What is Communications Technology?

Broadly speaking, the term ‘communications technology’ can refer to any technology that allows its users to communicate with one another. Using this (admittedly loose) definition, two-way radios and mobile phones fall into the category of ‘communications technology’.

The term also refers to computers and computer-related work. Here in the UK, schoolchildren study a subject called ‘ICT‘ this stands for ‘Information and Technology’ (although when this rapidly ageing writer was at school, it was known simply as ‘IT’ or, ‘Information Technology’).

As the Internet has become a more and more prevalent part of our society, communications over longer distances have become significantly easier. In fact, such communications are easier now than at any other time in Human history. Ergo, it stands to reason that computers should be considered as a prime form of communications technology.

communications technologyBasic, everyday acts such as checking your emails, updating your Facebook or Twitter feed, answering the phone, or taking Skype calls are all a part of ‘communications technology’ as are the two-way radios used by public transport, security firms and the emergency services.

A person who makes a living by working with ‘comms tech’ is likely involved in the designing, creating, implementing or maintaining of communicational systems. Such systems can include radio networks, mobile phone providers, telephone companies, even television. It is a broad and ever-expanding field, which makes it difficult to ascertain exactly what a person actually does if they list it as their job title.

When somebody tells you that they are a plumber, for example, you get a broad idea of what they do for a living all day. If I tell you that I am a professional copywriter, you at least have some notion as to what that entails. A person who works in the field of ‘comm tech’ could be doing almost anything.

In case you’re wondering, the Internet itself can be considered as a communication technology, given that any person who uploads videos or writes blogs is communicating the very second that those blogs are read or those videos are watched.

Telecom’s is a huge field and, as I think you’ll agree, a pretty important one. Without the ability to communicate with others, either via short distances on your mobile or much longer distances (such as the distance between our office in the UK and your home on the African continent), this world would be a vastly different place.

Effective Communication, What is it?

Effective communication is a somewhat esoteric concept that is frequently applied to business management. It can, however, easily apply to our personal lives as well.

Put simply, effective communication aims at improving our understanding of the emotional content (*taps head and does a bad Bruce Lee impersonation) behind any given information. Theoretically, this understanding makes us more empathic and thus better able to relate to our spouses, co-workers, employers and friends.

effective communicationsEffective communication, then, aims at fostering a deeper understanding between communicators, by creating a stronger emotional resonance.

Experts in the subject maintain that the first step towards becoming a more effective communicator (should you wish to, of course) is to become a better listener. You can do this by fully focusing on the speaker (as opposed to being distracted, or deliberately distracting yourself), not interrupting them and openly demonstrating an interest in what the speaker has to say.

The next step, maintains that the use of open body language (e.g. not crossing your arms) and emphasizing a point via your body (such as tapping your head to indicate thinking ahead) is also very important to effective communication.

Step three is to focus on and thus better manage, your stress. A stressed person, even if their outward demeanour seems pleasant enough, gives off a lot of anxiety, from body language to posture, so it is best to deal with your anxieties privately before dealing with others (where possible).

Of course, effective communication is largely emotion-centric as a concept and so the final point brought up by the article is to improve your own emotional awareness. Essentially, this is the understanding of yourself and what makes you tick. It sounds obvious, even easy, but the truth is that most of us don’t have a clue. If you find yourself entrenched in petty squabbles or constant bickering with your friends, spouse, family or colleagues, then there is a good chance that there is something deeper that is bothering you. With a greater emotional understanding of yourself, not only will you be able to avoid potentially stress-inducing situations, but you should also be able to recognize patterns in others that you have seen in yourself, allowing you to become more empathic and, ultimately, a better communicator.

Essentially, effective communication is all about communicating effectively. It is about improving your understanding of yourself and others around you, in order to live and work with other in a more harmonious way. 

What’s is the Best Bluetooth Headset for Jogging?

Asked by Hiromi in Osaka

Hi Hiromi, How’s life in Japan? I’d love to visit one day, but until then, here’s your answer…

It all depends on how much you sweat. Yes, I know that’s a little bit indelicate of me, but unfortunately it happens to be true. I’ve read many, many customer reviews of otherwise fine and good headsets that claim to be designed for joggers, but that conk out the first time they get significantly wet…

Headsets designed for jogging are often created so that they won’t fall out of your ears as you run, with almost no concern placed on how much you may sweat during the run. Some people sweat a lot and some sweat very little. In either instance, your sweat level needs to be a factor in your purchasing decision (and there’s no nicer way to say it than that!)

Then, another factor to consider is how much the headset will isolate you from your surroundings as you run. Noise cancellation headsets might do a superlative job if you’re running past a noisy construction site, but they aren’t going to be much help in the wake of oncoming traffic. Again, it comes down to individual choice. Some runners subscribe to the Linford Christie ‘bullet from a gun’ mentality, whilst others simply enjoy a bit of exercise, but also like to stay aware of what’s going on around them.

It is also misleading to assume that a branded headset from a sportswear manufacturer is in any way superior to one designed by a trusted electronics firm. In many/most instances, the opposite is actually true.

Sadly, even so called ‘sweat resistant’ headsets are often anything but and there isn’t a lot you can actually do to get your money back. Your best bet, if you ask me, is to buy a mid-range headset, use it specifically for jogging/going to the gym and don’t expect it to last for very long. If it performs badly, chalk it up to experience and buy a different headset, if it lasts for a decent period of time, then replace it with a similar model, or else the same one again.

I’ll be honest; every so often I get one of these questions that I find hard to answer, as no amount of research will really help. Type in the name of any ‘Bluetooth Headset for Jogging’ into Amazon (or whatever the Japanese equivalent of Amazon may be) and you’ll read just as many complaints in the reviews as praises.

Due to this, I’m reluctant to name specific models, because they may not actually work for you. I’d hate to say, “Oh, this headset works really well”, only to have you write back “Does it b*llocks!”. I have personally reviewed several pairs of headphones online (which you can view by clicking HERE), but not any Bluetooth headsets (to the best of my recollection), so I’m afraid that’s all the advice I can give you on this one!

How does an aeroplane’s ‘black box’ work?

After doing a little research, I can now tell you (basically) everything you ever wanted to know about black boxes…

In the average commercial aircraft, you’ll find the presence of multiple (usually four) microphones in the cockpit at any given time. They are located in the pilot and co-pilot’s headsets, as well as in the cockpit itself. Not only do these microphones record conversations between the pilots and cabin crew, they also record any ambient noise (such as switches being thrown or sounds generated by technical issues). The microphones all connect to the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), a master unit that stores the last 30 minutes of sound. The tape operates on a loop, essentially erasing itself every half hour. Continue reading