While communication with others is an innate human hunger and has been evident from at least the days of cave drawings, it may not have been until the invention of the telephone and the ushering in of the information age that the implications and values of communication systems were economically harnessed.
Almost a hundred years ago (95 years ago this week, in fact) when the first transcontinental call was made, probably no one could have conceptualized the development of the communication systems we have today that allow us to stay in touch around the world and even to the moon—and beyond.
Ever since Alexander Graham Bell’s famous words on March 10, 1876—“Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” we have been pioneers on a revolutionary communication pilgrimage.
Today, it’s almost inconceivable to imagine how we ever got along without mobile communication systems. Instantaneous contact from any place in the world is now possible and practical, and the cost is a far cry from the $75 charge for a three-minute call across the Atlantic back in the 1920s when intercontinental telephone service was using “old timey” devices such as radio transmitters.
Over the past half century or so, the communications industry has grown exponentially and has become a major driver for economic development across the globe. With the ongoing advancements in digital techniques, information exchange has reached new heights and thoroughly transformed business operations.
New ways of sharing ideas and information are emerging almost daily from the minds of former “garage geniuses” who are now providing leadership to huge segments of the communications world. Speed and accuracy in transmitting data and voice commands in real time have been the rails along which we have been zooming through the Information Age.
Teenagers’ almost continuous use of the home phone certainly played a part in the proliferation of additional land lines in many houses. This proclivity was a natural fodder that led to the desire for personal phones when technology introduced us to “mobile” phones. About the same time, the Internet hit the scene and opened the world to exploration as fast as one’s fingers could move. Then “texting” came on board, and we discovered new uses for our thumbs.
Cells phones and their derivatives have almost become necessities in our daily lives, and the capabilities of these instruments—which have shrunk from the brick-size ones that were carried in a bag to those that fit conveniently in a shirt pocket or on an ear—appear almost limitless.
Texting has become a way of life and keeping in touch through blogs, twitters, and myriad other telecommunication means consumes a lot of our time and energy. Information exchange is the name of the game and everyone wants to play. New methods to do so are arriving almost daily, and many other advancements are on the drawing table or in the minds of innovators and visionaries.
Additional infrastructures and systems are continually being developed for better diffusion of information and communication, all of which have significant economic value and the potential for manufacturing growth and job creation in the future. What’s ahead for tomorrow is limited only by our imagination.
Bell probably had no idea that his request for Watson to “come here” would be the catalyst for such a unique boon to the world economy.