society as a system of usages and procedures of authority and mutual aid of many groupings and divisions, of controls of human behaviour and liberties.
Therefore, communication technology and society focused on the influence of social, political, and cultural forces on the design and configuration of communication technologies. It also considers how these technologies shape the ways we interact, build relationships, form communities, exchange information, engage in politics and governance, and do business. Communication took different dimension recently in the area of doing business and in different areas in life. When societies know more about the development in a technology, they become able to take advantage of it. When an innovation achieves a certain point after it has been presented and promoted, this technology becomes part of the society
In the past few decades, the world has been experiencing a phenomenon which has seen the proliferation of information at exponential rates. Thus, this era has been appropriately termed the ‘Information Age’ and has been likened in its significance to the Industrial Revolution in terms of its impact on the entire modus operandi of the global system. Advanced economies have become progressively specialised in the production, distribution and use of information. This specialisation is the source of substantial welfare gains. First, reliable information is essential if competitive markets are to work as a mechanism for efficient resource allocation (Güvenen, 2012).
Dennis & DeFleur (2010) state that communication through the use of technology in our society has taken a new shape entirely. With the coming of communication satellites, national borders were crossed easily and media such as television got greater reach. Another giant stride is global networks in what is called ‘’the network society’’ allowed for true interactivity whereby people could communicate more easily across national boundaries and other barriers than ever before. To some, this is seen as the sharing of cultural products across many countries and societies. Technology is difficult to control, if not impossible.
THE DAWN OF THE DIGITAL AGE
Let us flash back to the early days of man on earth. In the sweep of human history, there was in the beginning the agrarian age, when people were hunters and farmers, living in small villages in what was largely a feudal society. With the industrial revolution of the 1830s, we entered a world in which machines and manufacturing brought us cities, a system of transportation and eventually innovations in communication, beginning with the telegraph, the first and other media. The telegraph was followed by the advent of audio, visual and electronic media which lived alongside print which dominated publishing media.
A new information age began in the 1980s and 1990s, more people were employed in the creation, development and dissemination of information than in agriculture and manufacturing. This information, or service, economy was made possible and spurred on by computers and ultimately an integrated networking society where digital communication dominated and ultimately changed everything.
An information society made possible by the digital revolution has been credited with giving people everywhere greater access to information, thanks to cell phones and the internet. With that access comes new freedom because of a greater capacity to communicate with one another. Information becomes accessible and individual gain control (Dennis & DeFleur 2010).
In the 1980s, Canadian media guru Marshall McLuhan proclaimed the coming of the global village. His grand vision seemed at the time more of a global improbability. That all information and knowledge ever accumulated could be communicated interactively to everyone everywhere, who could also communicate easily with each other. Every human being could potentially communicate freely with every other human being on the planet and would be both the recipient of and creator of information, messaging and knowledge.
Siemens (2004) opined that as a result of globalization and the digital revolution, it now seems as if everything in the world of communication is constantly changing. The content of social nerworking sites, like MySpace, You Tube and facebook and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Ask.com, changes on a minute-by-minute basis. New video games make their way to the market daily or weekly. Familiar cable channels change their names as nearly all media entertainment activities grow increasingly web-centric. A close look indicates that every medium of communication is undergoing change every day as a result of technological advancement.
AN OVERVIEW OF EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ON OUR SOCIETY TODAY
Technology and Society Technology affects our society significantly. Technology has been around since the beginning of time, since primitive man used a stone and stick to create fire. Technology has evolved and developed substantially over many years and has changed the world greatly; leading to groundbreaking technological advances and discoveries. Modern technology has had an enormous impact on society and no doubt, society has benefited greatly from it.
Güvenen (2008) stated that technology improves the efficiency in education, medicine, transportation, entertainment and more. When mentioning of how technology impacts our society most times, we think of its positive influence. However, according to Newtons third law of motion, For every action, there is an opposite reaction. Indeed, technology is beneficial to us, however at the same time it brings negative consequences. Let us look at the following questions; is modern technology fully benefiting us? Is it really benefiting our society, or has it ruined and corrupted it?
Let us think of the days when there were no computers or televisions, when all modern technology didn’t exist; society and life was utterly different. People depended on themselves and used all their common knowledge; people lived a more simple and efficient life. Today, society is completely different; we have become overly dependent of technology and it seems as though we have become overrun by it.
Although the rise of new technology has improved our daily lives by bringing many conveniences. However, it increases the rate of obesity and the isolation in our society. Much of today’s society has become very rapacious and acquisitive; wanting the latest technological advances, whether it is a cell phone, computer, etc. Society is becoming idle and impatient due to the fact that everything is one touch away, at our fingertips. Society is becoming more alienated from the natural world and absorbed into a lifeless and materialistic world of technology; that has no true value.
Today, technology has had an immense impact on young children and adolescents. Children have become addicted to technology; they have become enamored and obsessed with having the latest technological advancements. Children are using technology at a very tender age and as a result, they are exposed to explicit and vulgar content on the television or Internet that should not be seen by their eyes. Children seem to be spending all of their time engaging in electronics and many can’t even imagine life without technology.
Yu, Tian, Vogel, & Kwok, (2010) opined that technology makes people become more isolated. It significantly impacts our social interaction. One might think that social network brings people together. For example, you can easily find your long lost friends on a social network such as Facebook or Twitter. However, technology is also ruining our face to face communication. In Alone together, Sherry Turkle determines how social network and texting culture has changed communication between an individual and his/her family, friends. People today are more connected to one another than ever before in human history, thanks to Internet-based social networking sites and text messaging. But they are also more lonely and distant from one another in their unplugged lives.
The picture of people holding their phone and texting is not hard to find in public. You can easily see a group of friends go to a restaurant and all of them spend more time playing with their phones than having conversation with their friends. Briefly, technology seems to connect people together but it actually disconnects people. As a matter of fact, technology does not only make people lack communication, it also makes people lack physical activity. As a consequence, the rate of obesity increases. Many studies have determined the relationship between the adoption of new technologies and negative health outcomes such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and many other diseases are rampant today because people hardly have time to embark on physical activities due to technological advancement.
Although technology has led to much great advancement throughout history and has enhanced and improved our lives in many ways, it has also led to an enormous negative impact on our society, causing it to downfall; therefore the saying “too much of anything is bad,” has accurately applied to technology in our society. That is why I believe that the use of technology should be controlled and that use of technology should be used only for good purposes. Technology should not be a thing that destroys and corrupts society, but a thing that rightfully enhances and changes the world for the better.
TRENDS OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
Media Convergence
Media Convergence refers to bringing together various media forms and facilities. On aspect of convergence involves the blending of separate media to create new types of information and entertainment suppliers. Radio stations stream programmes are podcast. Another type of convergence is media businesses that supply similar things. Cable companies and phone companies provide high-speed internet access; satellite TV shows much of the same programming as cable TV. As companies try to grapple with what the future will bring, they often converge parts of their businesses by using same staff members to service all the media forms.
Instead of having different news crews for every medium, one converged media operation can use the same reporters and staff to produce stories for, television, telecommunication and Internet. By combining each medium’s resource, a converged operation can increase the quality of its product. As a result satisfaction of customer is increased and this leads to a larger audience. From the public’s standpoint, the increased convenience of information provided by converged stories makes using the media a better experience.
One other thing that media convergence does is fragmentation of audiences for news. Nowadays, people talk about not having enough time to everything, they want in a day to do more than one thing at one time. Convergence lead the media is more interactive and audience participation is encouraged. In addition, greater audience engagement can help to enhance the way people experience the media.  Moreover, with the interactive World Wide Web, audiences are able to download and share music, video, photo via social networking and become media produce.
5G Network
The fifth generation wireless standard or 5G is tipped to be the mobile network for the internet of things and big data. Although no formal standard for 5G has been set, according to the Next Generation Mobile Network's 5G white paper, 5G connections must be based on 'user experience, system performance, enhanced services, business models and management & operations'. Researchers predict that 5G will be three times faster than the current 4G standard.
As the next step in the continuous innovation and evolution of the mobile industry, 5G will not only be about a new air interface with faster speeds, but it will also address network congestion, energy efficiency, cost, reliability, and connection to billions of people and devices. In 2014 we heard of new antenna/RF technologies (Massive MIMO, wider bandwidths), proposed deployment of small cells in higher mmWave frequencies, shorter transmission time intervals, reduced latency, and possibly new modulation methods beyond OFDM.
5G will be significantly faster than 4G, allowing for higher productivity across all capable devices with a theoretical download speed of 10,000 Mbps. Plus, with greater bandwidth comes faster download speeds and the ability to run more complex mobile internet apps. However, 5G will cost more to implement and while the newest mobile phones will probably have it integrated, other handsets could be deemed out of date.

