Sunday, 16 September 2012

Online Services

Online Services
Communication- There are ever-increasing ways of communication online. Whether it’s instant messaging, or the variety of social media services, such as blogs, wikis, social networking  sites (Facebook, Twitter etc.) or shared content sites (Forums, Skype etc.). You now have several ways of communicating and sharing information with each other. But, one of the most recent ways of communication is through mobile phones. Over time as technology has adapted and increased, the mobile phone has now allowed access to the internet, which has opened the gate to a whole new form of communication. My main experience of ‘communication’ online is through: Facebook; instant messaging and my mobile phone- which I can use on the internet or through SMS.
Facebook- Facebook is a social networking service launched in February 2004, owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. Facebook has over 955 million active user, with having more than half of those being on a mobile device. Social network can be good; however there is a negative aspect to it.
· Can keep in touch with friends and family via the internet. Making arrangements and building bonds between you and those you may not have seen for a while, or sustaining good friendships with others.
· The sites are interactive and allow you to upload pictures, videos, send and receive mail and interactively talk through chat windows.
· There is no cultural divide and you can get to know all kinds of people
· Social Networking sites can be used as tools to promote businesses, products, services and websites. Social Networks are so popular and many use them to advertise.
· The worst threat is identity theft or fraud. The information entered on to social networking sites can be used by dubious people for illegal activity. If email addresses, address, phone numbers, and age are found out, this can be used to commit other crime.
· Many people pretend to be someone they are not and create false profiles with wrong information. If you don’t know the person face to face, it is hard to identify who they are, and this can lead to a lot of trouble.
· Stalking and Harassment is a big problem within the social networking world. Cyber Bullying can happen and be severely hurtful towards the person getting bullied. Paedophiles can look through young peoples profiles depending on the chosen security settings and all kinds of information can be taken.  

 E-commerce- Is also known as “Electric Commerce”, and it is the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the ‘Internet’ and other computer networks. E-commerce draws on such technologies such as electronic funds transfer (banking and bill paying), Internet marketing (online shopping), online transaction processing (transactional websites), supply chain management, electronic data interchange (EDI). Modern e-commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at one point in the transaction’s life-cycle.  Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of business transactions. My experience of ‘e-commerce’ is only through online shopping, when wanting to buy new clothes or some form of technology. This is the case because I am not old enough to have to pay bills, and I do not do any of my banking online as I find it easier to do that at my local Santander branch.
·         E-commerce can be divided into:
 E-tailing or "virtual storefronts" on Web sites with online catalogues, sometimes gathered into a "virtual mall".
The gathering and use of demographic data through Web contacts.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the business-to-business exchange of data.
E-mail and fax and their use as media for reaching prospects and established customers (for example, with newsletters).
Business-to-business buying and selling.     
The security of business transactions.

The main benefits of e-Commerce are:
· No time limit on browsing– eCommerce offers 24 hour access to websites and transactional websites. Compared to the limited hours in a store, online shopping websites give the opportunity and freedom for browsing all hours of the day and depending when the product is ordered, same day delivery may be offered.
· Saves petrol costs– Whether it is from home, at work or even on the train,
no petrol expense is needed to access a store; this often saves costs of car
parks too.
· Bargaining Power– Depending on what transactional website is used, bargaining power can become a advantage of e-Commerce. On websites such as ‘eBay’, bargains are always obtainable.
· Reviews on products can be posted– Other online customers, leave their opinions and views about a product and the service given. It can help a person decide if they want to purchase and item.
· Rival Competition forces better deals– The online market and stores have constant rivalry in beating each other in prices and popularity. To a customer this means the prices are lowed and deals are commonplace
· Internet increases commoditization– Which means that bigger brands and
unique products can end up to be priced cheaply and like an average product.

The main disadvantages of e-Commerce are:
· Security– With the internet being swamped with hackers and viruses, it is sceptical as to whether details entered into online stores will be safe. This is the main problem that causes online stores to lose a lot of its business.
· Waiting time for delivery– Depending on when the product was ordered it can take a long time for delivery. If weather conditions are bad like before Christmas in my area a lot of back log can build and lead to delivery taking up to around 3 weeks.
· Scam/Phishing, i.e. fake websites– Emails can be sent to users from fake
websites asking them to enter details that can then be used to steal someone’s
identity or bank details.
· Viewing of product– No first hand contact with product until bought and
· Delivery charges can be extremely expensive for the service that is provided, the average amount is around £3.50 which makes a customer wonder if it is worth using the online service

Education- E-learning includes all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching  programs and websites. The information and communication systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. Forms of these systems involve ‘MyMaths’ which is a virtual learning site for students studying maths at lower level and GCSE, and maths and statistics and GCSE and A-level. There are plenty more sites which help with the education of people such as, Sam learning and BBC Bitesize, which both help in the education of a wide variety of subjects, from all different types of learning levels and abilities. However BBC Bitesize is the most nationally known e-learning website as it has help hundreds of thousand students each year with their learning and revision for all types of subjects. From my personal experience I know that e-learning or educational websites have helped me massively with my education in a variety of subjects, especially when it came for me to revise my subjects for my GCSE examinations.

