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, computers and the necessary software and audiovisual systems that enable users to access, store, transmit, and process information.
ICT underpins innovation and competitiveness across a range of private and public markets and sectors, including the forest-based sector. The sector would benefit in particular from investment that supports the development of open platforms and technologies such as the systematic use of radio frequency identification (RFID), embedded components and systems, process control as well as robotics, micro- and nanoelectronics.
Working together in new applications, these technologies can minimise waste in the production process, prevent illegal logging, facilitate product recovery for recycling, or make it almost impossible to counterfeit important documents.
ICT has reduced production costs both in forestry and the forest-based industries. Mobile ICT solutions will continue to revolutionise the monitoring and management of forest resources. Light Detection And Ranging technology (LIDAR), an optical remote sensing technology, and other augmented reality and global tracking systems will play a crucial role in the whole value chain, from forest management and harvesting operations to transportation and logistics, manufacturing and processing, product development and resource management.
One challenge will be to come up with ideas for further applications of ICT and for new customer-oriented services using ICT as a platform. In addition, ICT will assist in developing intelligent communication systems allowing complex participation in public decision-making processes concerning the forest-based sector.