It is an acronym that stands for Information Communications Technology.
However, apart from explaining an acronym, there’s no universally accepted defininition of ICT. Why? Because the concepts, methods and applications involved in ICT are constantly evolving on an almost daily basis and it’s difficult to keep up.
A good way to think about ICT is to consider all uses of digital technology that exist to help individuals, businesses and organisations use information. ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots.
So ICT is concerned with the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission or receipt of digital data. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other.
2. ICT products
In business, ICT is often categorised into two broad types of product:
- Traditional computer-based technologies (things you can typically do on a personal computer or using computers at home or at work)
- Digital communication technologies (which allow people and organisations to communicate and share information digitally)
ICTs are also used to refer to the convergence of media technology such as audio-visual and telephone networks with computer networks, by means of a unified system of cabling (including signal distribution and management) or link system. However, there is no universally accepted definition of ICTs considering that the concepts, methods and tools involved in ICTs are steadily evolving on an almost daily basis.
4. European Commission
The development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is vital for Europe’s competitiveness in today’s increasingly digital global economy. Over €20 billion from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is available for ICT investments during the 2014-2020 funding period. These investments are vital for the success of the Commission’s objective of making Europe fit for the digital age.
Improving access, use and quality of ICTs is one of the 11 thematic objectives for Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020. The ERDF will prioritise:
- Extending broadband deployment and the roll-out of high-speed networks
- Developing ICT products and services and e-commerce
- Strengthening ICT applications for e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, e-culture and e-health
ICT measures may also receive support under other thematic objectives, and they are also included in many smart specialisation strategies. Moving from a classic ICT sector approach to a comprehensive local/regional/national “digital agenda” within the Smart Specialisation Strategy is enabling regions to identify the priorities for ICT investment which are pertinent for their territory.
European Structural and Investment Funds are not only to be seen as financial support, but also as a policy tool to support the public authorities in defining their strategy and planing their administrative and investment effort. In order to make sure that EU investments achieve maximum impact, Member States and regions that wish to use funding for ICT-related projects are required to put in place a strategic policy framework for digital growth and a next generation network plan.
European Structural and Investment Funds can also be used strategically to encourage the transposition of Digital Single Market (DSM) legislative initiatives, the development of administrative capacity for effective application of this legislation and the leverage of national public and private funding to enhance and speed-up the positive impact of the DSM in all EU regions.
Increased ICT Investments in 2014-2020 will build on the achievements during the 2007-2013 funding period:
- Over 5 million additional people connected to broadband
- More than 20,700 ICT projects received ERDF support