As we have seen with the evolution of teleconferencing, Mankind always innovated and found more ways to connect and develop in the field of telecommunications. The experience that we know it to be today, however, would not have quite been the same without significant proposals and work by myriad individuals in various eras before ours. On that note, 5 individuals that were key in the history of Telecommunications.

Heinrich Hertz

Every structure has a foundation stone. And the foundation stone for modern communications, is  electromagnetic waves. This was discovered by Heinrich Hertz between 1887-1888. Hertz’s findings originated from his study and experiments on sparks, along with their effects in electric circuits.

Discovering that sparks produced a regular electrical vibration within the electric wires they jumped between, he understood that the vibration consisted of accelerating and decelerating electric charges. This radiated electromagnetic waves through air.

Everything from radio and television to satellite communications, and mobile phones all rely on these waves, even in today’s age.  Your microwave oven too, uses electromagnetic waves in order to enter the food, and heat it quickly.

Arthur C. Clarke

Yes, the science fiction writer. But more than often his work tended to be a precursor to science fact, including in the field of telecommunications. Clarke proposed in an article published in 1945 about the use of geostationary satellites in order to ensure world-wide communication coverage.

The interesting part about this is that the report was set 12 years before Sputnik-1, the world’s first artificial earth satellite, was launched by Soviet Russia. While not the inventor of the geostationary satellites themselves, the concept of using them as ideal relays for telecommunication was one that would serve as an integral part of the world’s communication systems for years to come.

Alexander Graham Bell

The field of telecommunications is synonymous with the name of Alexander Graham Bell as one of its key figures. From making the first telephone to carrying out the first conference call, Bell has been integral as a person responsible for Telecommunications to evolve radically.

It is interesting to note how in 1878 he had made the following prediction as quoted : “It is conceivable that cables of telephone wires could be laid underground or suspended overhead communicating by branch wires with private dwellings, country house, shops, factories etc., uniting them through the main cable with a central office where the wires could be connected as desired establishing direct communications between any two places in the city. Such a plan as this, although impracticable (now), will, I firmly believe, be the outcome of the introduction of the telephone to the public. Not only so, but I believe, in the future, wires will unite the head office of the telephone company in different cities, and a man in one part of the country may communicate by word of mouth with another in a different place.”

Knowing that establishing direct connections only by wires was not going to be feasible, Bell also had developed another method that could map any phone to another phone without a direct connection, known as a switch to better route the calls.

As a result this required fewer lines were needed for connecting callers. This technology would serve as the prelude to Public Switch Telephone Networks, which still are used  in Telecommunications to this day under landlines. MultiCall too, uses this as a bridge for group calls, after data is used to initiate them.

Samuel Morse

Even in this day and age, you would have likely heard of an old communication medium known as the Morse code. This was a code consisting of dots and dashes, among which the most well-known message code under this was the ‘SOS’ utilized by ships in distress.

As the name suggests, Samuel Morse was the inventor of  this code. Besides giving communication a new form of language, he also was the inventor of the electromagnetic recording telegraph. At the age of 41, he had created the first render o his electrical telegraph. This would be publicly demonstrated in 1837. By 1844, Morse also transmitted first message from Washington D.C. to Baltimore in the United States; a distance of roughly 60 kilometers.

Alessandro Volta

While we often complain of our batteries and seek out phones with better capacity, we tend to forget that the ability to have one itself would not have been possible without the work of Alessandro Volta, who extensively studied the generation of electricity by means of chemical action.  The main outcome of this particular work would be the invention of the first electrical cell, the forerunner of the electrical battery which continues to be the primary power supply for many portable telecommunication devices at present.

From connecting a two-party call back in Bell’s time in about 10 minutes, to an instant call with many more individuals under a solution like MultiCall, each step forward in the evolution the telecommunications field stands distinct owing to the work of multiple individuals such as the five above.

“I do not think that the wireless waves I have discovered will have any practical application.” – Heinrich Hertz

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