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Looking Back Over the Progress of Communication Technology

When you look back over the progress made in communication, a lot has been accomplished in the past two decades. But turn back the hands of time even further, and you’ll be amazed at how communication technology has progressed and changed. Each advancement that’s been made comes with its own set of pros and cons. Some changes and new types of communication are received more favorably by consumers, while others are not. Yet it’s fun to look back over the past 150+ years and see how far we’ve come in terms of communication technology.

  • The Pony Express. The Pony Express was in operation for a mere 18 months, but it revolutionized the way that mail was delivered. Back in the day when letter-writing was the fastest way to communicate, you could expect it to take weeks for your letter to travel a few hundred miles. But the Pony Express promised to deliver a letter 1,900 miles, from Missouri to California, in 10 days.
  • Invention of the Telephone. Although Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone, many inventors contributed toward this communication device for more than 40 years before Bell made the first phone call in 1875.
  • The World Wide Web. In 1970, it was predicted that satellite technology would one day allow consumers to have knowledge and news from around the world at their fingertips. Nineteen years later, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau created the WWW prototype. By the early to mid-90s, many households had a computer in the home. After logging on to the Internet, you could expect a page to load within 10 or so minutes.
  • Cellphones. Although cellphones weren’t available to consumers until the early 90s, scientists at Bell Labs began discussing cell-based telephone communication as early as 1947. As of 2012, eighty-seven percent of Americans had a cellphone, with 45 percent of those being smartphones.
  • Text Message. The first alphanumeric messages were sent from New York to London in 1920 via radio. Nowadays, we think of text messaging as messages sent from cellphone to cellphone. More than 75 percent of cellphone users worldwide use text messages to converse with others privately and for business purposes.
  • What Next? Who knows? Perhaps we’ll be communicating with holographic technology in the coming years or telepathically. It’s clear that technological advances in communication are certain to result in more efficient methods of connecting with people from around the world.

It’s clear to see that communication technology is now progressing more rapidly than it did nearly a century ago. With its increased pace, it’s exciting to imagine what could happen in the coming decades. One hundred years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine communicating with others via a mobile telephone, let alone through text messaging or email. Ideas such as these would have been laughed at and quickly dismissed. Who knows how we’ll be communicating 100 years from now. More than likely, we’ll be doing so in ways we can’t fathom right now.

Charlie Curtis-Jones writes for, a leading supplier of radio communication equipment. Brentwood Radios offers sales & support on two way radio solutions for communication needs.

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