I was thinking about the use of the phone in my house when the last phone bill came – upon looking at the call patterns over the last two months, I noticed that the use of the landline in my house was only being used by my kids to phone a friend, parent or grandparent. On deciding if we needed to have a phone in the house, I asked a few friends to see if they felt the same. Questions were asked – what if you didn’t have one – how could your grandparent phone you? Or a relation living somewhere in Australia wanted to call you – how would they contact you? What if you wanted to check an address in the telephone book? Not one person, when they thought of their mobile as a means of contacting people, could come up with a reason to keep a landline.
While not being old enough to ever receive a telegram, one grew up with movies using them as a way to spread news from locations throughout the world to far flung locations. News of national and international importance were relayed to far flung towns and villages throughout the world. In 1836, Samuel Morse developed the first method of sending telegrams that was to become part and parcel of communications. For decades and centuries, it was the only way of communicating. Now on the 14th July of this year, the last telegram will be sent in India by a company called Bharat Sanchar Nigam. It has become commercially unviable to send them with the general public now using SMS, email, social media networks and smartphones to relay instant news around the world.
As the pace of technology develops, with new forms of communicating at levels of speed never witnessed before, what other devices and services that we have grown up with will cease or become naturally extinct in the next 20 years? Will TV’s as we know them be replaced with multiple viewers in our sitting room with all members of the family sitting down plugged into their own personal devices either watching brand new content or on Skype to a friend living half way around the world? Will desktops cease to be built or will tablets with ever-increasing power be our mobile workplace? Will our car or means of transport allow us to be completely in contact with the world without ever coming to the office?
Think back to a scene in an old Western – when the telegram operator would hear a message come down the line bringing news of national importance and how the locals would hear of this news, how the news would spread so fast that by the time people on the outreach of the town would hear, the news would have been tweaked and distorted to have a different meaning or was embellished to tell a way better story. Think how people would look up to the operator as somewhat of a god – keeping them in touch with the world outside of their own town. One thing for certain, people waited for the news and this played a central role on the conversations of the day.
How will our communication methods still hold that key aspect – NEWS – and the effect on their lives? Will we keep the key aspect of what inventions like the Morse Code brought us – communicating directly with each other in a conversation sharing our views. One thing for sure, the pace of development will be a multiple of what it was over 170 years ago.
Watch this space! Or should we say – watch and listen?
Client Service Director