Multi-purpose devices

Methods used for input to and output from ICT systems vary a lot.

Input and output formats are the different kinds of media that are used to either gather up and collect data and instructions or to display, present or issue the outputs of processing.

Up until recently most media formats required dedicated devices - for example, digital cameras to take digital photographs, scanners to digitise images for use on a computer, or DVD players for video playback - so you needed the correct device in order to work with each media format.

Demonstration of how computer technologies are used in mobile phones

There is now a growing tendency for multi-purpose ICT devices, which is known as convergence. The driving force is the communication power of the internet, and the increasing availability of small high-powered electronic technology. This means that you can now get an all-in-one box that can do the same thing as several different ones did before it. Here are some examples:

  • Combined printers, scanners and photocopiers.
  • Televisions with built-in internet connections and web browsers.
  • Mobile phones that can take photos, record video, access the internet and play back music.
  • Applications that allow phones to do even more things beyond taking photos, videos or running browsers. For example, the phone all-in-one with a camera allows you to take pictures, but an app will allow you to edit it, add a filter and send it overseas for free.

Find out more about the power of the internet in the networks and communications section.