Keeping you in touch
Ever since the days of grunts, hand gestures and chalk drawings, humankind has attempted to communicate. Today, communications is one of the fastest-growing areas of technology. With traditional phones, cell phones, voice mail, faxes, PDAs, tablet computers, email instant messaging and video chat, we can now communicate almost anything to just about anyone pretty much any time.
Technically, communication software refers to a program or application designed to pass information (files and real-time messages) between two computers. This includes email, chat and messaging software, as well as file transfer protocols. However, faxes, cell phones, PDAs and even some phone and voice mail programs also require software to run, and in a broader sense, communication software may be used to refer to these applications as well.
Online communication software comprises email, chat, instant messaging (IM) and file transfer or P2P software. It may also include Web conferencing and other online collaboration software utilized in business. For the average user, a free email and instant messaging program is perfectly suitable. Examples of free communication applications include Gmail, Skype and AIM. There are many excellent free communication programs and finding one to suit your needs should be easy. Keep in mind that, if you are looking to transfer audio / video data, such as mp3 downloads, you may also want to look into some form of file sharing software to supplement your communication application.
Small business owners or professionals who work from home may need slightly more sophisticated communication software. Many corporations find instant messaging software especially useful for eliminating long-distance or international phone calls without sacrificing the convenience of real-time discussions, but standard IM programs don't always accommodate corporate needs. Recently released business-oriented IM software addresses this problem by adding enterprise-targeted functionalities, such as larger multiparty conversations and encryption capabilities (which are vital when sensitive information is being discussed, as it often is during business meetings).
For avid gamers, voice communication software is a must. Also known as telephony software, voice communication programs digitize voice signals and transmit them over Internet connections, allowing online gamers to have real-time conversations while playing their games (no more dying while frantically trying to trash-talk your opponents in a chat window!). All that is typically required in terms of hardware is an inexpensive microphone or headset.
Of course, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology has not only revolutionized the gaming world but changed everyday communications, as well. Many companies and even some individuals now use VoIP for their phone service. And, with voice mail software, a home or office computer can double as an answering machine.
VoIP is also available for cell phones and is a great option for business owners who may use their cell phones for a lot of long distance calls. Rather than routing calls through traditional provider networks, which may charge outrageous fees, VoIP-enabled cell phones transmit calls to the Internet via WiFi, cutting out the middle man and thus saving money. Additional cellular software for business owners includes hands-free capabilities, a Web browser, and email and/or IM functionality.
In today's global community, information is as much a commodity as gold or oil (and arguably as valuable, if not more), so communication is key to a successful business. And as social animals, we humans often require communication for our leisure activities, too. Communication software can help us keep in touch with greater ease and less expense, allowing us to better enjoy the advantages of the Information Age.