Information industry

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The information industry or information industries are industries that are information intensive in one way or the other. It is considered one of the most important economic sectors for a variety of reasons.

An industry is the production of goods or related services within an economy. The major source of revenue of a group or company is the indicator of its relevant industry. When a large group has multiple sources of revenue generation, it is considered to be working in different industries. Manufacturing industry became a key sector of production and labour in European and North American countries during the Industrial Revolution, upsetting previous mercantile and feudal economies. This came through many successive rapid advances in technology, such as the production of steel and coal.

Information that which informs; the answer to a question of some kind; that from which data and knowledge can be derived

Information is associated with data and knowledge, as information is data in context and with meaning attached. Data represents the values attributed to parameters, and knowledge signifies understanding of an abstract or concrete concept. "

Economic sector conceptual grouping of economic activities

One classical breakdown of economic activity distinguishes three sectors:


There are many different kinds of information industries, and many different ways to classify them. Although there is no standard or distinctively better way of organizing those different views, the following section offers a review of what the term "information industry" might entail, and why. Alternative conceptualizations are that of knowledge industry and information-related occupation. The term "information industry" is mostly identified with computer programming, system design, telecommunications, and others.

Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.

Computer programming Process that leads from an original formulation of a computing problem to executable computer programs

Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program for accomplishing a specific computing task. Programming involves tasks such as: analysis, generating algorithms, profiling algorithms' accuracy and resource consumption, and the implementation of algorithms in a chosen programming language. The source code of a program is written in one or more languages that are intelligible to programmers, rather than machine code, which is directly executed by the central processing unit. The purpose of programming is to find a sequence of instructions that will automate the performance of a task on a computer, often for solving a given problem. The process of programming thus often requires expertise in several different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms, and formal logic.

Information products

First, there are companies which produce and sell information in the form of goods or services. Media products such as television programs and movies, published books and periodicals would constitute probably among the most accepted part of what information goods can be. Some information is provided not as a tangible commodity but as a service. Consulting is among the least controversial of this kind. However, even for this category, disagreements can occur due to the vagueness of the term "information." For some, information is knowledge about a subject, something one can use to improve the performance of other activities—it does not include arts and entertainments. For others, information is something that is mentally processed and consumed, either to improve other activities (such as production) or for personal enjoyment; it would include artists and architects. For yet others, information may include anything that has to do with sensation, and therefore information industries may include even such things as restaurant, amusement parks, and prostitution to the extent that food, park ride, and sexual intercourse have to do with senses. In spite of the definitional problems, industries producing information goods and services are called information industries.

Mass media refers to a diverse array of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets.

Television Telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

Information services

Second, there are information processing services. Some services, such as legal services, banking, insurance, computer programming, data processing, testing, and market research, require intensive and intellectual processing of information. Although those services do not necessarily provide information, they often offer expertise in making decisions on behalf of clients. These kinds of service industries can be regarded as an information-intensive part of various industries that is externalized and specialized. [1]

Information processing is the change (processing) of information in any manner detectable by an observer. As such, it is a process that describes everything that happens (changes) in the universe, from the falling of a rock to the printing of a text file from a digital computer system. In the latter case, an information processor is changing the form of presentation of that text file.

Insurance equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.

Data processing is, generally, "the collection and manipulation of items of data to produce meaningful information." In this sense it can be considered a subset of information processing, "the change (processing) of information in any manner detectable by an observer."

Information distribution

Third, there are industries that are vital to the dissemination of the information goods mentioned above. For example, telephone, broadcasting and book retail industries do not produce much information, but their core business is to disseminate information others produced. These industries handle predominantly information and can be distinguished from wholesale or retail industries in general. It is just a coincidence, one can argue, that some of those industries are separately existing from the more obvious information-producing industries. For example, in the United States, as well as some other countries, broadcasting stations produce very limited amount of programs they broadcast. But this is not the only possible form of division of labor. If legal, economic, cultural, and historical circumstances were different, the broadcasters would have been the producers of their own programs. Therefore, in order to capture the information related activities of the economy, it might be a good idea to include this type of industry. These industries show how much of an economy is about information, as opposed to materials. It is useful to differentiate production of valuable information from processing that information in a sophisticated way, from the movement of information.