Physical-Digital Integration.
Another trend of communication technology is the ability of mobile devices to slowly add technology into our daily lives. Modern technology has developed and evolved in such a rapid pace that is quickly replacing the way we have known and interacted with many tangible and intangible objects around us. We have seen technology was away many brick and mortar structures, making them a thing of the past with the introduction of online mega-stores or show rooms such as “mcgankons.com”. These mega-stores or show rooms such as mcgankons.com offer variety of furniture to people out there to see different types of furniture that are available for them to buy whereby the buyer makes order online and the product is delivered to the buyer’s door-steps.
It’s rare to see anyone without a Smartphone at any given time, giving us access to practically infinite information in the real-world. We already have things like site-to-store purchasing, enabling online customers to buy and pick up products in a physical retail location, sometimes these items are brought to your house on order. For instance, one can shop online from Jumia or Konga and such items will be delivered to your house. It is not surprising to see that many businesses who have failed to adapt to these changes face extreme decline. This is because the world is changing day-in day-out with the help of technology and some business owners envisaged that and are now integrated digitally, for example www.mcgankons.com, www.jumia.com and many others.
Mobile Wallets
Technology in our society today has taken a different dimension and this brings about the term “cashless society”. With the rise of mobile technologies, companies like Google, Visa and MasterCard are bracing for a rise in mobile payment technologies or mobile wallets. Juniper Research, a U.K. based research firm, predicts that payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled technology will be at $180 billion by 2017. Smartphone manufacturers are ensuring newer phones that hit the market will have NFC capabilities so that consumers can happily swipe their phones to make a payment instead of using cash or credit cards.

