ICT - Information and Communications Technologies


ICT is an umbrella term, widely used outside the U.S., to encompass all rapidly emerging, evolving and converging computer, software, networking, telecommunications, Internet, programming and information systems technologies.

Historically, many of these fields developed separately, in different companies, departments and R&D groups, and at different times. With rapid improvements in computer processing power, networking technology advances, programming interface improvements, widespread adoption of Internet Protocols, integration into organizational strategic operations, and improved workforce and user competencies, however, these fields are rapidly converging.

Equipment is converging into ever fewer devices. Previously separate networks are converging. Previously separate organizational departments are converging into single operations.

In the U.S., these trends are often referred to as "convergence." In much of the rest of the world, all of these technologies are grouped together under a single descriptive term, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

The United Nations, for example, uses ICT in its Global Alliance for ICT and Development, a global forum and platform for policy development, Information and Communications Technologies Task Force and UNESCO.


The European Union uses the term ICT, for example in its ICT for Competitiveness and Innovation, which conducts research and develops policy recommendations, and at CORDIS, for strategic R&D. EU foreign aid efforts focus on ICT in Latin America, India, Africa, China, and the rest of the world.


ICT is used in Australia, for example, by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), its national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. Also using the ICT term are New Zealand, much of Africa, Canada, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Bank. The term ICT is emerging as global standard terminology.

Curiously, ICT is currently rarely used or recognized in the U.S. The Mid-Pacific ICT Center has adopted the term and is championing its use as a global standard in the U.S. In a global knowledge economy, dependent on ICT, we should have a common framework.