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Telecommunications and Opportunity
The Fourth Communication Revolution
"revolution" - "re-v&-'lü-sh&n - 2 a: a sudden, radical, or complete change
Revolution has struck in the science of communications four times…
The first, in the late 1800s, came with the invention of the telephone. Deployment and adaptation was rapid and everyone seemed to jump on the bandwagon vying to get into the business. American Bell, forerunner to the AT&T communications colossus, emerged as the dominant business in the industry and seeing the need for central research, formed Bell Telephone Laboratories. The labs went on to become the premier research and development company in the world.
The availability of computers was the second revolution that shook the communications business. Utilizing the computer's control and processing power in the core of communications - switching - gave providers abilities to provide fantastic new features and services embedded in the base functionality of communications technology - which heretofore was transporting information - i.e. voice and data between parties. The communications providers were rather slow in "allowing" computers to control their networks. Quite proud of the accomplishment of building networks that were virtually indestructible and trouble free, cautiousness delayed the full-scale introduction and use of computers in the core of the network for almost two decades. Computers were actually available to be used in this manner in the 1960s.
The third revolution in communications was the meteoric growth of the Internet and the public's adoption of it as a communications and information vehicle. The dominant communications providers - the telecommunications carriers - either did not see the potential of cornering this technological and economic marvel or they felt secure that their existing service base would keep them on top of the communications mountain. Nevertheless, the Internet trains became a way of life, and everybody started laying track and building stations - not just those who had infrastructures in place to dominate and keep the railroad in the family.
Today's revolution - converged networking, fueled by basics built for now successful VoIP, IPTV, - basically ANY media or multimedia service or content transportable via IP -is poised to move the communications industry into the new century with services that bring all the media and mediums together in a way that George Jetson was accustomed to. That is, in a very comfortable and expedient way. IMS, (IP enabled Multimedia Services), are now (and will continue) to enable innovation, integration and interoperability. This interoperability will make previously disparate devices and services function as a single synergistic collaboration of communication and information movement using all delivery methods. Phones, text messaging devices, televisions, computers, home and business control systems and so on will function and provide service together in harmony. Once again, the largest and traditional communications providers are in a commanding position.