This week I’ve felt very patriotic – so much so in fact that colleagues have started calling me HRH!
Being a British ex-pat in Australia, I’ve been glued to all the goings on in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this week. It got me thinking about some of the British-born technologies, how they’ve shaped history and what they’ve become today.
There are admittedly far too many for me to put in this post – the television, the train, the cat’s eye, the stereo, the iPod and the lightbulb to name a few – but I really couldn’t go past concentrating on just one that I think has impacted in our lives in possibly the biggest way – the telephone.
The smartphones and multifunctional telephones of today have their origins in the 1870s when the Brit Alexander Graham Bell transmitted a spoken message to his personal assistant. Since then, telephones have come to help shape the way we live, communicate, do business, and share information.
The earliest telephones were mechanical rather than electric devices that transmitted sounds over longer distances than that of normal speech. For example, speaking tubes on ships and large houses allowed users to pass messages from different rooms.
It’s hard to believe that from this, to electric phones and on to mobile phones that one technology could have become so significant. I wonder if Alexander Graham Bell knew it back then. Or what he’d think if he could see the modern day phone.
In the last – I’d say, five years – we’ve seen what has to be the biggest leap yet in telecommunications.
With smartphones like the Apple iPhone, or the Samsung Galaxy III which was announced last week, it’s clear that the mobile phone isn’t just a means by which to speak to people anymore but a way of life. It has the potential to combine almost every aspect of a person’s life – calendars, music, contacts, video conferencing and so much more. It’s called the ‘smartphone’ for a reason!
In my mind, the possibilities are endless for mobile phones and I’d anticipate unparalleled growth in use and functionality in the next 20 years. They’ll become a one stop shop for consumers and I’m sure this extends far wider than I can even consider.
It’s fair to say that the telephone is one of mankind’s greatest technological inventions. And for this, we have my fellow Brit, Alexander Graham Bell to thank. God Save the Queen!