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MIS Course "Home of the Power of Technology"

Chapter 6
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Chapter 6 Summary:
 
  • Telecommunications

         Is the exchange of information in any form   (voice,data,text,images,audio, video) over computer-based networks

  • Telecommunications Trends. Organizations are becoming networked enterprises that use the Internet, intranets, and other telecommunications networks to support business operations and collaboration within the enterprise, and with their customers, suppliers, and other business partners. Telecommunications has entered a deregulated and fiercely competitive environment with many vendors, carriers, and services. Telecommunications technology is moving toward open, internetworked digital networks for voice, data, video, and multimedia. A major trend is the pervasive use of the Internet and its technologies to build interconnected enterprise and global networks, like intranets and extranets, to support enterprise collaboration, electronic commerce, and other e-business applications.
  • The Internet Revolution. The explosive growth of the Internet and the use of its enabling technologies have revolutionized computing and telecommunications. The Internet has become the key platform for a rapidly expanding list of information and entertainment services and business applications, including enterprise collaboration, electronic commerce, and other e-business systems. Open systems with unrestricted connectivity using Internet technologies are the primary telecommunications technology drivers in e-business systems. Their primary goal is to promote easy and secure access by business professionals and consumers to the resources of the Internet, enterprise intranets, and interorganizational extranets.
  • The Business Value of the Internet. Companies are deriving strategic business value from the Internet, which enables them to disseminate information globally, communicate and trade interactively with customized information and services for individual customers, and foster collaboration of people and integration of business processes within the enterprise and with business partners. These capabilities allow them to generate cost savings from using Internet technologies, revenue increases from electronic commerce, and better customer service and relationships through better supply chain management and customer relationship management.
  • The Role of Intranets. Businesses are installing and extending intranets throughout their organizations (1) to improve communications and collaboration among individuals and teams within the enterprise; (2) to publish and share valuable business information easily, inexpensively, and effectively via enterprise information portals and intranet websites and other intranet services; and (3) to develop and deploy critical applications to support business operations and decision making.
  • The Role of Extranets. The primary role of extranets is to link the intranet resources of a company to the intranets of its customers, suppliers, and other business partners. Extranets can also provide access to operational company databases and legacy systems to business partners. Thus, extranets provide significant business value by facilitating and strengthening the business relationships of a company with customers and suppliers, improving collaboration with its business partners, and enabling the development of new kinds of Web-based service for its customers, suppliers, and others.
  • Telecommunications Networks. The major generic components of any telecommunications network are (1) terminals, (2) telecommunications processors, (3) communications channels, (4) computers, and (5) telecommunications software. There are several basic types of telecommunications networks, including wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs). Most WANs and LANs are interconnected using client/server, network computing, peer-to-peer, and Internet networking technologies.
  • Network Alternatives. Key telecommunications network alternatives and components are summarized in Figure 6.11 for telecommunications media, processors, software, channels, and network architectures. A basic understanding of these major alternatives will help business end users participate effectively in decisions involving telecommunications issues. Telecommunications processors include modems, multiplexers, internetwork processors, and various devices to help interconnect and enhance the capacity and efficiency of telecommunications channels. Telecommunications networks use such media as twisted-pair wire, coaxial cables, fiber-optic cables, terrestrial microwave, communications satellites, cellular and PCS systems, wireless LANs, and other wireless technologies. Telecommunications software, such as network operating systems and telecommunications monitors, controls and manages the communications activity in a telecommunications network.



Chapter 6: Telecommunications and Networks

 

1.      The Internet is a driving force behind developments in telecommunications, networks, and other information technologies.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

 

By all industry accounts, this statement is very accurate.  In order to remain competitive in domestic and global markets, businesses will become even more reliant on technology as we enter the 21century.  Businesses are pushing for developments in technology, which will enable them to gather and disseminate information at greater speeds.  Technology is crucial for accurate decision-making, and this demand will definitely drive developments in these technologies.

                                      

2.      How is the trend toward open systems, connectivity, and interoperability related to business use of the Internet, intranets, and extranets?

