Telecom 99:...imagine a world without fax machines, mobile telephones and e-mail, no internet, no world wide web....

Fonction Cover Story

History has shown that technological changes - the wheel, the printing press, the telephone - can revolutionise the way people live. So too has telecommunications changed every aspect of our lives.

"Imagine a world where most people don't use fax machines because they are too expensive and too slow. Imagine a world without mobile phones, pocket calculators, microprocessors or personal computers. Imagine a world without email - a world where only four computers are hooked up to the Internet and the World Wide Web doesn't exist. Imagine a world without Microsoft. Hard to imagine, isn't it?"

But that's how the world was back in 1970, the year before TELECOM, now the world's biggest telecom event, was staged for the first time. The above words come from the welcome brochure of TELECOM 99 + INTERACTIVE 99 exhibition and forum, the most significant ever gathering of the world's telecommunications community.

Advances in technology have been nothing short of dramatic since that first TELECOM gathering in Geneva. That year alone Microsoft was founded, IBM invented the floppy disk and Ted Hoff invented the processor. Since then the speed of change has been electrifying; the very nature of how we communicate has changed.

Cellular phones and the internet are revolutionising the way we communicate. Who could have predicted that more than 200 million people would now own mobile phones, that there are close to 50 million Internet hosts and over one million web sites.

As this century comes to a close, telecommunications will continue to change our lives. Third generation mobile systems due out in 2001 will no longer be called mobile phones but personal communicators with the ability to play games, use e-commerce sites, make calls, faxes and emails all from a small hand-held unit.

Exciting developments like this, and important trends in telecommunications will be showcased at the TELECOM 99/INTERACTIVE 99 which runs from 10 October to 17 October at the Palexpo in Geneva. Government leaders, carriers, equipment suppliers, content providers, investors and the media will converge for eight days to review global developments and help shape the future of communications throughout the world. TELECOM provides the industry with excellent opportunities to present...

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