Telephone Telecommunications device

A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals that are transmitted via cables and other communication channels to another telephone which reproduces the sound to the receiving user.

Broadcasting distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio or visual mass communications medium

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum, in a one-to-many model. Broadcasting began with AM radio, which came into popular use around 1920 with the spread of vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers. Before this, all forms of electronic communication were one-to-one, with the message intended for a single recipient. The term broadcasting evolved from its use as the agricultural method of sowing seeds in a field by casting them broadly about. It was later adopted for describing the widespread distribution of information by printed materials or by telegraph. Examples applying it to "one-to-many" radio transmissions of an individual station to multiple listeners appeared as early as 1898.

Information devices

Fourth, there are manufacturers of information-processing devices that require research and sophisticated decision-making. These products are vital to information-processing activities of above mentioned industries. The products include computers of various levels and many other microelectronic devices, as well as software programs. Printing and copying machines, measurement and recording devices of various kinds, electronic or otherwise, are also in this category. The role of these tools are to automate certain information-processing activities. The use of some of these tools may be very simple (as in the case of some printing), and the processing done by the tools may be very simple (as in copying and some calculations) rather than intellectual and sophisticated. In other words, the specialization of these industries in an economy is neither production of information nor sophisticated decision-making. Instead, this segment serves as an infrastructure for those activities, making production of information and decision-making services will be a lot less efficient. In addition, these industries tend to be "high-tech" or research intensive - trying to find more efficient ways to boost efficiency of information production and sophisticated decision-making. For example, the function of a standard calculator is quite simple and it is easy to how to use it. However, manufacturing a well-functioning standard calculator takes a lot of processes, far more than the task of calculation performed by the users.

Research industries

Fifth, there are very research-intensive industries that do not serve as infrastructure to information-production or sophisticated decision-making. Pharmaceutical, food-processing, some apparel design, and some other "high-tech" industries belong to this type. These products are not exclusively for information production or sophisticated decision-making, although many are helpful. Some services, such as medical examination are in this category as well. One can say these industries involve a great deal of sophisticated decision-making, although that part is combined with manufacturing or "non-informational" activities.


Finally, there are industries that are not research intensive, but serve as infrastructure for information production and sophisticated decision-making. Manufacturing of office furniture would be a good example, although it sometimes involves research in ergonomics and development of new materials.

As stated above, this list of candidates for information industries is not a definitive way of organizing differences that researchers may pay attention to when they define the term. Among the difficulties is, for example, the position of advertising industry.


Information industries are considered important for several reasons. Even among the experts who think industries are important, disagreements may exist regarding which reason to accept and which to reject.

First, information industries is a rapidly growing part of economy. The demand for information goods and services from consumers is increasing. In case of consumers, media including music and motion picture, personal computers, video game-related industries, are among the information industries. In case of businesses, information industries include computer programming, system design, so-called FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) industries, telecommunications, and others. When demand for these industries are growing nationally or internationally, that creates an opportunity for an urban, regional, or national economy to grow rapidly by specializing on these sectors.

Second, information industries are considered to boost innovation and productivity of other industries. An economy with a strong information industry might be a more competitive one than others, other factors being equal.

Third, some believe that the effect of the changing economic structure (or composition of industries within an economy) is related to the broader social change. As information becomes the central part of our economic activities we evolve into an "information society", with an increased role of mass media, digital technologies, and other mediated information in our daily life, leisure activities, social life, work, politics, education, art, and many other aspects of society.

See also

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  1. "IT Support" . Retrieved 25 August 2016.