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FUTURE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY




FUTURE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
BY
Ifedayo Akinwalere and Emmanuel Olumuji
Date: September 27, 2017.


INTRODUCTION
Information technology is becoming the cornerstone of every society; it is bringing great changes in the structure and ways of life of people. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and development in modern technology especially in the field of electronic communication and computer science and technology influence the society. ICT has had its effects in the economic, social, cultural, political, and even individual, spheres of life. Proper use of ICT may even transform a country from developing one to a developed one in just a few years from now. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have increasingly become indispensable tools for development over the past few decades. Positive effects of ICTs have continually been noted in business, production, education, politics, governance, culture and other aspects of human life. In higher education, ICTs have great influence in teaching, learning, research and other scholarly and professional activities through improved communication and access to information. This paper considers ICT, current trends and future trends in ICT.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
Over recent years, ICT has had a huge impact and brought many changes to all our lives and there is currently no indication that further changes to come in the future will be any slower or less disruptive (Wiesmüller & Mosnik, 2016). ICT permeates all areas of our everyday life, be it work, leisure time or our interaction with the world around us.
Information and Communication Technologies—which include radio and television, as well as digital technologies such as computers and the Internet—have been touted as potentially powerful enabling tools for educational change and reform (Valvodova & Guillen, 2012). When used appropriately, different ICTs are said to help expand access to education, strengthen the relevance of education to the increasingly digital workplace, and raise educational quality by, among others.
ICTs are the leading factor in boosting innovation and creativity in value chains across industry and service sectors. Tandon (2012) asserts that ICTs are essential in every society to manage and administer the rise in demand for health and social care, in particular for people with special needs including the ageing population, and to modernize services in domains of public interest such as education and continual learning, cultural heritage, social inclusion, security, energy, transport and the environment .

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The paper is hinged on Diffusion and Determinism Technological theory. Technology is a topical issue today. The theory involves using communication to transfer technological innovation from development agencies to their clients so as to create an appetite for change through raising a climate for modernization among members of the public.
There are critical roles for technology in the employment of communication for development. The technology in communication serves a dual role in diffusion. They are channel for messages, as well as message for innovation. Anaeto, Onabajo and Osifeso (2008) posited four different points of view:
  1. An overly optimistic view shares the conviction that the development and application of technology can resolve all varied problems of mankind.
  2. That technology is the source of much that is evil in society.
  3. That technology is the proponent factor in development.
  4. That technology is an inexorable, irresistible, and over overwhelming force, which is a message in its own right.
The relevance of this theory to this work cannot be overemphasized. Information Technology and Communication can transform any society, and in the use of ICT in the chain of information can serve both as the channel and message at the same time for users.
CURRENT TRENDS IN ICT
We live in a time when discoveries in science and technology are happening at a pace that makes it difficult to stay informed (Huynh, 2013). People conversant with ICT (known as the digital natives) see ICT as just a part of life and when they enter business it will be just a part of the business as well. The full potential of these changes are continuously evolving. Hawkins (2010) and Huynh (2013) indentify ten current trends in ICT and education globally; their submission is an aggregation of projections from leading forecasters and personal observations.  The top ten global trends in ICT are:
Mobile Learning: New advances in hardware and software are making mobile “smart phones” indispensible tools. Just as cell phones have moved ahead of fixed line technology in the telecommunications industry, it is likely that mobile devices with internet access and computing capabilities will soon overtake personal computers as the information appliance of choice in the classroom.
Cloud Computing. Applications are increasingly moving off of the stand alone desk top computer and increasingly onto server farms accessible through the Internet. The implications of this trend for education systems are huge; they will make cheaper information appliances available which do not require the processing power or size of the PC. The challenge will be providing the ubiquitous connectivity to access information sitting in the “cloud”.
