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From Tablet to Tablet in 5,000 years
Over the last 5,000 years, we’ve witnessed an incredible shift in communication driven by technology.
The oldest known example of communication in the form of writing was on a clay tablet discovered in Mesopotamia (an area now covering modern day Syria and Iraq) dating back to 3300 BC. From humble beginnings, communication was then taken to the next level with the invention of paper by the Chinese in 105AD. The evolution of communications has been one of the pinnacle successes of the human race and technology has accelerated the speed, distance and breadth of communications possible.
1. The first phone call
For many, the ground-breaking invention of the first telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 signalled the birth of modern day communications. It then took a further 51 years until the first transatlantic phone call was made in 1927, when W. S. Gifford, president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, called Sir Evelyn P. Murray, secretary of the General Post Office of Great Britain.
Fast forward to 1971 and American computer programmer Ray Tomlinson implements the first email program on the ARPANET system (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the precursor to the Internet. Two years later and the first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola, a handset weighing c. 4.4 lbs (2 kg) - by comparison, the iPhone 6 weighs in at 4.55 ounces (129 grams). Then in 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x became the first commercially available handheld mobile phone, a phone that saw its size and impracticality amplified in the comedy sketch Trigger Happy TV.
2. Mobile madness & the birth of the internet
The DynaTAC 8000x sold for $3,995 over 30 years ago, and the six month waiting list at that time proves how much demand there was for mobile phones. This then led to the investment in wireless network infrastructure to help cope with the mass increase in phone usage.
Adu Nathan, Senior Consultant – Key Accounts, Communications, Networkers, explains the jobs that the investment created:
“The 1980s saw the first drive for Network (IP), Radio, Access & Transmission engineers to create the infrastructure needed for mass mobile phone usage.”
In 1989, English Computer Scientist Sir Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web and has his place firmly secured in the Internet Hall of Fame. The first ever text was sent on 3 December 1992, when Neil Papwell, a 22-year-old British engineer, used his computer to send the message ‘Merry Christmas’ to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone. Two years later and Marc Andreessen, an American entrepreneur, investor and software engineer, invented the first widely-used graphical web browser. Email then became mainstream during the mid-90s before the mobile phone market exploded following the emergence of Nokia, towards the end of the decade.
“The creation of the World Wide Web caused a huge shift in the skills required in the labour market,” said Rupert Ronca, Department Manager at Networkers. “We saw the birth of software developers and architects [who were] using frameworks such as Java and .NET to generate increasingly advanced websites.”
3. A new kind of tablet & new social networks
Following the turn of the century there was exponential growth following the emergence of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Amazon Kindle became the first commercially successful tablets in 2007, which was quickly followed by the iPad in 2010. 2009 saw an explosion in messaging apps like WhatsApp, a rise that led to Facebook purchasing the app for a reported £15.4 billion in 2014.
Now we have around five billion connected people on the planet and around two billion smartphones - a number which continues to increase. Mere concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT) have become reality, with their products now easily-available following inventions like Amazon’s Alexa. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the IoT spending will hit $1.29 trillion in the US in 2020.
4. The rise of robots
Last year saw companies show off their virtual reality offering, a market that’s estimated to be worth around US $5.2 billion by 2018. A.I and robotics are also making their mark this year with many companies who had previously outsourced repetitive tasks to offshore agencies, now using A.I and robotics software to minimise errors, speed up data processing and reduce labour costs.
Chris Rosebert, Head of Data Science and A.I, Networkers, explains the roles needed for these innovations:
“There will be a demand for Data Scientists to make sense out of the huge quantity of data that exists in the digital world. There will also be a demand for RPA Developers and Architects to intelligently automate processes.”
Of course, all of this technology doesn’t come without an element of risk. Security has become a major issue in what, initially, had been a second thought for new innovations, thus allowing cyber criminals easier access. This has been a major issue with the masses of data stored on the internet-based Cloud.
Jonathan Martin, Cyber Security and Cloud Department Manager, Networkers, explains more:
“The need for Information security professionals has never been greater. The new General Data Protection Regulation legislation will be enforced in 2018 and companies risk fines of up to 4% of their income if they fail to comply. Consequently there is a huge need for Security Analysts, Network Engineers, Penetration Testers and SOC engineers to combat these threats.”
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