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CIS8009 MANAGEMENT OF BUSINESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS

ASSIGNMENT 2

Research Paper 1

 Abstract

The differences in the Communication process and the network elements of the different companies is of great importance to companies that primarily operate in rural locations such as the mining companies do operate in Australia. Many times the lack of communication within the organization can lead to operational issues and loss of productivity. This is especially so for companies like Rio Tinto and Orion Gold who have to go outback for their mining and mineral exploration process. Also, effective communication is required for the conservation efforts that have to be done by the company for protecting the ecology in the areas of their operation.

Introduction

The mineral and mining sector in Australia is vast and complete with numerous organizations of different sizes and scales of operation. The comparison here is between Rio Tinto, which is the biggest mining company in the world with more than 76,894 employees and revenues of more than $42 billion. They operate in over 79 countries with more than 500 mines across the world. In comparison, Orion Gold is a smaller scale mineral exploration company with about 900 employees working on projects across Australia. They are more into the exploration of mines rather than actual mining itself. This is because; mining requires more resources (both capital and workforce). Mineral exploration on the other hand will require more technical expertise with a small number of staff. The auxiliary staffs such as machine operators, guards, etc. are much lesser in Orion Gold compared to Rio Tinto. Mining would also involve more than one location as Rio Tinto is into mining of 23 different materials, ranging from Iron Ore, Bauxite to Gold Ore. Orion Gold NL started primarily in Gold Exploration as they would rather take part in rare and expensive mineral exploration as the returns on finding these metals would cover their costs involved.

Beginnings of Communication

By definition, communication which is an exchange of information is required both for social life and organisations. The 21st century has been considered as the “information age” due to the reasons that communications and information technologies have been everyone’s homes, workplaces etc. they are radio, cell phone television and computer. This 21st-century information age has its history dating back to the 19th century. During prehistoric times, human communication was revolutionised with speech some 100,000 years back and symbols were painted some 30,000 years back and the writing started some 5000 years ago. Then telecommunication started with the use of smoke signals and drum beating in some parts of the world. In the 1830s the electrical telecommunication system started. In 1792, the first telegraphy system was built. The first electric telephone was invented in 1870. The telephone technology evolved during this time and telephone exchanges were built all across cities in America. Transatlantic voice communication became possible in 1927. The connection was established through radio. Today, telecommunications is involved in all walks of life that is economic, social and scientific. In the late 80s, mobile phones revolutionised telecommunications with the advent of practical mobile phone networks. During the same time, computer scientists created and evolved the internet. With this, communication became very fast and one could send a letter by way of email to any part of the world immediately. Internet became the game-changer for new firms such as Orion Gold, as the internet could bring down the costs of communication in remote and far-reaching areas which was not accessible by small scale industries with less capital.

Fit if a particular model of Communication

In any communication, there is a sender, message, medium through which the message is sent and the receiver. There are three main models of communications. They are linear model, interactive model and transactional model. The linear model is a one-way process in which the sender sends the message and the receiver receives the same passively. It is assumed here that there is no distortion in the message and the entire message is sent in the same way. Examples are a letter or a lecture. But Shannon and Weaver include noise or interference to this model as they saw that understanding will be different between the speaker and listener. It is also possible that due to certain noise around, the listener may not catch the speaker fully. Here again, there is no feedback from the receiver or the listener.

For small setups and exploratory firms such as Orion gold, they have fewer nodes of communication and the basic model of communication is adequate for the company in the long run. As the complexities increase and the firm grows in setup, there are many deficiencies that will be observed in the basic model of communication. One of the major points is the prevalence of one way type of communication, which does not allow for feedback that may be required as the number of employees grows in size.

To remove the drawback of the one-way process, Schramm came out with another model known as the interactive model, where it is assumed that the sender and the receiver understand better if there is a common field of experience. And the receiver will become the sender when there is feedback and vice versa. The drawback of the interactive model is that the dynamic process of communication has not been taken into account. That means communication changes with time. To take this into account, the transactional model came into being in which communication is an ongoing process and is continuous changes with time. The sender and the receiver will simultaneously send and receive messages.