One-to-One Computing:  The trend in classrooms around the world is to provide an information appliance to every learner and create learning environments that assume universal access to the technology. Whether the hardware involved is one laptop per child, or – increasingly – a net computer, smart phone, or the re-emergence of the tablet, classrooms should prepare for the universal availability of personal learning devices.
 Ubiquitous Learning: With the emergence of increasingly robust connectivity infrastructure and cheaper computers, school systems around the world are developing the ability to provide learning opportunities to students “anytime, anywhere”.  This trend requires a rethinking of the traditional 40 minute lesson.  In addition to hardware and Internet access, it requires the availability of virtual mentors or teachers, and/or opportunities for peer to peer and self-paced, deeper learning.
Gaming: Multiplayer and other online game experience are extremely common among young people and games offer an opportunity for increased social interaction and civic engagement among youth. The phenomenal success of games with a focus on active participation, built in incentives and interaction suggests that current educational methods are not falling short and that educational games could more effectively attract the interest and attention of learners.
Personalized Learning: Education systems are increasingly investigating the use of technology to better understand a student’s knowledge base from prior learning and to tailor teaching to both address learning gaps as well as learning styles. This focus transforms a classroom from one that teaches to the middle to one that adjusts content and pedagogy based on individual student needs – both strong and weak.
Redefinition of Learning Spaces: Schools around the world are re-thinking the most appropriate learning environments to foster collaborative, cross-disciplinary, students centered learning. Concepts such as greater use of light, colors, circular tables, individual spaces for students and teachers, and smaller open learning spaces for project-based learning are increasingly emphasized.
Teacher-generated Open Content: school systems are increasingly empowering teachers and networks of teachers to both identify and create the learning resources that they find most effective in the classroom. Many online texts allow teachers to edit, add to, or otherwise customize material for their own purposes, so that their students receive a tailored copy that exactly suits the style and pace of the course. These resources in many cases complement the official textbook and may, in the years to come, supplant the textbook as the primary learning source for students. Such activities often challenge traditional notions of intellectual property and copyright.
 Smart Portfolio Assessment: The collection, management, sorting, and retrieving of data related to learning will help teachers to better understand learning gaps and customize content and pedagogical approaches. Also, assessment is increasingly moving toward frequent formative assessments which lend itself to real-time data and less on high-pressure exams as the mark of excellence.  Tools are increasingly available to students to gather their work together in a kind of online portfolio; whenever they add a tweet, blog post, or photo to any online service, it will appear in their personal portfolio which can be both peer and teacher assessed.
 Teacher Managers/Mentors: The role of the teacher in the classroom is being transformed from that of the font of knowledge to an instructional manager helping to guide students through individualized learning pathways, identifying relevant learning resources, creating collaborative learning opportunities, and providing insight and support both during formal class time and outside of the designated 40 minute instruction period.  This shift is easier said than done and ultimately the success or failure of technology projects in the classroom hinge on the human factor and the willingness of a teacher to step into unchartered territory. 
The essence of ICT in the society is to support the citizens in finding ICT solutions that enable them to live more sustainably as well as giving them a better understanding of the role of ICT in facilitating sustainable development (Valvodova & Guillen, 2012). Hence, ICT becomes the driving gear for a society to develop, the Diffusion and Determinism Technological Theory is relevant to our society today because technology is a critical aspect of developing a society. For example, solutions such as the collection and provision of information to farmers, the provision of modern implements like tractor, improved agricultural seed(lings) and improved logistics can have a transformational impact on the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural activities as well as improving the livelihoods of farmers in a society.

