2.1 Business and Employment

Business and Employment is one of the largest ITGS topics, and deals with Information Technology in an incredibly wide range of settings. This chapter of the book covers the ITGS syllabus requirements of Traditional Businesses, Online Businesses, and Transportation Businesses. Included is a comprehensive web design section, allowing students to understand the importance of a web presence to modern businesses, and practical activities to apply the techniques they learn about. This chapter links to ITGS syllabus sections including 3.6 Multimedia / Digital Media, 3.7 Databases, 3.8 Spreadsheets, and a wide range of social impacts and ethical issues. The following resources provide support for the book:

Traditional Businesses

  • Employee monitoring
  • Teleworking
  • Mail merge and macros
  • The Internet, intranets, and extranets
  • Supermarket technology
  • Spreadsheets
  • Banking: digital payment

Online Businesses

  • E-commerce
  • E-commerce: C2C
  • Running an online business
  • Consumer data and advertising
  • Web design
  • E-marketing
  • Travel sites
  • Package tracking

Transportation

  • Smart cars
  • Full body scanners
  • Traffic control systems
  • Vehicle tracking
  • Driver monitoring

Business and Employment Resources

ITGS keyword bingo

Lesson resources: Keyword Bingo

Keyword bingo makes a great lesson starter or revision activity. Give students one or two cards containing ITGS database key words, then read out the definitions. Students need to match one of their keywords (not all cards contain all key words). The first student to get all key words wins. This set of cards covers only key terms related to the Hardware and Software chapters of the book. Download: Student cards, teacher clues.
Updated: 2014-10-05

Business and Employment - Traditional Businesses

Cloud computing

Cloud computing

Where are the savings in using GoogleApps? gives examples of the quite significant cost savings that can be made when a large school switches to a cloud computing system such as Google Apps. This BBC Webscape video focuses on cloud computing backup solutions.

However, with Google being notorious for scrapping applications and projects mercilessly, this Guardian article notes that Google's projects have an average life-expectancy of 4 years and asks whether it is a good idea to rely on free cloud infrastructure for business or personal use.

Even Google won't be around for ever, let alone Facebook. What happens to our data then? is an interesting article exploring this concept in more detail and pointing out that many of the services to which we now entrust large amounts of our data are still relatively young companies.

You can also download the cloud computing diagram from page 59 of the book.
Updated: 2014-10-02
Network components

Networking components

This interactive Flash tool from GCSEComputing.org helps students learn the basic components of a network. The software can guide users through the creation of a network step by step, adding client computers, servers, hubs, and routers, or students can freely build and simulate their own network.
Updated: 2014-10-02
Network components

Network components: Hubs, switches, and routers

ITGS students need to know the difference between network hubs, routers, and switches. These two diagrams show how hubs and switches broadcast data, and are from page 69 of the textbook.
Updated: 2014-10-02
Network architecture

Network architecture: LANs and WANs

Diagram from the textbook, showing a Local Area Network (LAN), with a router providing a connection to a Wide Area Network (WAN) - in this case, the Internet (view larger version).
Updated: 2014-10-02
Types of network

Types of network: Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

Diagram of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), showing how remote users can connect to their business' local area network securely through a public network. Taken from page 75 of the book (click for larger version).
Updated: 2014-10-02
IP addresses

Communicating on a network: IP addresses

Diagram from the textbook showing a LAN and WAN, and how public and private IP addressing work.

The Internet Explained (video) also has a good overview of Internet routing and addressing.
Updated: 2014-10-02

Employee monitoring

The following articles are a good introduction to employee monitoring: Is your workplace tracking your computer activities? (HowStuffWorks), Employee Monitoring: It's Not Paranoia - You Really Are Being Watched!, and Employee monitoring: When IT is asked to spy (ComputerWorld).

Harvard Search of E-Mail Stuns Its Faculty Members (NY Times) is a good resource discussing the social impacts and implications of email monitoring.

Employee monitoring can take even more complex approaches: Mind your language (Economist) discusses the use of linguistic analysis software that scans employees' emails looking for key phrases and mood indicators, and identifies employees who may be more likely to commit fraud against the company. IBM's Security Tool (WSJ) performs a similar task. Tesco's have been accused of using electronic armbands to monitor its staff (The Independent) while Amazon's treatment of workers has also been criticised (FT).
Updated: 2014-10-03

Tele-working, Tele-commuting, and Work-Shifting

TeachICT is a good resource which covers the positive and negative impacts of tele-working on various stakeholders, including employers, employees, and their families.

Is teleworking driving us crazy? (BBC) primarily examines the negative social impacts of teleworking.

When going to the office makes you a better dad than working from home (The Atlantic) and The myth of working from home (BBC) both discuss a recent policy changed at Yahoo! that prevents its workers from tele-working.
Updated: 2014-10-03
Internet, Extranet, and Intranet

The Internet, Intranet, and Extranets

"The Global Information Technology Report 2013, the 12th in the series, analyses the impact and influence of ICTs on economic growth and jobs in a hyperconnected world.", and raises ITGS social and ethical issues relating to the Digital Divide and Globalisation.
Updated: 2014-10-03
Supermarket technology

Supermarket technology

How 'point of sale' became much more than a fancy calculator (BBC) describes what goes on 'behind the scenes' in typical retailers such as supermarkets.

In the future payment systems may also change: Supermarket of the Future discusses the use of mobile phones as payment devices, while IBM's Supermarket of the Future video demonstrates how Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology might be used. Wal-Mart, however, cancelled their trial of an RFID 'smart shelf' system before it was even used.

