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The Communications Revolution

May 17 is World Telecommunications Day. It celebrates the constant evolution of communication and also aims to increase awareness of how important this is in our lives, societies and economies. With this in mind we’ve created a potted history of technology communication landmarks which reveals just how far we’ve come in a relatively short time.

World Telecommunications and Information Society Day essentially celebrates the constant evolution of one of the most important factors of our lives which of course is communication.
And what dramatic changes there have been from those heady days of the early telephone to satellites spinning around the earth and even internet access from the remote foothills of the Himalayas.
In a little over 140 years the world has been radically transformed as communication advancements have brought the world much closer together, enabling millions of networks that are driving major advancements in all areas of human endeavour.

With this in mind here is a timeline of how communications have evolved ever since Alexander Graham Bell began attempting to invent a machine that would transmit sound by electricity.

The telephone

  • Alexander Graham Bell the Scottish scientist known as the inventor of the telephone, made the first ever telephone call on March 10, 1876, to his assistant, Thomas Watson. He said: "Mr. Watson come here I want to see you."
  • Bell was driven to create his invention in his desire to help the deaf communicate. Both his parents were deaf and he worked at a school for the deaf. He hoped to transmit sound by electricity which led to the development of the telephone.
  • While Bell’s design was the first to be patented he was not the first inventor to come up with the idea of a telephone. Antonio Meucci, an impoverished Italian immigrant began developing the design of a talking telegraph in 1849.
  • Bell improved on the first design and ten years after he made his first call in 1886 more than 150,000 people owned telephones in the United States.
  • The telephone is credited with transforming the way societies did business and individuals communicated. Businesses could reach a much wider range of customers and Individuals could communicate with distant family members much more easily.
  • Prior to the advent of the phone the only way people could communicate without meeting in person was by mail or telegraph.


  • Satellites have become vital to communications. They enable everything from weather predictions to navigation, business and finance, climate monitoring and secure military communications and internet access.
  • According to the United Nation’s Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space there are currently over 4,200 satellites currently orbiting the planet.
  • Communication took a radical step forward in 1957 when the Soviet Union successfully launched the history-changing Sputnik I.
  • Sputnik I was about the size of a beach ball and weighed just over 83kg. It took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth.
  • A short time later Sputnik 2 was launched with a dog on board. The first US satellite, Explorer, was launched on January 31, 1958.
  • The first practical concept of satellite communication was proposed by 27-year-old Royal Air Force officer Arthur C. Clarke in a paper titled “Extra-Terrestrial Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?” published in the October 1945
  • Arthur C. Clarke then went onto to become one of the most famous and influential science fiction writers of all time; the writer behind the iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey film.
  • Satellites today are helping connect some of the most remote places on earth. The North Pole is arguably one of the most desolate; bitterly cold and in full darkness during winter but satellites are helping people, shipping, exploration and search and rescue teams access this barren landscape.

The Internet

  • The World Wide Web has its foundation in work that Tim Berners-Lee did in the 1980s at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Widely credited as the father of the internet Berners-Lee had been looking for a way for physicists to share information around the world without all using the same types of hardware and software.
  • On 6 August 1991 the World Wide Web became publicly available. Berners-Lee, posted a short summary of the project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup .This gave birth to a new technology which has fundamentally changed communications. There was no fanfare in the global press; most people didn’t even know what the Internet was.
  • In 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web was free for everyone to use and develop, with no fees, an important factor in the transformational impact it would have on the world.
  • What was initially a network of static HTML documents has become a constantly changing and evolving information organism, powered by a wide range of technologies, from database systems can display data dynamically, to streaming media and pages that can be updated in real-time.
  • The Web has become a part of our everyday lives. It’s changed the way we communicate and has been a key factor in the way the Internet has transformed the global economy and societies around the world.
  • Approximately 3.2 billion people use the internet. 1.7 billion are Asians. It is estimated that approximately 200 billion emails and 3 billion Google search would have to wait if the internet goes down for a day.
  • China has treatment camps for internet addicts. 200 million Internet users in China are between the ages of 15 and 35 and they apparently suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Highly effective computer software programs are used by cybercriminals to automatically detect vulnerable websites which can be hacked easily.
  • Approximately 204 million emails are sent each minute and 70% of all the mails sent are spam.
  • The Kraken botnet is said to be one of biggest. It infected 10% of all Fortune 500 companies, and controlled nearly 500,000 bots. Each single bot was judged capable of sending as many as 600,000 emails per day.
  • The Metulji and Mariposa botnets shared a botnet infrastructure made by a European hacker. Each botnet enslaved more than ten million machines. Both botnets are believed to have been used to steal millions of dollars’ worth of password details, credit card numbers and social security numbers.

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Filed under: BullGuard News

Written by Steve Bell

Steve has a background in IT and business journalism and has written extensively for both the UK national and trade press including The Guardian, Independent-on-Sunday, The Times, The Register, MicroScope and Computer Weekly. He's also worked for most of the world's largest IT companies producing content producing. He has a particular focus on IT security and has produced several magazines in this area.

More articles by Steve Bell

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