From Smoke Signals to Zangi: 5 Major Telecom Innovations

Today, Zangi users know how easy it is to make uninterrupted voice and video calls around the world on any bandwidth. However, life wasn’t always this easy. Telecom innovations have come a long way since our medieval ancestors mastered the use of carrier pigeons as a means of transmission.

Though we know that ancient humans used smoke signals, or fire beacons to share messages for millennia, those primitive forms of communication were very limited in scope. These methods required a clear line of sight and acclimate weather for messages to be transmitted. Only those who knew the prearranged codes would be able to understand the meaning of these visual symbols, and even then, they were limited to very basic ideas. For instance, a fire burning might mean “We need help”.

The Lord of The Rights might have ended much sooner if Gondor could use Zangi Messenger. Thus, here are the biggest telecom innovations which made Zangi possible today:

#1 – Semaphore Line

Though the Romans perfected horse courier networks, and pigeons were used for messaging up until World War One, the first “real time” communication network was developed by the Frenchman, Claude Chappe at the turn of the 19th century. His system, the Semaphore line, was essentially a network of visual telegraph machines, which could transmit more complex messages across the country quite rapidly.

 semaphore line telecom innovations

A set of symbols was prepared to represent certain meanings. Operators would place them in specific patterns on top of a tower to transmit messages to another tower in visual range. This process would continue until a message made it from one end of the network to the other.

#2 – Telegraph

Though the Semaphore revolutionized communications of its day with (almost) instant messaging, it had its limitations. It was expensive. Only one message could be transmitted at once, and it was still slow. It wasn’t long until it was eclipsed, and then fully replaced by the technology disruptor of its day, the electrical telegraph machine.

The telegraph was essentially the first-ever electronic telecommunication system in existence. Though some experimentation with the underlying technology took place in the 18th century, the telegraph really came to fruition thanks to the work of the English inventor, Francis Ronalds. He successfully transmitted a message from one side of his family’s estate to another using an overhead wire and static electricity in 1816.

telegraph, telecom innovations

By then, it was only a matter of time before new improvements to the telegraph’s range and power output turned it into the dominant method for long-range communication. Militaries across the world abandoned the semaphore and the Pony Express in favor of this new machine.

Telegraph technology built a platform for further telecom innovations, including commercial telegrams, teleprinters, and more. Telegraph machines were able to handle more and more telegrams, while the unit cost dipped sharply. Transatlantic cables permitted the immediate transmission of news across continents. Breaking stories would hit the presses on the same day, instead of days or weeks.

This technology was so influential that companies continued to offer telegram services despite the adoption of telephones, cellular technology, and the Internet. The Western Union only discontinued its telegram service as recently as 2006, while the Indian telecom giant, BSNL was reportedly the last in the world to discontinue its service in 2013.

#3 – Radio

Despite being developed at the same time as the telegraph machine, transistor radios were, for a time, the only method of quickly disseminating information to large audiences. Everything from presidential speeches and debates, news bulletins, propaganda, to advertisements found a home in radio. Though it took 30 years, it wasn’t long until the technology was found in the average family home.

radio telecom innovations

#4 – Telephone

The Victorian Era was definitely an interesting time for innovators. Cars, trains, airplanes, electricity, and all the other mundane apparatus of 21st century daily life were all making their appearances then. Jules Verne’s classic ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ made a point of showing how modern technology had effectively shrunk the planet. One such invention, the telephone, completely revolutionized the way we communicate. If the telegram was the 19th century’s version of MSN Messenger, the Telephone was…well..the iPhone of its day.
phone, telecom innovations

From the day Alexander Graham Bell uttered the words “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you” in 1876, the telephone has revolutionized the way we communicate. Though initially, the communication of choice for the elite, competition between operators, and innovation introduced the telephone to every family home quite rapidly. This technology changed the way companies did business, and how governments functioned. Just as the Internet allows us to get instant access to anything today, the telephone allowed relief agencies to get instant updates from disaster zones, convey orders for military planners, and allow telemarketers to reach every home connected to a line.

The telephone, just like today’s Internet was criticized for privacy concerns, putting certain companies out of business and more. Eventually, with the adaptation of cellular technology, phones became ever smaller and ever more portable.

#5 – The Internet 

The Internet tops most lists as one obviously of the most revolutionary telecom innovations of our era. Born out of an early military communication network, the Internet has evolved to shape our daily lives like never before. This cultural phenomenon has changed the way we interact with our environment on so many levels. Location-Independent work, remote learning, virtual collaboration are taking over thanks to Internet penetration.

As the Internet continues to evolve, so does our interaction technology. If the First Internet Revolution connected people to information services, and the Second Internet Revolution connected users to each other, the Third Internet Revolution now connects users with machines and machines with each other. The fast growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that your fridge can order its own groceries when they run low, and your toaster can write poetry.

The Internet has also fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Email and social media have made it easier than ever to interact virtually, receive information, date, and pretty much everything else. The introduction of VoIP services has quietly begun to disrupt the dominant telecom industry. A great example of this is the Zangi app which is decentralized and encrypted which means that the server doesn’t keep your communication history.

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