Telecommunications in the 1990s – did they have a crystal ball?
Posted by Sam Calvert
Online trends writer
August 11th 2011 at 12:00
I stumbled across a brilliant video on YouTube this weekend. It’s embedded at the end of this post so you can see it, in all of its 1969 glory (hairstyles, bad Aussie accents and sexism all included).
It was made by the boffins from the Post Office Telecommunications (now BT!) team based in the research division at Dollis Hill in London, and gives a view on what the future of telecommunications might hold in the 1990s. I was amazed at how well they have captured telecommunications today over 40 years ago! Here are a few key takeouts:
Despite the bad ‘steam-punk’ mock-ups of video calling machines, the engineers have brilliantly captured the spirit of video calling now popular via Skype and Facetime, including international calls across the world.
The mortgage broker who looks at a comparison of mortgage rates and affordability is accessing what we would know as an affiliate or aggregator site – similar to Confused.com or Moneysupermarket.com – checking all the rates available so the couple can decide what mortgage to go for.
There is a nod to wireless activity through the use of the woman taking her pager out to wait for calls that might arrive. The engineers have missed one vital step that occurred in the early 80s with the ability to send the voice calls to a wireless device (today’s mobile phone).
The engineer who shows the model of a street and the wide-band cabinet access for data, has basically described a set up for super-fast broadband, now being rolled out across the UK. Amazingly they were thinking of the need to access vast packets of data at home even in 1969.
This all begs the question of what telecommunications advances we expect to see in the 2050s – 40 years from now – will we be able to look into our crystal ball today and see what the future will be like? I’m going to see if I can find an engineer at BT who can tell me what he thinks. Stay tuned.
What do you think of the predictions in the video? Let us know below.
Posted by Tim Guest - July 23rd 2012 at 10:30
Posted by BT Life Newsdesk - January 9th 2012 at 10:30
Posted by Sam Calvert - October 17th 2011 at 10:00
Posted by Ed Kyte - September 12th 2011 at 9:40
Posted by Jacqui Thomas - August 31st 2011 at 10:00
More articles by Sam Calvert
Posted by Sam Calvert - March 20th 2013 at 9:00
Posted by Sam Calvert - July 11th 2012 at 9:00
Posted by Sam Calvert - April 10th 2012 at 12:20
Posted by Sam Calvert - February 24th 2012 at 11:27
Posted by Sam Calvert - January 11th 2012 at 10:41
BT is not responsible for any external content or links uploaded by users of the site. Nor does the presence of information or links about other parties' products or services confer any form of endorsement of another party's products or services by BT. Please visit the BT Life user guide for more information.