Business & IT Glossary - P

Packet Used for communicating on networks, a packet contains a bundle of digital information.
Palmtop Refers to miniature computers that can be held in the palm of one hand. See PDA
Partner When two or more individuals form a joint business, they become partners. Partnerships are recognised in law as legal entities and partners assume joint liability for the business.
PC Personal Computer was originally used to describe IBM or compatible desktop microcomputers running the MS-DOS operating system, but is now often applied to desktop, portable and handheld devices running any operating system.
PDA A Personal Digital Assistant is a miniature, handheld computer that can be used for note-taking, as a personal organiser and to send emails and faxes when travelling. Most PDAs can be linked to desktop computer so that data can be exchanged between the two.
Peripheral Describes a device or accessory used in conjunction with a computer, such as a printer or scanner.
Permission marketing Especially with regard to email marketing, many businesses now request permission from customers to send them sales messages, newsletters or advertising from time-to-time. These companies will only send material to customers who have "opted-in".
Pixel The smallest, individual element that a screen can display or a computer can reproduce in print. Images displayed on a screen or printed as bitmap objects are composed of many pixels and their resolution or picture quality can vary according to the ratio of pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi).
Platform Refers to the standards on which hardware, such as Apple Macintoshes or IBM-PCs, are based. Sometimes also used to refer to software standards, such as the Apple OS or Microsoft Windows.
Plasma screen Plasma technology consists of minute gas-filled cells, which emit light when an electric current is channelled through them. Plasma screens - now becoming widely available - feature an arrangement of pixel-sized cells which replace the bulky Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) used in traditional VDU screens. The major attraction of plasma screens is that they are much flatter and take up less desk space.
Point-of-sale Activity in a shop, retail outlet or where consumers actually purchase goods. Point-of-sale literature, such as shelf tickets and posters displayed at check-out desks, promote special offers or merchandise that retailers are particularly keen to sell.
POP Point of Presence - A point where users can connect to the internet via telecommunications line. A POP is usually provided by ISPs to enable internet access at local or reduced call rates.
Portal A web site that acts as a gateway to the internet. Many portals are established as all-purpose guides to the information contained on the internet in the hope that users will choose these as the home page in their browser, making it the first page they see when connecting to the internet. In reality, the quality of portals varies considerably, although those specialising in specific topics, such as business, finance, technology or entertainment, can be more useful than general ones.
Portfolio The total number of shareholdings held by investors. A portfolio mix aims to spread the risk over different sectors and types of investment.
Private equity A shareholding in a private company.
Private key A private key is one half of the "key pair" used in asymmetric cryptography. The private key is only available to the keyholder and is often used to encrypt information which can be decrypted by the corresponding public key.
Press relations The practice of achieving publicity in the press and media through issuing press releases and establishing relationships with journalists.
Press release A news story issued by an organisation and sent to the press and media with the aim of achieving publicity.
Profit At the most fundamental level, the income received after the cost of producing and selling a product or service is subtracted from the price paid by the purchaser. The annual profit of a business is calculated by deducting its costs for a whole year from money it has received over the same period less any tax allowances.
Proofreader Proofreading ensures there are no typographical, grammatical or other errors in a publication. By casting an independent eye over a text, a proof-reader checks that it makes good sense to readers.
Protocol A pre-agreed method through which devices can communicate with each other.
Public key A public key is one half of the "key pair" used in asymmetric cryptography. The public key is often made widely available and can decrypt data that has been encrypted with the corresponding private key.
Public limited company A limited company which can offer shares to be purchased by the public. Its financial records must be available for inspection by the public and the company name must include the words 'public limited company' or 'plc'.
Public relations Literally any contact between an organisation and the public, but specific PR activities include publicity campaigns through press releases and articles in the published media and through events, such as exhibitions, conferences and seminars.