THE FUTURE ICT
The future of ICT and ICT professional is very bright (Tandon, 2012); many countries are investing in ICT. Nigeria for instance has integrated ICT in her education curriculum at all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary education). Change is actually evolving these days at a much faster rate - it is no longer constant (Huynh, 2013). Yesterdays predictions are today’s realities. Scholars say there are only two kinds of predictions: wrong and lucky. Floridi (1996) predictions of ICT today are lucky, and so he thought he should tempt fate once more. This time, however, Floridi (2006) is not concerned with the system of organized knowledge. Rather, he focused more generally on future developments in ICTs and their impact on our lives. Floridi (2006) claims that digital ICTs are re-ontologizing the very nature of (and hence what we mean by) the infosphere, and here lies the source of some of the most profound transformations and challenging problems that our information societies will experience in the close future, as far as technology is concerned. He clarifies and substantiates this claim by highlighting two fundamental trends in technology and some of their significant implications. The most obvious way in which the new ICTs are re-ontologizing the infosphere concerns (a) the transition from analogue to digital data and then (b) the ever-increasing growth of our digital space. Both phenomena are familiar, for example, five exabytes of information is equivalent in size to the information contained in 37,000 books, the size of a library, although the production of analogue data is still increasing, the information space is becoming more digital by the day which is now vast and infinite. There is convergence between digital resources and digital tools. The nature of the information technologies available (e.g. software, databases, communication channels and protocols etc.) is now the same as (and hence fully compatible with) the nature of their objects.   
Huynh (2013) presents a comprehensive view of what industry leaders see as the future of Information Technology:
1. Mobility: Today many employees already have hand-held devices such as smartphones or tablets. These devices can be repurposed to access enterprise services. Organizations may experience challenges with the Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) method: which devices to use or who will support the solution? Employees would carry their office in their pocket everywhere they go to.
2. Security: Security provides a form of protection where a separation is created between the assets and the threat. These separations are generically called "controls," and sometimes include changes to the asset or the threat. In most security systems, the "weakest link in the chain" is the most important. The situation is asymmetric since the 'defender' must cover all points of attack while the attacker need only identify a single weak point upon which to concentrate. In the IT Realm security includes:
Application security; Computing security; Data security; Information security; and Network security. Organizations would be more protected from any form of cyber threat because of future security measures that would be in place.
3. The Internet of Things: A global network infrastructure includes existing and evolving Internet and network developments. It will offer specific object-identification, sensor and connection capability as the basis for the development of independent cooperative services and applications. These will be characterized by a high degree of autonomous data capture, event transfer and network connectivity.
4. Business Transformation: Business transformation is achieved by realigning the way staff works, how the organization is structured and how technology is used. Typically organizations would go through several stages in transforming themselves.
5. Lean Agile Process: Lean is the ‘What’ and Agile is the ‘How.’ Lean evolved from process improvement efforts of manufacturing organizations. Initial improvement efforts focused on operations but later included ‘Services’ as found in the ‘office’ (e.g., HR, Order Delivery) and R&D (e.g., Product Development and Software Development). Lean Thinking helps managers understand what their customer truly values and establishes metrics designed to provide evidence of their ability to satisfy their needs.
6. Personalization: Personalization is the combined use of technology and customer information to tailor electronic commerce interactions in “business to business” and “business to consumer” settings. Once confined mainly to the Web, it is becoming a factor in education, health care, the media, and social network websites.
7. Telepresence: Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if he is present, to give the appearance of being present, or to have an effect, via telerobotics, at a place other than his true location. It requires that the user’s senses be provided with such stimuli as to give the feeling of being in that other location.
8. Robotics: The Robotics branch of technology deals with the design, construction, operation, development and application of robots, and computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. These technologies deal with automated machines that can take the place of humans, in dangerous or manufacturing processes, or simply just resemble humans. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics. By December 2017, a full human transplant would be carried out by a group of scientist who has been working on it for past 30 years.
9. Three Dimensional (3D) Printing: 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. A material printer would perform 3D printing processes using digital technology and varied materials.
10. Natural User Interface (NUI): A NUI may be operated in a number of different ways, depending on the purpose and user requirements. Some NUIs rely on intermediary devices for interaction (such as joystick for video gaming) but more advanced NUIs are either invisible to the user or so unobtrusive that they quickly seem invisible.
