There Are 8 Sections to This Booklet

There Are 8 Sections to This Booklet





There are 8 sections to this booklet:


1. ICT in Commerce 3

2. Effects on ICT in call centres 5

3. ICT in marketing and advertising 8

4. Specialist ICT services 10

5. ICT and work styles 14

6. ICT and personal communications 18

7. ICT and people with special needs 21

8. ICT and community activities 23

All of these sections will help you with the POWERPOINT PRESENTATION part of the board set assignment (exam).

At the end of each section there is a series of ACTIVITIES.

Make sure you attempt all of these, as they will help you reinforce your understanding of ICT in Society.


What is commerce?

By commerce we mean businesses that sell products and / or services.

E-business and commerce

It is a business that makes use of electronic communications, usually over the Internet, to support its relationship with customers and other businesses.

A business is using e-commerce if it takes payment by credit card over the Internet.

An example is shown below of an e-commerce organisation –

1 3 2

  1. SEARCH BOOKS: This will contain a database of all the books that Virgin books use over the Internet. The Search facility allows shoppers to look for a particular book, using criteria, such as AUTHOR and TITLE.
  1. SHOPPING BAG: Once the ADD TO BAG icon is clicked, the chosen item is added. The shopper can then continue shopping, adding or removing items from the bag. The contents can be checked at any time.
  1. BAG IT: By selecting this option, shoppers will go to CHECKOUT. Selection of the checkout button will transfer the shopper to a secure server. This is a website which has hardware and software protection to prevent hackers from viewing personal and credit card details as they are entered by the shopper. Many online stores make use of a Payment Service Provider (PSP) – this is a company which specialises in providing secure payment services. The browser indicates that it is in a secure server location by the appearance of a closed padlock on the status bar of the browser window.

Benefits of E-commerce

-It is a form of advertising.

-Customer support is available online.

-Savings on printing and postage costs, no need to print catalogues.

-Improved marketing, as customer database is established and a customer feedback form is available.

-Direct selling cuts out the middle man.

-Staff requirements are reduced as orders and payments are made automatically online.

  1. What is e-commerce?
  1. What are the 3 features to be found on the Virgin books page?
  1. One of the most successful e-commerce companies is Look at their homepage. What items do you notice them selling?
  1. When started out, they could sell their books cheaper than bookstores in the high street. This is because they did not have the costs of running a shop, such as rent on the building, and the wages of employing lots of staff.
What affect do you think an online bookstore can have on:
a)the sales of books in the high street shops?
b)the jobs of the staff in the shops?
c)the prices of the books in the shops?


Supporting customers is vital for a business to succeed in the long term. For a small corner shop, this is often done face-to-face, especially when the customers are local. The shop may deal with enquiries and complaints, but the volume is not large and the staff can easily cope.

For many larger businesses, such as major banks, it is not an option for customers to go to the nearest office and many businesses do not make it easy to find out where the Head Office or branches are.

Banks, electricity companies, gas companies all use call centres. When a customer telephones the company, the person at the company will be located in a call centre in a particular part of the country.

ICT systems in call centres

When you phone a call centre you usually hear a pre-recorded message, asking you to choose which service you want, e.g. “Press 1 for account enquiry….Press 2 for change of address…Press 3 to make a payment….etc….”

This is an example of call routing, where the company directs the customer to the appropriate department. ICT is used to support a range of call centre systems, as the following examples show:

Voice recording

It is a computerised process with conversations being recorded, e.g. “Your call may be recorded for quality control purposes and for your own security.”

Why is it used?

-Staff training and development: Call centres monitor conversations of their operators for training purposes, but also to check they are doing their work properly and efficiently.

-Transaction monitoring: Customer orders can be proved and the recording used to resolve disputes. If the call is about confidential matters, such as a bank account or investments, then passwords are requested. Recording such conversations is useful in case of attempted impersonation or fraud.

-Trend analysis: Customer needs and preferences can be analysed. This is useful for planning. For example if a lots of complaints are received about a particular product, the company can take steps to solve the problem.

Home working

Here the call centre is extended to support staff working at home. The support staff will need access to all of the information systems that are available in the call centre. When all the call centre staff are fully occupied, calls will be directed to support staff at home.

