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An introduction to IT (Information Technology)

The use of computers, storage, networking and infrastructure to produce, process, manipulate, store, secure and share electronic data is known as information technology. 

First appearing in an article published in the Harvard Business Review in 1958, IT is considered a subset of ICT (Information communication technology). IT industry has progressed in leaps since its introduction. It has now become so integrated into our lives that it is impossible for us to think of a world without it. Information technology evolved from the mid 20th century and encompassed transistors and integrated circuits. 

The emergence of technology has led to decrease in energy consumption and device cost.

IT tools

Information technology uses hardware and software tools to perform its functions. Hardware tools include the physical equipment like the user device such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, sound recorders etc, while software includes the operating system and virtualization to perform the essential functions. The landscape of information technology also includes architectures, methodologies, and rules regarding the usage and application of electronic data.

Business application

Information technology is included in many business applications. 

Database Servers – Computer programs that provide database service to other computers.

E-Mail servers- An application which receives emails, and forward outgoing mails to senders.

Web servers- Computers that deliver web pages.

Servers interact with the client users across business networks. Any technology that has stored data is storage. It can be in the form of multimedia, audio, video, web data etc. Storage can be done either in volatile or non-volatile drives. The volatile drive includes RAM, random access memory and non-volatile drive includes tape and hard disk.

Data in Information technology

Electronic data processing in information technology includes data storage, data retrieval, data transmission and data manipulation.

Data storage: Technological innovations have made data storage much easier and efficient. Data can be stored in hard disks, optical devices or magnetic tapes. With the increased amount of data, emerged storage and retrieval problems. In the 1960s, database management system was introduced to address this issue. Database management systems allow the data stored to be accessed simultaneously by many users without losing their integrity.

Data retrieval: Data retrieval means obtaining data from a database management system. The terms data and information are not synonymous. Anything stored is data, but for it to be information, it has to be organized. There is no confusion involved if the data is represented in a structured way, but most of the digital data available are unstructured. Data warehouses began to develop in the 1980s in its wake and contain data extracted from various sources, including external sources like the internet.

Data transmission: Involving three aspects of propagation, transmission, and reception, data transmission can be broadly classified into broadcasting and telecommunication. Information is transmitted unidirectionally downward in broadcasting transmission and bidirectional upstream and downstream in telecommunication.
Data manipulation: Data manipulation is the process of changing data in an effort to make it easier to read. A vast amount of data is stored worldwide every day. But unless it is analyzed and brought out effectively, it is of no use. Data mining was emerged in the 1980s to address this issue.

Recent trends in Information Technology (IT)

With the change in technology, information technology and its trends keeps on changing. Some of the current trends in the information technology are as follows:

Cloud computing: An internet-based computing, that provides shared data to computers and other devices on demand. Cloud computing reduces IT infrastructure cost of the company, promotes the concept of virtualization, which enables server and storage device to be utilized across the organization. 

Maintenance of software and hardware is also made easier using cloud technology.

Mobile applications: Mobile applications have been a success since its introduction. They can be downloaded from the internet. 

User interface: User interface has revolutionized after the advent of touchscreens. Touch screens enable one to interact directly with the display, thus avoiding any intermediate device. This is used mostly in smartphones, tablets etc.
Analytics: A combination of statistics, computer programming and operations research, analytics helps in discovering the informational patterns with data.

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