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Electronic communication

Source Text: Electronic Document Preparation & Management for CSEC by Ann Margaret Jacob & Agatha Augustine, published by Nelson Thornes.

Electronic communication is the transmission of information that has been transformed to digital code, usually by a computer. The forms of electronic communication include teleconferencing, videoconferencing, electronic mail and facsimile. Telecommuting is the arrangement in which an employee uses information and communication technology such as the telephone, computer and the Internet to work from home or another location instead of being physically present in the workplace. Many businesses have virtual offices to which employees report for work via the Internet. Sometimes it is not practical or affordable for persons to meet face-to-face. Teleconferencing makes use of telecommunications technology to allow participants in two or more locations to speak with each other. A teleconference is a group call, using telephone or computers, in which all participants are able to speak with each other. Teleconferencing saves time and money because participants do not have to travel to meet. It permits very large groups to interact without requiring extensive physical accommodation. Participants in a teleconference must speak slowly and distinctly to ensure that all persons understand what is being said. This is particularly important if participants speak with different accents. Equipment failure or technical difficulties may adversely affect the quality of teleconferences. Videoconferencing allows users in distant locations to see each other. The development of PC cameras and related software make video-conferencing increasingly common. Each participant in a videoconference has a microphone, speakers and a video camera attached to a computer. Voices and images are transmitted to each computer. Video conferencing has all the advantages of teleconferencing, plus a few more. It is possible to share visual information such as PowerPoint slides. Non-verbal messages such as gestures and facial expressions can be communicated. Participants find it more interesting to be able to see as well as hear each other.

Online meetings allow computer users to use the Internet to create a chat room in which they can exchange typed messages instantaneously in a written conversation. The messages may be saved on the computer or printed to provide a permanent record of was written. Alternatively, individual text messages may be sent instantaneously by using cellular telephones, the Internet or the organizations internal computer network.