11. Socially-Enabled Enterprise: An enterprise environment that has its foundation, makes it easy to share information while maintaining the key tenets of an enterprise software deployment: easy systems management, easy systems integration, enterprise-level support, continual feature enhancement and user training and adoption.
12. Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial Intelligence is the intelligence of machines and robots and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. The study and design of intelligent agents where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success.
13. Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world
14. Visualization Management (VM): Visualization Management occurs through well-defined interactions between the IT silos by considering factors such as where applications reside; where virtual machines reside; what resources they are using; how they are performing; and are more or less resources required to meet service level agreements. VM also considers: are there bottlenecks in the environment, and if so, where they are; what is needed to maintain optimal operations immediately and constantly; is it necessary to start a VM or stop a VM, or move a VM.
15. Power Generation, Consumption, Management: Integrated design, build and operate solutions for the power industry that covers IT for multi-fuel power generation from a diverse mix of fossil fuels, renewables and biomass sources in operations, maintenance, metering, trading, billing, real-time enterprise asset management.
There is however timelines that were assumed for the trends and when they might emerge and evolve, with the caveat that new and potentially disruptive technologies could change everything (Huynh, 2013).
Sam (2016) stated that by 2020, when the ICT industry will generate $5 trillion in spending worldwide (which is over $1.3 trillion more than it does today), about 40% of the industry's revenue and almost the totality of its growth will be driven by 3rd Platform technologies that today represent just 29% of IT spending. This "Third IT Platform" will engage billions of users and generate millions of apps, sustaining a new intelligent economy. This represents also a change of scale in the size and depth of the ICT market, both in terms of the number of users, the number of connected devices, and the number of applications and services.
Kim (2015) says that The Stanford Research Team predicts that by 2020 there will be programmable open mobile internet, according to them the programmable mobile internet will be in use in education, security, language, architecture, economics, networking and operating system. There will be Pocket School, Virtual Worlds, Augmented Reality and improved radio technology (Kim, 2015). It is an initiative to help underrepresented children and mitigate digital, education, and economic divides. The future of science and education network will have high energy physics experiment data, geological science, medical imaging, telemedicine applications, virtual museum, classrooms, 3D stereoscopic HD, etc. The team also predicted that there be more secured mobile browser where possibly there will be solution to the current challenge(s) of hacking. Tendon (2012) averred that to revitalize education for ICT future, the core of current education systems and infrastructure needs to be restructured in four fundamental ways:
(i) Instruction needs to be made more relevant – combining industry, science and the arts in curricula that focus equally on formal education and vocational courses and trainings. A more technologically astute avenue for (female) students that cater to their interests in engineering needs to be established.
(ii) Schools need to improve the quality of their execution, away from rote individualistic learning to hands-on, team-work and problem-solving teaching methods. This can be taken to very practical levels when regular communication between industrial leaders and schools collaborate to develop talent and skills.
(iii) Schools need to ensure that students know about the continually evolving nature of the knowledge economy and that learning does not stop once basic schooling is completed. This also means that companies need to offer a more collaborative workplace experience engaging workers and giving them opportunities to continuously improve and seek productivity gains.
(iii) More funds or subsidies need to be placed for technical training programmes.

IMPLICATION OF ICT FUTURE ON THE SOCIETY
Floridi (2005) states that we shall be living in an infosphere that will become increasingly synchronized (time), delocalised (space) and correlated (interactions), the world will be a global village indeed where there are no more barriers of time, distance and culture. Valvodova and Guillen (2012) opine that the main transformation points lie in the flexibility of ICT to tailor solutions, creating real, individual services that allow quick data analysis and no waste generation. Access to information is made simple and opens opportunities for enabling change in other sectors. There is also a need for supporting the delivery of public services through ICT; and greater education and awareness-raising about ICT solutions and their positive impact.