 

As more businesses become dependent on the use of the Internet, intranets, and extranets in computing and telecommunications, the industry will strive to move closer towards achieving open systems which use common standards for hardware, software, applications, and networking.  This computing environment will enable businesses to easily establish connectivity within their own organizations, as well as enable them to communicate with others outside the organization.   Open systems will enable the many different applications of end users to be accomplished using the different varieties of computer systems, software packages, and databases provided by a variety of interconnected networks.

 

3.      Refer to the Real World Case on Celanese Chemicals and Others in the chapter. What are some of the major challenges limiting the widespread use of wireless technologies in many business applications? What can be done to meet such challenges?

 

      Challenges limiting the use of wireless technologies would include:

         Security – encryption and authentication development through Handheld Device Markup Language and determining which functions will be offered on each type of device based on security concerns.

         Poor economy – wait until the economy improves

         High cost of RFID (radion frequency identification) – cost is slowly being reduced thus making it increasingly affordable.

         Complicated supply chains – as the technology becomes more affordable and larger competitors make use of the technology others will be forced to adopt the wireless technologies.

 

4.             How will wireless information appliances and services affect the business use of the Internet and the Web?  Explain. 

 

The growing trend in technology is in the area of wireless information appliances and services which individuals are able to use from anywhere and at any time.  This trend will continue to grow as technology improvements are made to appliances, which use wireless technology.  For example, we now have wireless keyboards and wireless mice.  We have experiences a tremendous increase in the use of cellular and PCS telephone and pager systems.  This technology is used to support mobile phone service, mobile voice and data communications.  Wireless technology is also being used to connect local area networks through the use of radio and infrared transmissions.   As more people experience the mobility that wireless appliances offer, and as they work situations require access to information and data form anywhere, wireless technology will definitely affect the business use of the Internet and the Web.

 

5.      What are the business benefits and management problems of client/server networks?  Network computing?  Peer-to-peer networks?

 

Benefits of client/server computing include:

         Clients (end users) can perform some or most of the processing of their business applications.

         LAN servers can share application processing, manage work group collaboration, and control common hardware, software, and databases.

         Data can be completely processed locally, where most input and output must be handled.

         Provides access to the workstations and servers in other networks.

         Computer processing is more tailored to the needs of the end users.

         Increases information processing efficiency and effectiveness, as users are more responsible for their own application systems.

         Allows large central-site computers to handle the jobs they do best - such as high-volume transaction processing, communications network security and control, and maintenance and control of large corporate databases.

         Clients at local sites can access the corporate superservers to receive corporate wide management information or transmit summary transaction data reflecting local site activities.

 

Management Problems:

As computing power becomes distributed and interconnected throughout organizations by networked computer systems taking the form of client/server networks, management issues will increase.  Problems such as the protection, access, and control of corporate data from within and outside the organization will increase dramatically.

 

Benefits of network computing include:

         Many of the benefits listed above for client/server computing can also be included in this answer.

         Communications, distance education, distributed computing, e-commerce, email, information processing, telecommuting are a few of the benefits that can be listed.

 

Management Problems:

 

Security and privacy issues are a major challenge.

 

Benefits of peer-to-peer computing include:

         Peer-to-peer is a network architecture that gives equal power to all computers on the network; used primarily in small networks.

         P2P is a form of distributed processing, where individual computers can share data, disk space, and even processing power for a variety of tasks when computers can share data, disk space, and even processing power for a variety of tasks when they are lined in a network, including the Internet.

         P2P computing puts processing power back on users’ desktops, linking these computers so that they can share files or processing tasks.

         P2P involves two distinct types of technology: the sharing of digital files and data between two separate computers, and the sharing of different CPU cycles.

         The P2P model stands in contrast to the network computing model because processing power resides only individual desktops, and these computers work together without a server or any central controlling authority.

         It has been estimated that most companies and individuals – use less than 25 percent of their processing and storage capacity.  P3P computing tabs the unused disk space or processing power on PC or workstation networks for large computing tasks that can now only be performed by large expensive server computers or even supercomputers. 