 Entertainment- By the term 'Entertainment in the information age' it would be assumed that this means internet services like Mp3 music downloads, but it doesn't. Entertainment can be anything from Television to the Gaming industry which is largely expanding at a rapid speed to foresee the needs the public expect within technology and entertainment. Looking into the technology available, it will be clear to see how dependant we are on computing within the world today. Online entertainment or Online social entertainment blends entertaining interactive functionality and content including live video streaming, video chat communications, multi-player gaming, music and videos streaming, with social network service such as social graph management, forums, reviews, ratings, and geo-locations options. Online entertainment is such a key aspect of online services in today’s society due to the huge increase in technology, which has therefore been able to support the high need these entertainment systems have to have.  Social entertainment is distinct from social networking websites in that it is based fundamentally on immersive engaging experiences. Typically, social entertainment is defined by the individual sites dedicated to a particular type of entertainment experience involving basic social networking services.  From my own personal experiences, online entertainment has been a key part of my life as it has been a way for me to relax and have some fun after doing my school work. The main entertainment formats I would use would be: Television; online gaming and using online video/music players such as YouTube and Spotify.
· It offers interactive fun for families to ‘come together’ and enjoy the features of gaming, often with physical aspects
· Games help children who are ill or have injury’s because it distracts the mind from pain or discomfort
· Many medical departments use games as a physiotherapy and to help the people gain back co-ordination and improve general skills
· Games induce decision and encourage people to think on their feet
· Many games improve English and mathematic skills
· Prone to enhance creativity
· People can become addicting to gaming and this is seriously unhealthy
· They seclude themselves from the public, and general society resulting in a low self esteem
· It is known that gaming turns people aggressive and can have a negative impact on school work
· Gaming excessively can lead to medical conditions such as sore joints

 Real-Time Information- Real-time data denotes information that is delivered immediately after collection. There is no delay in the timeliness of the information provided. Real-time data is often used for navigation or tracking. Examples of Real-Time Information are: weather forecasts; traffic updates; news feeds; booking information; airline information; GPS and parcel tracking. All of these incorporate the key aspects of Real-Time Information as they deliver the information straight away after it has been given to them. If it wasn’t for these, then it would be much harder to know what was happening in the world, which therefore could leave many people frustrated; especially if trying to find about traffic delays or airplane times etc. From my own personal experiences, Real-Time Information has been very useful, especially from the news feed front, as I like to know what is happening around the world- and with this it has made my life a lot easier. One of the great changes made by the internet is the possibility of having really up-to-date information available on demand. There are a growing number of such services. Some of these are provided as a part of public service remit, but a growing area is for sites that provide information on the web, and so reduce the demand for providing such information over the phone or face to face. The costs savings can fund the website.

Downloading- In computer networks, to download means to receive data to a local system from a remote system, or to initiate such a data transfer. Examples of a remote system from which a download might be performed include a web server, FTP server, email server, or other similar systems.  The use of the terms uploading and downloading often imply that the data sent or received is to be stored permanently, or at least stored more than temporarily. In contrast, the term downloading is distinguished from the related concept of streaming, which implies that the receiving of data that is used near immediately as it is received, while the transmission is still in progress and which may not be stored long-term, whereas in a process described using the term downloading. Increasingly, websites that offer streaming media or media displayed in-browser, such as YouTube, and which place restrictions on the ability of users to save these materials to their computers after they have been received, say that downloading is not permitted.  In this context, download implies specifically "receive and save" instead of simply "receive". However, it is also important to note that downloading is not the same as "transferring". From my own personal experiences of download, it has been a key way to activate a more streamline way of accessing files from a “click of a button”.

E-Government- E-Government is digital interactions between a government and citizens (G2C), government and businesses/Commerce (G2B), government and employees (G2E), and also between government and governments /agencies (G2G). Essentially, the e-Government delivery models can be briefly summed up as:  
  • G2C (Government to Citizens)
  •   G2B (Government to Businesses)
  • G2E (Government to Employees)
  • G2G (Government to Governments)
  •   C2G (Citizens to Governments)
E-government describes the use of technologies to facilitate the operation of government and the disbandment of government information and services. E-government, short for electronic government, deals heavily with Internet and non-internet applications to aid in governments. E-government includes the use of electronics in government as large-scale as the use of telephones and fax machines, as well as surveillance systems, tracking systems such as RFID tags, and even the use of television and radios to provide government-related information and services to the citizens.

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