Mobile wallet is a virtual wallet that stores payment card information on a mobile device. Mobile wallets provide a convenient way for a user to make in-store payments and can be used at merchants listed with the mobile wallet service provider. Businesses are transforming the way they operate to meet the ever-changing needs of their clients. Technology in the financial sector has not been left out of the digital transformation as an emergent group of companies known as Fintech keep coming up with disruptive tools and services that are easily accessible for low costs. One area of the financial industry that is rife with innovations is the payment sector. Using mobile technology, like smartphones, tablets or smartwatches, companies and users are adapting to emergent ways of conducting online and offline transactions using devices like a mobile wallet.
The mobile wallet is an app that would need to be installed or a feature that is already in-built with the smartphone. Once the app is installed and the user inputs his payment information, the wallet stores this information by linking a personal identification format like a number or key, or an image of the owner to each card that is stored. When a user makes a payment at a merchant, the mobile app uses a technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC) which uses radio frequencies to communicate between devices. NFC uses the personal identification format created for the user to communicate the payment information to the merchant’s POS (Point-of-Service) terminal. The information transfer is usually triggered when the user waves or holds his NFC-enabled mobile device over the store’s NFC reader.
Server-Centric Computing
Another trend of technology is Server-Centric Computing which changed the way people manage and save data. Server-centric computing is the term used to describe the situation where your applications and your data are housed on your server rather than on each individual PC on your network.  It is similar to the days of mainframes and text terminals, but in today's server-centric environment you can browse the web and access Windows and Linux-based applications in a desktop environment that looks just like that of a typical personal computer.
The demise of your work PC may wreak enough havoc with your personal or business data to cause you to burst into tears. In many instances, the documents, applications and files stored on that PC can never be recovered. Many companies have transitioned to a server-centric or '"thin client" environment to prevent these types of scenarios from occurring. In a server-centric IT environment, all files, applications and programs reside on the server instead of your PC, allowing your workstation to serve more as a display terminal rather than a storage unit. While this technology is not essentially new, the proliferation of employee mobile devices connecting to a company's network has caused IT departments to revisit this technology to more effectively secure and manage company applications.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. In its own contribution on what internet of things is all about, the Global Standards Initiative says, Internet of Things (IoT) is "a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies". In this case, we are right when we say a "thing" is "an object of the physical world (physical things) or the information world (virtual things), which is capable of being identified and integrated into communication networks" The IoT gives room to a situation whereby objects are sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention.
For instance banks, offices, organisations and some private homes make use of Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to monitor the movement of people and things around their environs. This is to keep track of records and every movement to avoid any security breach. People don’t go to the banking hall to make transactions like it was before; they use their phones, laptops and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for cash transactions.
Drones are used to carry out missions in different parts of the world. All these are examples of internet of  things.
Green Communications
Green communications is the practice of selecting energy-efficient communications and networking technologies and products, and minimizing resource use whenever possible in all branches of communications. It is being reported that communications technologies are responsible for about 2-4% of all of carbon footprint generated by human activity. This highlights the need to focus on managing these numbers, and Green communications is doing just that. The trend is tackling first mobile networks because of their high energy use. Base stations and switching centers could count for between 60% and 85% of the energy used by an entire communication system. Environmentally friendly batteries, renewable energy sources, and intelligent management of the power systems are some of the proposed solutions. For example solar energy, wind generated energy and many others are part of green communication strategies.
With green communication, human activities that destroy the ozone layer such as burning of firewood and bushes are reduced to the minimal. The use of generating plans which constitute a lot of havoc and nuisance to the society will be laid to rest.
Electric vehicles by some car manufacturers like Volvo, Audi and porsche is another aspect of green communication. Though electric vehicles have been in existence for long, but they are not as good as the latest designs that are in display now. These electric cars now are expected to travel more than 300 miles on a single charge. These electric vehicles are zero emission cars which mark the start of a design and technology revolution that is going to change individual mobility and this brings about a safe and clean environment.
Cyber Security
Cyber security is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, security includes both cyber security and physical security. For example there was a global attack to computer by a malware known as “ransomware”. The attack was Massive whereby, ransomware cyber-attack hits nearly 100 countries around the world and more than 45,000 attacks recorded in countries including the UK, Russia, India and China have originated with theft of ‘cyber weapons’. This attack shook the world and as part of the cyber security, people were advised to be careful with the type of attachments they open in their mails.
Ensuring cyber security requires coordinated efforts throughout an information system. Elements of cyber security include:
·         Application security: Application security is the use of software, hardware, and procedural methods to protect applications from external threats. Once an afterthought in software design, security is becoming an increasingly important concern during development as applications become more frequently accessible over networks and are, as a result, vulnerable to a wide variety of threats. Security measures built into applications and a sound application security routine minimize the likelihood that unauthorized code will be able to manipulate applications to access, steal, modify, or delete sensitive data.
·         Information security: Information security (infosec) is a set of strategies for managing the processes, tools and policies necessary to prevent, detect, document and counter threats to digital and non-digital information. Infosec responsibilities include establishing a set of business processes that will protect information assets regardless of how the information is formatted or whether it is in transit, is being processed or is at rest in storage.
·         Network security: This is a strategy to manage information adequately by making sure that nobody tempers with another person’s data or information.
·         Disaster recovery: A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented, structured approach with instructions for responding to unplanned incidents. It is a step-by-step plan consists of the precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so the organization can continue to operate without much effect on its operations since the data are recovered. Here organization will determine which application is appropriate to manage its information.
·         Operational security: As information management and protection has become important to success in the private sector, operational security processes are now common in business operations. Operational security is an analytical process that classifies information assets and determines the controls required to protect these assets.

