ICT is a common term used by many, but many of us don’t know what ICT exactly is? There are many questions floating around but the most important one is- What is the meaning of ICT? In simple words, ICT is an acronym for ‘information communications technology’. People use ICT in different aspects. The most commonly used ones are ICT industry, ICT sector, ICT companies, ICT law (laws like the POPI Act, the ECT Act, and the Cybercrimes Bill), ICT BEE Charter and many more.

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In spite of the varied use the true meaning of ICT is unknown. An acronym drops the use of prepositions like ‘and’ along with the use of commas. This results in ambiguity. According to my knowledge, ICT should stand for ‘Information, Communication and Technology’. ICT is a broad topic. Broad enough to covers various aspects of the acronym. For some people ‘Technology’ part matters, and for others ‘Information’ and ‘Communication’ part holds importance. Just for example, ICT governance does not always concern with governance of technology- like tanks and pipes. But sometimes this phrase refers to the governance of information- water.

What does ICT stand for?

ICT can refer to two things:

  • Information and communication technology
  • Information, communication and technology

These phrases have the same combination of words but they vary a lot in their meaning. Just a simple preposition ‘and’ and a comma has brought a lot of difference in ICT. The second category covers a much broader area than the first one.

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Option 1

You must have heard many people saying that ICT stands for ‘Information and communication technology’. Now lets have a discussion on this topic. It simply mean technology in relation to information and communication. This phrase intends to draw a connection between communication and information. It also establishes that the two main constituents cannot exist without technology.

Option 2

The second phrase- information, communication and technology is a much broader subject. It covers many aspects. Each word in the phrase stands for it’s own. They are not dependent on each other. All three words- Information, Communication and Information have their own separate meaning and individually cover various aspects under themselves. This is what makes it a broader topic.

Another method of determining the true value of ICT is:

Information- In simple words data, both as hardcopy and softcopy.

Communication- With a person, be it over an electronic device like telecommunication or broadcasting.

Information technology (IT)- it is related to software, hardware and electronics

Communications technology- this means protocols, software hardware

The Plumbing Analogy

It is easy to explain everything by drawing an analogy between information system and a plumbing system.

What does a plumbing system consists of?

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Pipes and storage tanks. Water flows through these pipes and is stored in the storage tanks. Similarly in ICT, information technology is the storage tanks and communications technology are the pipes. Information technology stores the information and communication is transmitted to the client through communication technology.

“Information and Communication Technology law” is a book that explores that concept of ICT. Even in the book, the authors refuse to go into depths as to why is ICT an abbreviation of ‘Information and Communication Technology. I may have to disagree here, because I feel that this book explored information law and communication law. This book is way beyond information technology law or communication technology law. The topics maybe compact but the subject is vast. Just like data protection is not merely information technology.

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