Call queuing

This feature places callers in a queue to be answered by an operator as and when one becomes free. This is a facility which must be used carefully by a business. Provided that waiting times are not too long, it may ensure that calls leading to a sale are not lost. Use of a freephone (0800) or local rate (08457) number will help.

Often these calls are to request or buy an item, OR to obtain technical support. Some systems attempt to give waiting callers feedback… e.g. “You are at queue position 4.” What the caller doesn’t know is how many staff are taking the calls! It does however give some sort of idea of the waiting time. Other facilities include recorded music or marketing information which can be very annoying.

Call routing

This facility has 2 main functions:

a) to route calls to operators as and when they become free, and to other call centres or home support workers.

b) to provide a way of directing callers to the most appropriate department.

1. Explain what is ‘call queuing’ and ‘call routing’.
2. Why do call centres use ICT?
3. What is voice recording and how is it used?
4. Why would a call centre use home working?
5. You may have heard about the old directory services enquiries run by BT 192. It has now been taken over by a number of different companies. One of the companies who run this service is called:
THE NUMBER 118 118.
What problems have they faced since it started recently?
Find out by choosing this link: BBC3news
Ask an adult at home about his / her experience of using a telephone call centre.
Find out:
a) the type of business he / she telephoned.
b) the reason for calling.
c) how quickly did they answer?
d) how long did it to complete the call?
e) was it easy or difficult to carry out the call? Why?


Here are some examples of ICT in marketing and advertising:

-Printed materials

-Digital billboards

-Company websites

-CD-ROM style business cards

The following is a list of how the above are used and the ICT systems responsible for them:

a)TV and cinema advertising: Computer graphics and animation allow designers to produce almost any visual effects they want to excite and attract audiences.

b)The quality of printed materials such as magazines is improved, because of the use of computer graphics software and improved printing technology.

c)Telephone and postal marketing can make use of databases containing detailed information on consumer preferences, spending habits, income levels, etc. If you buy a bike from Cycle Supplier A, you may find that you receive information form Cycle Supplier B, C, etc and sports related companies.

d)The WWW allows even the smallest company to advertise and promote its products. E-commerce allows goods and service to be sold online.

e)Marketing information can be gathered through business websites and from enquiries and sales made through them. Can be done through a simple email link, asking for comments.

f)Database of customer email addresses can be built up by a business and then used for informing customers of new products. Care must be taken not to ‘spam’ customers with information they don’t want.

g)Digital billboards can be displayed in public places, with adverts changing every few seconds. Imax uses this technology in its giant cinema screens.

h)CDROM business cards. These have transformed the standard, printed business card into a powerful marketing tool. Their capacity is sufficient to store all the details a company might want to distribute to clients and customers.

The time taken to produce advertising and marketing materials has been much reduced because:

a)For printed materials, the digital copy produced with a graphics package can be handed to the printer who can then produce the printing plates directly.

b)For electronic materials, such as digital billboards, websites, TV and cinema screens, content can be changed and updated without the costs of reprinting.

1. Give 4 examples of ICT in marketing and advertising.
2. Explain how ICT can be used in the following:
a) TV and cinema advertising
b) Digital billboards
c) Database of customer emails.
3. Are people without access to ICT in any way deprived? With digital billboards, everybody can see them, but what about those without internet access? How do they lose out?
4. The Government has a website It gives information on public services such as transport, education, health, social services and other departments. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this method of telling the public about public services?


ICT has affected three important business support services:

-Technical services

-Customised database services

-Security services

a)Technical services

When a business installs new ICT systems, it may need to make use of technical support services. There will probably be new opportunities for the use of ICT. For example, using modem software to create advertising flyers may lead to the design of a website. Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word allow you to export documents as web pages.

The development of a website presents new opportunities for providing customer support, perhaps with a new online product database. This will require new software and employment of a database specialist.

Here are some examples of technical services:

ICT hardware supplyICT hardware maintenance

Network engineeringWebsite development

Website maintenanceWeb hosting

Computer bureauSoftware house

Software houseHealth and Safety training / support

Graphic design servicesMultimedia design

Printing servicesCDROM mastering / copying

CDROM business card production

Explanation of some of the above:

Network engineering: Apart from small networks, the planning and installation of cabling, connections and hardware require specialist help.

Website development / Website maintenance: Design, coding and ongoing updating of the website.

