Computer technology controls satellites and traffic signals. MP3 players and cellular phones rely on it. When people drive, they depend on a computer to keep their vehicle's engine running properly. Governments use it to streamline services and enhance defense. Even basic television broadcasting now depends on complex computer management to keep things moving. Computer technology permeates the fabric of contemporary life at home, at work and even at play.
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Computer technology provides a number of benefits in terms of fast communication. Instant messaging systems allow users to exchange information in real time without necessitating a call or physically moving to another location. Video conferencing systems enable users to see each other in real-time, regardless of their locations. Email programs provide the opportunity to send personal or professional messages, even legal documents, in a fraction of the time traditional postal services provide.
Computer technology benefits business at every level. Computer technology allows for the automation of numerous manufacturing processes. It provides real-time access to financial markets across the globe, 24 hours a day. A variety of software packages exist that enable companies with multiple warehouses to track total inventory, ordering and sales for the entire company, rather than wait on weekly or monthly hard copy reports. The internet provides a means for businesses to list their full line of products and provide purchase options without catalogs, brick-and-mortar store locations or on-site personnel.
There is an entire sub-discipline in the field of information technology called "health informatics" that focuses on integration of various computer technologies into the medical field. For example, pharmacy informatics streamlines the electronic communication and fulfillment of prescriptions, which reduces risk by cross-checking patient information against their records. Advanced medical imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging, rely on computers to translate the raw data from the equipment into a visual format that doctors use to provide better diagnoses.
Computer technology radically alters the process of travel. Savvy travelers no longer need a travel agent to get to their destination of choice. Online services provide travelers the chance to book tickets, compare prices and even to plan routes for travel by car, all of which reduce costs in time and money. GPS systems, particularly in-vehicle GPS systems, give drivers accurate navigational information as they travel. Some systems provide audio instruction to the driver about when and where to turn, which reduces the odds of getting lost.
The educational benefits of computer technology are manifold. Computers in classroom provide young children the opportunity to learn skills, such as touch-typing, and core types of programs, such as word processing and spreadsheet applications, they will need throughout their careers. The Internet allows users the world over to pursue informal and formal distance learning, ranging from simple how-to videos up to graduate level college degrees.