Communications technology has come a long way from smoke signals, homing pigeons, letter writing and the telephone.
From the advent of the telephone in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell to Motorola’s first handheld mobile phone in 1973, electronics technologies have accelerated the pace of communications evolution.
A brief look at the technology timeline:
- The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the foundation of the email system, was developed in 1982.
- 1989 saw the introduction of the World Wide Web.
- The second generation, or 2G, networks appeared in the early 1990s and cell signals shifted from analog to digital.
- Faster speeds and wider coverage were provided by 3G networks at the start of the millennium.
- In 2008, 4G LTE networks entered the market surpassing 3G speeds by a considerable margin.
What’s next? Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) systems offer the potential to transition from text-based communication to face-to-face conversations. The market for dedicated AR devices is expected to reach $660 million by 2018, while the market for VR devices is projected to reach $408 million within the same time frame.
The launch of 5G networks with data rates of up to 10 Gbps will render on-the-go HD video streaming and other bandwidth-heavy mobile applications feasible. The internet of things will advance the networking of vehicles, buildings and industrial operations to facilitate the collection and exchange of data.
Telepathy is also poised to become reality using transcranial magnetic stimulation to enable direct thought exchanges. Holographic displays that create 3D images using refracted light can find application in lectures, conference calls, medical diagnostics, and interactive advertisements.