Social & Economic Issues
The impact of ICT - The Tale of 3 industries
Developments in ICT have had huge impacts on the way businesses are run. Those changes have gathered pace in recent years and show no sign of abating.
Car Industry evolution
The car industry emerged with a bang in the 20th Century. In the beginning a typical car plant was manual labour. This was replaced with automated production lines in an attempt to improve productivity and safety. Current car plants such as Jaguar Landrover in Halewood use robotic machinery with very little manual labour involved. This has improved efficiency, enhanced productivity, cut costs and produced a safer cleaner operating environment. Nevertheless this result has been devastating to many unskilled people who have been left redundant. However, it's not been all bad. Many workers have re-skilled and managed to alter their careers. Despite the emergence of automated car plants, the technology still needs skilled men and women to ensure the machinery works correctly. Programmers, maintenance workers and engineers are all important to this.
"The Internet is here to stay and our shopping habits are only going to become more integrated with the Internet"
The end of the high street
Thousands of businesses have failed in recent years. Overtaken by cheaper and more convenient ways of shopping. Nearly everyone now has access to the Internet in the UK and this has meant more people see internet shopping as the first means of buying and selling goods. Small towns have been affected by this in particular. While many big businesses have adapted to the pressures of e-commerce, some smaller businesses have been unable to react, resulting in many shops being closed. Others have simply downsized their high street presence, using e-commerce as their main avenue of making money. Blockbuster DVD rental store is a prime example of this as is HMV. Consequently many towns are simply left with bargain stores and betting shops. Indeed the shopping experience has changed so much that people are less likely to be seen browsing shops in their local area or purchasing local produce.
The changing face of the music industry
The emergence of the internet has impacted the music industry in many ways. Many users seek illegal ways to download music for free using peer to peer software. The music industry has responded to this and brought about a number of prosecutions. In the last decade companies such as Google and Apple have helped to increase the number of music downloads providing legitimate portals for users to browse and purchase their favourite music at the touch of a button. This has given the public greater access to a wide range of music. Nevertheless, for many it has altered their experience. Visiting independent record stores and browsing for the next big thing is less common place. Other people complain that the laws surrounding digital music never truly allows you to own your purchase in the same way as a CD or album. People in the music industry complain that recent streaming services such as Spotify are killing the profits of new or emerging artists by giving them small returns for each stream.
The Impact of Technology on the Music Industry