Rio Tinto, with its huge setup, spread across 70 different countries, would be benefited from the transactional model that allows for faster decision making between the mining area and the main head or regional office. This is due to the two-way communication process that takes place across them.

Business Communication and Business System

Business communication is different from normal communication. In this communication, the product or services are promoted. It also involves communication within the company. Business communication involves several aspects of communication. Communication is required for marketing the product or services, brand management, customer relations, consumer behaviour, advertising, public relations. The channels used by the organisations for the purpose of communication are the internet, print media, radio, television and word of mouth. Under business communication, internal communication with employees is also is required. For the purpose of internal communications, companies use the internet, video conferencing, reports and presentations, telephone meetings and face-to-face meetings. Here we shall discuss the differences in business communications affecting the business systems due to the differences in the internal and external factors for both the companies.

For regular internal business operations, both the companies need to have robust communication processes, and mainly their own setup to have a constant media to communicate to each other. To facilitate this unceasing media connection, both companies will use satellite communication for their internal operations. The benefit of satellite-based communication is that they don’t have to rely on the regular land-based Global Service Mobile (GSM) based communication. The disadvantage of GSM is that it is dependent on the line of sight communication and thus is not available where cellular towers are not present. Satellite phones can communicate from anywhere. The disadvantage of the satellite system of communicating is that the price per call is very high and it increases exponentially as the number of users increases.

In terms of usage, and the scale of operation, the communication through satellite phones can be one only by Orion Gold, where one team can use one satellite phone to communicate to the main office during remote mineral exploration. The communication between one team to another in the same area can be done by using wireless sets set to a certain common frequency again during mineral exploration. For the larger scale of operation of Rio Tinto, especially in the mining site, the company can have to tie up or have their own establishment of the cellular mobile tower as this will bring down the costs of communication as well as increase the number of users communicating to other areas. Another major factor that prompts for the cellular tower setup is that Rio Tinto is into mining that takes place for months or years at a stretch, whereas Orion Gold exploration is temporary and takes place for days at max. Even if the set-up costs are high the utilization over a period of time justifies the investment.

Between the companies to its external environment, effective business communication is possible when employees seek the customer needs by asking the right questions and make changes to the products as per the needs of the customers. One needs to be clear, brief, focused and committed. Face-to-face communication will yield the best results since a rapport will be developed between the seller and the buyer. Telephone communication will also be the best for the customer will have to respond immediately. Email communication is also available and one should take care to ensure that the mail is worded properly to get the proper feedback/reply. In business communications, data communication has become very important with growing business and globalisation. The management needs to know the organisation’s positions than at any point in time to know the state and to sustain and remain competitive.

A business system involves the business processes integrated with information technology and static aspects of the business for the purpose of effective management of the business. The business process involves a coalition of workflow management. A process in an organisation is a set of activities that is connected to achieve a common goal. A business system is a value-added chain describing the valued added process. It includes the static and dynamic aspects of the business. It generates economic benefits for the company. The business system encompassing the entire organisation comprises the organisational model. In this regard, Rio Tinto has a dedicated communication cell that projects the advances of the company during the annual shareholder meeting, where a summary of the company’s activity is given in a nutshell/

For achieving the best organisational model for any company, business processes are to be documented well. The existing business processes may lack transparency and most of the functionalities may be independent making it difficult to link to make it into the process chain. In the case of Orion Gold, which is a small setup, there is not much emphasis on transparency due to their relative private mode f operation and the reduced impact on the ecological resources. Under the circumstances, the business system may not be the effective one. On the other hand, the business systems must be effective, transparent and all-encompassing for a company like Rio Tinto.

Presently for the purpose of having a well-defined organisational model, Enterprise Architecture (EA) technology is adopted wherein proper enterprise analysis, design, planning and implementation is done to suit the type of business. This will provide effectiveness, efficiency, agility and durability. EA gives the required flexibility to the business system so that the management proactively change the systems to suit the changes in the market and remain competitive. EA will integrate various departments in the organisation which helps the decision-makers to take the right decisions at the right time. For this purpose, the organisations should have effective data communications and networking to enable transmitting data in real-time.

