Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Why is it Important???

Business in much of world depends on database technology. For example:

Finance: the UK clearing banks have calculated that if their database systems were removed it would take every person in UK working 24 hours per day 7 days per week to process all the financial transactions manually. The London stock exchange relies on computer systems for recording buying and selling of stock which happens very quickly and in large quantities. The amount of money involved in these transactions is enormous.

Transport: The airlines all use online seat reservation systems and have systems for scheduling aircraft, for building and maintaining timetables, for handling the in-flight catering and for mechanical servicing of the planes. Similar systems exist for rail, sea and road transport. They all use database technology extensively.

Utilities: the major utilities (water, electricity, gas) all have generation / distribution systems based on database technology.

Resources: The mineral exploration / extraction companies, and governments who regulate them (especially for oil exploration / extraction) have extensive databases which have complex data structures (usually including GIS (geographical information system) components.

Production engineering: from scheduling workflow through the production lines of machines to stock control and order processing, database technology underpins all activity in this area.

Environment: protection and control of the environment by government agencies depends heavily on database systems with GIS facilities, together with databases of toxic substances and clean-up recommendations.

Tourism: hotel systems and local tourist attractions information and booking facilities rely on database systems, and the major package tour operators have extensive databases for holiday planning and booking, together with financial systems for payment and invoicing.

Leisure: the entertainment industry uses database systems extensively for theatre, concert and cinema ticket bookings.

Culture: museums, art galleries, history exhibitions -all utilise database technology (and especially multimedia database technology) for cataloguing their collections and recording access to them.

Education: courses, materials, and assessment all rely heavily on database technology in all sectors of education. Increasingly the linking of database technology with hypermedia delivery systems allows courseware to be maintained up-to-date and delivered to the consumer.

Healthcare: primary healthcare has long relied on database technology to schedule hospital beds or appointments at clinics. The patient health record has been the subject of intensive study (and R&D resources) over many years because of its complexity of structure, content and media and also because of the security and privacy issues. Epidemiology utilises database technology to hold and organise key information from many patients in order to allow statistical processing to detect trends and to alert medical practitioners to possible epidemics. More recently, data mining techniques have been applied to this area - relying again on database technology.

Government administration would be paralysed without database technology; the collection of taxes and the payment of social security benefits depends totally on database technology.

Retail: the major retail stores utilise database technology in stock control and PoS (Point of Sale) systems. Modern retailers use advanced data mining techniques to determine trends in sales and consumer preference to optimise stock control, retail performance, customer convenience and profit.

The essential point is that database technology is a CORE TECHNOLOGY with links to:
information management / processing
data analysis / statistics
data visualisation / presentation
multimedia and hypermedia
office and document systems
business processes, workflow, CSCW (computer-supported cooperative work)

But modern DB systems depend on an infrastructure of:
networks both LAN (local area network) and WAN (wide area network)
client-server computing architecture
skilled data analysis and DB design
skilled systems development method(s)
for them to be effective and therefore used in any sector of activity.

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