Information and communications technology (ICT) is often used as an extended synonym for information technology (IT), but is a more specific term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
The phrase ICT had been used by academic researchers since the 1980s but it became popular after it was used in a report to the UK government by Dennis Stevenson in 1997 and in the revised National Curriculum for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2000. As of September 2013, the term "ICT" in the UK National Curriculum has been replaced by the broader term "computing".
The term ICT is now also used to refer to the convergence of audio-visual and telephone networks with computer networks through a single cabling or link system. There are large economic incentives (huge cost savings due to elimination of the telephone network) to merge the audio-visual, building management and telephone network with the computer network system using a single unified system of cabling, signal distribution and management.
The term Infocommunications is sometimes used interchangeably with ICT. In fact Infocommunications is the expansion of telecommunications with information processing and content handling functions on a common digital technology base. For a comparison of these and other terms, see