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Business iii

Interpersonal and E-communication




Communication is essential for the success of any business in a globalized and highly competitive business environment. Profitability also varies with business communication strategies and skills. The advent of telephone, radio and television, film, high-speed printing, xerograph, electronic mail, and desktop publishing in 20th century revolutionised the way individuals and businesses communicates. Advent of video conferencing, multimedia, and internet technologies in 21st century has changed how business operates. A case in point is Qantas Airline, where technology has played a critical role in providing excellent customer experience both inflight and when seeking for information. This paper seeks to discuss how changes in technology in the last 20 years have changed the way business communicates. Secondly, challenges and improvements brought about by technology, particularly with respect to communication, will be analysed. Finally, the impact of the technological changes on the way Qantas Airline operates will be considered.

Change in technology

Over the last 20 years, there have been changes in business communication brought about by advances in technology. Web (2010) asserts that the emergence of internet technology has given rise to new models of business. Additionally, internet technology has brought with it novel ways of working, increased access to information, and innovation in communication. Broadband communication enabled by DSL technology, made internet a valuable tool. The possibility of accessing internet on highly standardised platforms has made it possible for applications such as facebook to be written in a single format as well as being adopted. This is where marketers are directing their marketing strategies in a bid to reach more customers, who are now available in various social media. Through internet technology, a person is able to access internet when mobile via mobile devices such as mobile phones.

The second key technology development is advancement in mobile devices. Various mobile phones including iPhone, Nokia, and numerous other phones have registered an improvement in user interface through touchscreens and software that is more intelligent. Miniaturisation of cameras, expansion of memory sizes, improvement in chip fabrication, and incorporation of several wireless technologies into a single device are just some of the advances in mobile phones. The success of application store in iPhone has revolutionised business model by offering a single platform with flexibility in user interface (Beck, 2009). These changes in application have further influenced the use of a mobile phone. As an example, people who utilize social media such as facebook and twitter increasingly use mobile phone that has been designed to allow users to update their status on social-networking sites. This has increased the attractiveness of WiFi, which provides internet access. Availability of these technologies is an avenue for firms to reduce operation cost as well as deliver services to customers in an efficient manner.

Driving the changes are the technical development in storage space, processing speed, manufacturing cost, denser chips and improvement in display and input devices. Concisely, hard-disc storage on PCs as well as storage in portable devices has been increasing with time. This is why companies and government institutions are replacing paper storage with electronic storage devices to ease access and retrieval. The use of new manufacturing approaches and materials have culminated into development of powerful processors and beautiful touchscreen displays technologies.

As mentioned earlier, internet is the major application driver, which has paved way for online purchasing, targeted advertising, information search, information sharing, and many other business connectivity functions. Previously, online purchase executed by Amazon and other retailers was not trusted because of security concerns. Additionally, it was accompanied by payment and delivery issues. This has however improved as people increased confidence and adaptation of online purchase. Currently, people not only purchase books from online stores but also groceries and thousands of other goods and services. In the areas of information search, clever algorithms were devised to give results that are more useful. This online search has replaced the need to go physically to a library or ask colleagues for access to particular information.

Challenges in communication technology in 21st century

The first challenge captures privacy issues. A copy of messages sent via mobile phone is often stored on a server within the telephone company. These stored messages can be generated at any time by the telephone company. This is also the case with internet communication where intelligence between two parties is maintained by the service provider in a server.

Technology has made communication more distracting because a worker has to respond constantly to emails and texts from communication tools as opposed to concentrating on activities that are more productive. Instant communication for example can be a source of constant interruption where a worker has to respond to questions and messages that are not related to task. In some instances, a worker has to turn off communication device in order to meet strict deadlines.

Thirdly, wireless networks and handheld devices face security threats because intruders can bypass firewall protection to access information system (Lee, 2014). Once the system is accessed, attacks such as denial of service, theft of identity, violation of privacy of legitimate users, and insertion of viruses and malicious code can be launched. It is also imperative to note that communication that is not protected with strong encryption risks interception and disclosure to wrong parties accordingly rendering the company vulnerable. To avoid such incidence, risk assessment must be conducted to understand exposure and the likely impact on business.

Improvements in communication due to technology

Technology has brought about several positive impacts on communication. First, communication has increased the pace of communication. Considering a context where a person has to communicate with an employee who is travelling in another country or is in a different location, technology comes in handy to assist such individuals to communicate instantaneously (Pirouz, 2012). Some companies source suppliers from across the borders. To communicate with these suppliers in a timely manner, email, and text messaging comes into perspective.

Secondly, technologies have expanded communication opportunities (Greer, 2013). This is because technology has presented a platform for individuals to communicate and conduct their businesses without the necessity to meet physically. People located in any point on the globe, whether rural or urban, can now communicate effectively through technology. Through technology, the position of virtual assistant emerged. The incumbent completes tasks without the need to meet with her or his client. Technology has therefore resulted in virtual office for various businesses.

Thirdly, communication has been made deliberate. Even though technology has made communication instantaneous, businesses are required to plan for deliberate communication. Businesses that capitalize on telecommuting and virtual offices are obliged to draw a plan of communicating with individuals in a team scenario to avoid losing direction and to steer the entire organization towards a particular direction.

Case study of Qantas Airline

Innovative software and the advent of mobile computing progressively shape operation in airline industry. Collaborative software and video conferencing, for example, have reduced the need to travel, especially among the business class. The use of latest information communication technology in various facets of Qantas airline is therefore critical for the success of the airline. One of the areas within Qantas that have seen the application of latest communication technology is the external environment with customers. Qantas app for Android allows customers to obtain sale alerts through mobile phone. Through the Android app, customers are notified of destinations and the corresponding price. Moreover, the app presents an opportunity for customers to book flights and hotels, view balance of points, view bookings, and check in, particularly in domestic flights (Qantas Airline Limited, 2014). Other innovative communication applications that are currently being utilized in Qantas airline include the Google Now flight cards, Passbook app, Qantas app for Windows Phone, and Qantas Frequent Flyer iPhone app. The company is further running Red e-Mail that allows subscribers to receive latest flight offers, hotels specials, cruise deals, and travel reviews.

Qantas has installed inflight telecommunication services in all A380, B47-40, and A330-300 aircraft consequently allowing passengers to send and receive text messages, make telephone calls and execute seat-to-seat call from the location of the seating inflight. Messages are sent using inflight telephone handset. A similar tool to in-seat telephone is the personal SITA Satellite Aircom telephone, which connects a friend, family, and business associates around the world.


The discussion above has clearly demonstrated that technology is critical communication tool in the present global business environment. Technology in communication have not only shaped service provision but also improved processes within an organization and government departments. Information search, storage, retrieval, and usage have changed because of technology in the 21st century. The case of Qantas airlines provides insights into the role of communication technology in enhancing service provision in a highly competitive airline industry.

Reference List

Beck, H 2009, Business Communication and Technologies in a Changing World, South Yarra, Vic, Macmillan Education Australia.

Greer, M 2013, 21st Century Leadership: Harnessing Innovation, Accelerating Business Success, Bloomington, iUniverse.

Lee, G 2014, Future Communication Technology (2 Volume Set), Southampton, WIT Press.

Pirouz, A 2012, The Impact of Technology in Business, viewed 25 April 2014, business.

Qantas Airline Limited 2014, Qantas on your mobile, viewed 25 April 2014,

Webb, W 2010, Being Mobile: Future Wireless Technologies and Applications, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.