Web hosting: A website must be located on a web server owned by an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Computer bureau: Provides services for data input and processing, usually when a business’s ICT systems cannot cope fully. This is usually on a short term basis.

Software house: Provides full software development services (programming). If an ICT system is being developed that requires tailor-made software, and does not employ programmers, then it can use the services of a software house.

Health and Safety training / support: Use of ICT systems requires an employer to take measures to protect the health and safety of all employees . Training and advice can be provided for businesses on they action they need to take. Other companies supply products, such as wrist supports, filters to cut screen glare and specially designed computer workstations.

Graphic design services: Services used to develop flyers, brochures and other advertising and marketing materials.

Multimedia design: A company’s promotional materials can be provided over the internet, or CDROM. A multimedia design company can produce these materials in an exciting and attractive way that makes best use of ICT.

Printing services: For the production of flyers and brochures, a business will need to use a professional printing service.

CDROM mastering / copying: If a business is producing for example, a promotional, multimedia presentation, a master is created and then thoroughly checked. The master is then used to create as many identical copies as required.

CDROM business card production: These can be recorded in-house by a business. Also a specialist company can provided the CDROM business cards in almost any shape that is required.

b)Customised database services

These are created by tailoring database programs for particular applications. For example, Microsoft’s Access database program could be used to create a database for a video hire shop, or to keep accounts for a small business.

Database programs allow files, consisting of collections of records, to be created, modified, searched and printed.

Examples of customised database applications:

-names and addresses of possible customers for a mail order firm

-details of the books in a library

-details of stock items stored in a warehouse.

-lists of people in a certain region who are allowed to vote

-details of the employees of a large firm

-products supplied by an online store.

People who have just a little experience of using computers can sometimes develop simple database applications, but larger and more complex systems will need an experienced database programmer.

c)Security services

These are vital to all businesses. For example, loss of a company’s order file could mean that debts are not collected from customers, resulting in the bankruptcy of the business. Security has a number of purposes, which are:

-To prevent loss of data. A person could accidentally delete a file containing important information, or date could be lost in a fire.

-To protect data from being accidentally or deliberately accessed by unauthorised individuals or groups. In the case of personal data, the Data Protection Act is relevant here. This is known as data privacy.

-To protect data from being accidentally or deliberately changed (as may be caused by hackers). This is known maintaining data integrity. The Computer Misuse Act is designed to help here.

Methods of security need to be employed. These are:

- Backup systems used to protect against the loss of data. They make use of a range of ICT hardware, including, high capacity tape drives, removable disks, CD-R and additional hard drives.

- Physical protection methods include identity cards to restrict access to authorised staff, intruder detection systems and voice or fingerprint recognition.

- Software protection includes, for example, the use of virus scanning software, user IDs and passwords for access to computer networks and data encryption to protect confidential data during transmission over networks.

1. Which 3 important business support services has ICT affected?
2. State 5 examples of technical services support.
3. What do you understand by:
a) network engineering
b) Health and Safety training and support
c) multimedia design?
4. What are customised database services?
5. Security services are vital to all businesses – what are the 3 purposes of computer security?
6. Think of the work that the ICT technicians do at BroughtonHallSchool. Give 3 examples of the type of work that they do.


Place of work

With connections to the Internet, mobile phones, PDAs and laptop computers, people can work from home, on the train, in a hotel room or even out of the country and still keep in touch with the main office, fellow workers and clients.

Changes in business practice

Hot desking

As office workers can work from home more easily, many businesses use hot desking. It is having staff work from home and attending the office on different days of the week. In this way, an office for 20 people can be used by 100 people, with 20 in on a Monday, another 20 on a Tuesday, and so on.

Staff Management and Control

Some businesses may be reluctant to allow homeworking, simply because they do not trust the staff to work unsupervised. However, with the high cost of office space, as well as rail and road problems, is making many organisations consider homeworking.

Intranets and extranets

An intranet is a sort of private internet / website within a business, making use of browsers to access the various business applications. An extranet provides a secure entry point to the internet. So using IDs and passwords, staff working away from the office can gain access to their company’s information systems.


-savings in travel costs

-no need to live within travelling distance

-flexible hours of work

-equality between men and women; child rearing can be a shared activity

-savings on rental of office space

-opportunities for the disabled, who may otherwise may find it difficult to gain employment in conventional work places