Telecommunications in the 21st Century

David G. MESSERSCHMITT

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E76-B    No.1    pp.3-11
Publication Date: 1993/01/25
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER
Category: 
Keyword: 
telecommunications,  future,  information,  

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Summary: 
The term telecommunications is derived from "tele", meaning at a distance, and "communications", meaning exchanging of information. The history of electronic communications has thus far been applied to the exchange of spoken, visual, and or textual information between pairs of people, pairs of machines, and people and machines. The role of telecommunications has been to provide a medium for the exchange of the information, with the burden placed on the communicating people or machines to initiate the communication and to interpret or process the information being exchanged. In this paper we attempt to predict some future trends in telecommunications, reaching into the next century. Such predictions are inevitably incomplete, inaccurate, or both. Nevertheless, it is a useful exercise to try to anticipate these trends, and more importanly the issues and problems that will arise in the future, as a way of focusing near-term research efforts and suggesting opportunities. One of our hypotheses about the future is that telecommunications networks will become much more active in initiating, controlling, and participating in the exchange of information. Our approach will be to first review some particularly important past developments, and then to try to predict the future in two ways: First, by extrapolating present trends and activities, and second, by criticizing current trends and anticipating problems looming on the horizon.