·         End-user education: These are strategies employed by cyber security outfits to educate users on the need to be aware and familiar with the various strategies of cyber security. For instance, the recently malware “ransomeware” that attacked many computers globally. Cyber security informed us on how to make sure we don’t open any unknown attachment to our mails and other security tips.

Porting of Sim Cards
Selfie Camera Phone

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
For the purpose of explaining and better understanding of this work, technological determinism theory is employed.
Technological Determinism Theory
Technological Determinism is a theory that presumes that a society’s technology drives development of its social and cultural values via the use and application of technology.
Therefore, according to Mcquail (2005) the basic assumptions of Technology determinism are:
1.      Communication technology is fundamental to society.
2.      The sequence of invention and application of communication technology influences social change.
3.      Communication revolution leads to social revolutions.
Akinfeleye (2008) opined that “once a new technology have been invented and are released to the world, they have an irresistible impact on the social world... technology is the force for change and society is its target”.
Technological determinism is relevant to this work because with the advent of more digital technology today both at individual level and at the societal level led to an increase in the amount of time people spend online doing different things (Siemens, 2004). Technology shapes how we as individual in the society think, feel, act and how society operate as we move from one technology to another, it basically determine the changes in the societal and institutional practices into new trends in technology such as internet of things, cyber security and many more. Technology therefore, is significant to the growth and development of people and ideas, when societies know more about technology; they become active users of such technology which eventually becomes part of the society.
Conclusion
The world has entered an era of technological trends where human activities, local and national economies are becoming increasingly interdependent through technological transformation. The relevance of a modern informational infrastructure (technology) to the economic and social well-being of a society cannot be underestimated. Information is power, be it economic, social, or cultural, which must be handled with care. The quality of information that people have determines the effectiveness of choices that people make in the society and access to credible information is prerequisite to pluralistic and participative democracy, human development, economic and social transparency.
Therefore, wisdom, knowledge and information infrastructures through technological trends promote dialogue between those holding various ideas since citizens can form opinions, express preferences which are the basis that societies thrive. With this if properly handled, human prosperity is assured.
References
Akinfeleye, R. A. (2008) (ed) Mass Media and Society; A multi-perspective Approach, yaba: integrity press.
Wood, J. T. (2004). Communication Theories in Action: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Windahl, S. & Signitzer, B. (2006).Using Communication Theory: An Introduction to Planned Communication. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.
Solis, B. (2010). Customer Service: The Art of listening and Engagement through Social Media. New York: Littlefield publishers, Inc.
Solis, B. (2009). The Essential Guide to Social Media. New York: Littlefield publishers, Inc.
Yu, A., Tian, S., Vogel, D. & Kwok, R. (2010) ‘Embedded social learning in online social networking. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from, http://aisel.aisnet.org/icis2010_submissions/100
Güvenen, O. (2008). The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Society. Journal of International Affairs, 4 (4). Retrieved from http://sam.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/OrhanGuvenen1.pdf
           
TRENDS OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY TRENDS OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY Reviewed by IFEDAYO AKINWALERE on 7:33:00 am Rating: 5

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