The importance of EA in Rio Tinto can be gauged by the fact that effective communications on the mining process to the external environment are very crucial for the future sustainability of the firm in the long term time frame. The very evidence of the same can be seen in the level of importance the world is putting on the conservation of ecology and the protection of the environment. Rio Tinto, as the world’s largest mining company directly affects the ecological balance of the place mining takes place. Adherence to global environmental protocols such as the Kyoto Protocol and the communication of how the company is following the same will ensure that the compliance to effective corporate governance is done. This will be crucial for the sustainability of the firm as indicated above.

Data Communication and Networking

Data communication and networking has been the fastest growing technologies. Data communication is used to transmit data over several channels to facilitate communication. Business data communication refers to the way data communication is utilised for the purpose of conducting business effectively. Business data communication helps both internal and external business communication. The type of communication channel depends on the type of data required to be transmitted. Presently, both internal and external data communication are done through the internet. Emails and memos are sent to employees in real-time through the internet. For external purposes through emails or through social media channels, the clients are connected and communicated in a cost-effective manner and instantly. The other channel which is normally used for business data communication is telecommunication. In this case, speaking to customers yields immediate results as the customers are required to respond immediately and personal touch is involved. For the purpose of transmitting data from one place to another, it is essential that the computers are connected to form a network. This will enable the transmission of data from one computer to another computer.

For communication, Orion Gold uses the email-based communication between the employees. In areas where packet data is not available, mineral explorers are given recording systems that record voice and text data that automatically gets transmitted as soon as the system comes to a place where the packet data signal is available. Satellite communication setup is used very rarely and only in times of emergency.

Within the office, data communication is considered local if the two computers are located in the same building and it is considered remote if the devices are farther apart. The effectiveness of data communication depends on the delivery to the correct destination, accuracy- data is sent accurately and timeliness- the data is delivered in time. A set of devices are connected by links is called the network. For the network to be efficient, it has to perform efficiently and reliably and in a secured manner. If the connection of devices is required to be connected in the same building, the technology of the local area network (LAN) is used as it covers a small geographical area.  For the purpose of wider area required to be covered, wide area network (WAN) is used as this technology helps in covering large area covering continents. The company can use LAN and WAN to get connected to the entire world. The internet is the main communication system and linking these networks is possible using different layers of the internet. Each layer of the Internet provides different services. There are two types of transmission media and they have guided media and unguided media. Guided media has physical boundaries and unguided media is boundless. The guided media is connected through twisted-pair cable, coaxial cable and fibre-optic cable. The fibre-optic cable transmission is more advantageous compared to the other two. Thus the organisations can have a hub and all other devices like computers, printers etc. are connected to the hub which will act as a storage device for data and whenever required the same can be viewed on the computer and the management will be in a position to take decisions.

For the network setups, the fibre optic transmission of data from one place to another is beneficial due to the speed of transmission and the security of the data that is being transmitted. Despite its high costs, high volumes of data can be transmitted in a shorter amount of time and hence it has major advantages for a company that is sending large volumes of data. This form of communication media can be used for Rio Tinto, which has to send reports and daily data to the regional office for a day to the day monitoring process. Orion Gold can use wireless for communication largely due to the low volume of data and the high costs that are involved in setting up ground-based communication be it coaxial cables or fibre optic systems.

Conclusion

The different communication processes and systems have been seen for the two companies of different sizes who are operating in the mineral and mining sectors in Australia. One is the largest mining company in the world Rio Tinto and the other is a small Australian firm that specializes only in exploration activities. The different aspects of the intra firm communication and inter-firm communication is discussed with the reason why the two companies have such communication processes. We have largely seen the impact of the network elements and the technology that is used by either of the companies suiting to their business requirement. The main conclusion is that the larger firms use the systems with higher initial setup costs and low operating costs whereas the smaller firms use the communication networks that are cheap to set up. Moreover, the volume of data that is transmitted in the larger firms is immense compared to the smaller firms.

References

Orion Gold Website- http://www.oriongold.com.au/

Rio Tinto Website- http://www.riotinto.com/“Our Products”Rio Tinto web site. Rio Tinto Group. Retrieved 11 March 2014.

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