In addition, another implication of ICT future according to Valvodova and Guillen (2012) would be that employment itself is determined by the capability of people to develop different tasks and have several jobs; the notion of a lifetime job is related to time spent between physical and virtual times and places as work happens in both environments. Work time is longer and it is also community based.
On the demand side, the emerging ICT paradigm requires much more of ICT professionals than the constant upgrading of technical skills. Today and future ICT professionals must have a sound understanding of technology and develop high-level business, management, and communication skills (Tandon, 2012). Therefore, in order to make successful employment inroads, ICT professionals will need the know-how and the psychological make-up to function in a turbulent job market in which the boundaries and requirements will constantly change. The only constant in the sector is perpetual change.
There would also be work conditions that would result from a technology-based education scheme that allows people to get more access to information, increase their capacity for self-reflection and the curricula itself will be more oriented to emphasize the relationship between environment and society (Valvodova & Guillen, 2012). Social networks also play a fundamental role since personal interactions and experiential activities in ‘real-life’ are important part of study and skilling programs. Tandon (2012) suggests that applied human talent with the right skill sets will continue to be the key for the building of a vibrant and diversified ICT sector. That talent pool will need to be enriched by the building and training of nondiscriminatory, gender-neutral human capital primarily in universities, research and development centres as well as trade or ‘applied’ schools to respond to the evolving ICT industry.
The irresistible essence of effective communication will be brought to the fore. Communication will be the essential tool that brings work’s social nature to every day life and connects with other activities such as shopping, transport and leisure activities (Valvodova & Guillen, 2012). It will be virtually and physically and individuals would prefer to use simple multifunction communication devices. The people will be better informed and the society a better place.

CONCLUSION AND FUTURE DIRECTION
Information technology is becoming the cornerstone of every society; it is bringing great changes in the structure and ways of life of people. ICT and development in modern technology especially in the field of electronic communication and computer science and technology influence the society. It is bringing out fundamental change in the process of acquiring, storing, processing, retrieving and delivering the information generated constantly across the globe in the universe of knowledge over multidisciplinary fields of subjects.
Change is actually evolving these days at a much faster rate - it is no longer a constant. Yesterdays predictions are today’s realities (Valvodova & Guillen, 2012). ICT has changed radically since those early computing days and communication technologies are forces behind social change through software tools, content and connectivity delivered over multiple mobile channels. Social media and its participatory formats are as much about the technologies as they are about their applications, bringing the virtual and physical worlds closer together in dynamic ways across several platforms.
Women make up half the world's population, they use technology as much as men and they are innovative technical thinkers, so if we want the best technology that we can get, we need diversity at the design table (Tandon, 2012). Women account for one-half of the potential talent base throughout the world. Closing gender gaps is therefore not only a matter of human rights and equity; it is also one of efficiency and economic productivity in the future of ICT.
REFERENCES
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Huynh, C. (2013). Future Trends in Information Technology. Retrieved on 26th June, 2017
from www.interlink-ntx.org.
Hawkins, R. (2010). 10 Global Trends in ICT and Education. Retrieved on 26th June, 2017
Kim, T. (2015). Future Trends in Mobile Technology Development: What Can We Expect in
the Next 5, 10, and 15 Years? Retrieved on 26th June, 2017 from phkim@stanford.edu
Sam, T. (2016). ICT TRENDS 2020: Main Trends for Information and Communication Technologies
(ICT) and their Implications for e-LEADERSHIP SKILLS. Retrieved on 26th June, 2017
Tandon, N. (2012). A Bright Future in ICT Opportunities for a new Generation of Women. Retrieved
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Valvodova, A. and Guillen, G. (2012). Future Lifestyles and Opportunities for the ICT Industry.
Retrieved on 26th June, 2017 from www.scp-centre.org.
Wiesmüller, M. and Mosnik, L. (2016). ICT of the Future . Retrieved on 26th June, 2017 from
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology 1030 Vienna, Radetzkystraße 2 www.bmvit.gv.at


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