 

Management Problems:

The lack of a central authority is what landed Napster in court.  This could also pose a major threat for any company were there is major concern for copyright infringements.  

 

6.      What is the business value driving so many companies to rapidly install and extend intranets throughout their organizations? 

 

The business value driving so many companies to rapidly install and extend intranets and enterprise information portals throughout their organizations is the ability to communicate, collaboration, and coordinate with others.  Business value includes cost reductions, increased revenues, creating closer connections with their customers and suppliers. ROI on investment in this technology is quickly realized.  Access to accurate, instant, and readily available data is crucial for all businesses today.  e-commerce applications have enabled companies to derive business value by generating new revenue sources, reduce costs of doing business, develop new web-based products, increase customer loyalty and retention, attract new customers, and develop new markets and channels.

 

7.      What strategic competitive benefits do you see in a company’s use of extranets?

 

Students’ answers will vary.  Strategic competitive benefits of a company’s use of extranets can include: lower costs, enhance interactive marketing with customers, suppliers and distributors, enable better and more innovative development of products and services, build strategic alliances with suppliers, and leverage partnerships.  Companies may use extranets to differentiate themselves from their competitors through innovative use of this type of technology, thus would be able to establish a competitive advantage. 

 

8.      Refer to the Real World Case on Con-Way NOW and Trimble Navigation in the chapter. What is the business value of several other business uses for communications satellites not mentioned in this case? Check out the websites of satellite services providers like Hughes Network Systems (www.hns.com) or G-Com International (www.g-com.com) to help you answer.

 

Other business uses would include:

         Provide better customer service and at reduced costs in industries such as the resort industry by reducing delays in check-in and check-out services through transportation to/from transportation terminals for airports, rail, etc.

         Provide better client service and at reduced costs in industries such as public utilities by reducing delays in repair and emergency services.

         Establish fast, convenient services that lock in customers and supplies in many industries such as health care, utilities, hotel-tourism, etc.

         Reduce costs of business meetings in most industries by allowing customers, suppliers,, and employees to collaborate and thus enhancing decisions to be made.

 

9.      Do you think that business use of the Internet, intranets, and extranets has changed what businesspeople expect from information technology in their jobs? Explain.

 

Technology continues to grow at a rapid pace, and the business use of technology such as the Internet, intranets, and extranets has also continued to grow.  Certainly business people expect more from information technology in order to do their jobs.  For example, businesses have become extremely dependent on these technologies in order to conduct business in the global environment and fast-changing global market.  Business people expect to be able to access all kinds of information that enables them to complete their job requirements faster and with more accuracy than what was ever possible before.   They want to be able to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with others like never before.

 

10.     The insatiable demand for everything wireless, video, and Web-enabled everywhere will be the driving force behind developments in telecommunications, networking, and computing technologies for the foreseeable future.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

 

There is no doubt that the insatiable demand for everything wireless is a growth area.  Bluetooth technology is a prime example of how and where companies are expanding in the development for wireless appliances.  Competition is fierce, and companies are using any type of technology in order to tap markets, and stay abreast with the demands of their customers, suppliers, channel members, and even their competitors.  Demand for wireless is expected to grow at a rapid pace in order to accommodate the demands of the “man on the move” concept.  Wireless access to the Internet, intranets, and extranets is growing as more Web-enabled information appliances proliferate. 

 

Smart telephones, pagers, PDSs, and other portable communications devices have become very thin clients in wireless networks.  Agreement on a standard wireless application protocol (WAP) has encouraged the development of many wireless Web applications and services. Telecommunications industry continues to work on third generation (3G) wireless technologies whose goal is to raise wireless transmission speeds to enable streaming video and multimedia applications on mobile devices. WAP standard specifies how Web pages in HTML or XML are translated into a wireless markup language (WML) by filter software and pre-processed by proxy software to prepare the Web pages for wireless transmission from a Web server to a Web-enabled wireless device.


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