The Information Age (also referred to as the New Media Age, Digital Age, or the Information Age Timeline) is a historical period that began in the late twentieth century, marked by a radical industrial revolution, primarily focused on information technology, which impacted almost every aspect of everyday life. The Information Age began with the development of computers and the subsequent spread of the Internet. The Internet has since grown into the largest and most influential international communication medium, able to connect people from around the world through online portals and information portals. By the twenty-first century, the Information Age had completely transformed the field of information and technology, affecting nearly every facet of our lives. Although we are just beginning to glimpse the ramifications of this shift, it’s important for businesses to be cognizant of the importance of the digital age and what it means for their businesses today.
One of the key trends observed in the digital age timeline is the widespread adoption of mobile devices. This is one of the fastest-growing segments of the global information age. Smartphones, tablet PCs, and other mobile devices have drastically expanded the capacity of personal computers and allowed them to perform on a par with the full functionality of desktop computers. Mobile computing has created a synergy between the desktop and the net, providing a portable and flexible information delivery system.
Another trend observed in the digital age timeline is the adoption of information technology by the general public, replacing earlier reliance on large, expensive personal computer hardware. Smartphones, for example, utilize the same semiconductor technology found in personal computers but have lower power consumption and greater battery longevity. This combination has led to smartphone apps being available for free on many smartphones. In addition to smartphone apps, the digital age also witnessed the widespread adoption of cellular technology. Starting with the entry of wireless carrier AT&T, consumers were able to use their cellular data cards to access online content, surf the web, and send messages.
In addition to cellular communication, another popular trend in the digital age timeline is the adoption of digital cameras. Digital cameras have revolutionized the way people take pictures. Unlike traditional film cameras, digital cameras eliminate the need for film by taking digital photos and storing them on digital media such as memory cards, external hard drives, and compact discs. Digital cameras have provided a convenient, easy, and affordable way for people to capture images. The ability to instantly download images to a computer or to a portable media player has made digital cameras an integral part of the information technology system of today.
The third trend in the information age timeline is the increasing reliance on online content, such as e-books, blog posts, podcasts, and audio podcasts. E-books are a convenient and relatively inexpensive way for people to store and share large amounts of information, regardless of their organizational level and experience. Blogging and podcasting have become mainstays of the information age. Podcasts are an especially useful tool for the information age because they allow people to listen to audio content on a continuous loop, rather than broadcasting their information to a specific audience at a specific time. The primary information source in the information age is the internet, which provides a wealth of opportunities for secondary information sources, such as blogs and podcasts.
Computers, or digital machines, have also become central to the information age. Computers and their components, such as motherboards and processors, have become smaller, more efficient, and faster. Computers are used not only to process information but to also store and deliver it, as well. In the primary articles, this trend refers to the increased use of computers for tasks other than processing information.
The fourth trend in the information age timeline is the development of digital data transfer devices, such as telecommunications modems, optical communication networks, and wireless networks. Telecommunication modems have increased the speed and range of information transmission through networks. Optical communication networks use light waves to transmit digital data. Wireless networks connect computers via wireless modems and physical networks, such as radio frequencies, to allow information to travel rapidly between devices.
The fifth and final trend is the development and integration of digital technology into non-digital devices. Optical devices now communicate with displays and light transistors and resistors. Components such as digital cameras, computer peripherals, and cellular phones have integrated circuit chips. The integration of digital technologies into non-digital devices is often referred to as “eink” (or “e-ink”) technology because it is analogous to the first click of the digital age: the evolution of the personal computer.