Startup Lets Retail Stores Track Shoppers As Websites Do (MIT) explains how customer tracking is expanding from the online world to 'bricks and mortar' stores. Relatively basic technology such as cameras (albeit hidden in mannequins (NY Times)) or advanced systems that use many different consumer tracking techniques may be used. Various technologies, including customer tracking and electronic tagging have been tried in German supermarkets.

Omo GPS stunt opens doors for marketers is an article detailing an infamous stunt by detergent manufacturer Omo, who included GPS trackers in some products.
Updated: 2014-10-03

Business and Employment - Online Businesses (E-commerce)

Textbook exercise

Exercise 9.22

The web design section of the internal assessment page has useful resources and software for this assignment.
Updated: 2014-10-03
Running an online business

E-Commerce: Running an online business

The Australian government produces the Australian Data Tourism Warehouse (ATDW) for the local tourism industry. The site contains a great deal of useful and practical information about setting up an online business, including hardware and software requirements, costs, and related aspects such as digital marketing. As such, ITGS students may find it a very useful resource to study as part of a Business & Employment or Home & Leisure related case study.
Updated: 2014-10-03
E-Commerce

E-Commerce: Customer-to-Customer (C2C)

Customer to Customer (also known as Consumer-to-Consumer or C2C) e-commerce involves buyers and sellers doing direct business with each other. Although a 'middle-man' company may be present, their task is simply to match the client with the buyer (and perhaps take a cut of the transaction) rather than buy stock and sell it at a mark-up.

The BBC Click video The tech that lets you rent out your bike or car demonstrates one example of a successful C2C system in San Francisco which allows bike and car owners to find people who want to rent them. Airbnb is another example which allows home owners to rent out their rooms - though the New York Times reports that the system may be illegal as it brings local laws on permits and taxation.
Updated: 2014-10-03
How search engines work

How Search Engines Work

Inside Knowledge Graph is an interactive insight into how Google collates information and forms relationships between items to produce better search results.
Updated: 2014-10-03
Targeted advertising

Targeted advertising and consumer data

The collection of customer data and its use for targeted advertising raise a lot of privacy issues. The following news articles give examples of the information companies know about you, and how they acquire it. Data mining also opens the door for less salubrious technologies, such as offering special deals only to certain users (WSJ), and even providing personalised pricing (BBC). How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did (Forbes) is a particularly worrying example of data mining being used to make decisions about a customer.

Other advances - if that is the right word - have enabled companies to match online data with offline activities. Facebook will peer into your grocery bag, for example, explains how supermarket loyalty card data (which is often tied to an email address) can be bought and matched against social network email addresses.

The Wall Street Journal offers these tips to reduce online identity tracking.
Updated: 2014-10-03

Business and Employment - Transportation

Car crash computer model

Car crash models

Car crash models can be used to test the strength of different car designs, the effects of different safety measures, and the potential injuries to passengers and pedestrians. The following new articles and videos cover car crash models from standard road cars to racing cars:
Updated: 2014-10-03
Smart cars

IT Systems in cars: Smart cars

Even if future vehicles still feature human drivers, it is likely they will use technology to greatly enhance drivers' safety and comfort. A future without car crashes? (BBC), Volvo unveils a cyclist anti-collision system (BBC) and Building the crash-proof car (BBC) cover explain crash avoidance technology. Steer-by-wire technology improves stability and safety by processing all steering inputs via a computer.

Cars can also use networks: either to communicate with other cars to prevent accidents (ARS), or to provide passenger entertainment (BBC video).

To improve driver safety, 'drowsiness detectors' can automatic wake a driver who is  nodding off. Mercedes-Benz has added QR codes to their cars to provide essential information to rescue services.

Cars turn to augmented reality (BBC) and Toyota demos augmented-reality-enhanced car windows (CNET) demonstrate how this technology can be used to enhance a driver's awareness and passengers comfort.

Smart cars is closely linked to driverless vehicles. The software page contains examples of potential software reliability problems in vehicles.
Updated: 2014-10-03
Full body scanners

Full body scanners exercise

A recent development in the use of full body scanners (covered on page 216 of the book) is a proposal to deploy the scanners on police vehicles patrolling the streets (Forbes article, video). Organisations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have raised privacy concerns over this technology. A good discussion point would be the extent to which these scanners are acceptable in different contexts: is their use on the streets significantly more or less appropriate than their use in airports?
Updated: 2014-10-05
Traffic control

Traffic control, management and monitoring systems

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a catch-all phrase that covers various technologies for monitoring, controlling, and managing traffic. Traffic Management, Monitoring and Enforcement (Image gallery) offers some basic information on this technology. The article To fight gridlock, a city synchronizes every red light (NY Times) examines a new $400 million Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control system that is being implemented in Los Angeles.

Matthew Somerville has created an excellent real-time map of London Underground trains based on Google Maps and Transport for London data. This is a good example of what can be achieved using open government data. There is also a National Rail map.
Updated: 2014-10-05
Driver vehicle tracking

Driver tracking

Part of the 2013 ITGS Case Study (Red Dragon Taxi Company) includes the study of driver monitoring and tracking technologies.
Updated: 2014-10-05
Distracted driving

Distracted Driving

Distraction caused by technology - whether it is cell phones, tablets, or even Google Glasses - can have serious impacts, which these articles cover: In one case, texting was even implicated in a helicopter crash.
Updated: 2014-10-03