Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

OMG LOL! Alexander Graham Bell and the future of mobile

September 4, 2015

*ring ring*

*ring ring* Yes, hello! I’m calling with the latest in our series of British British and Irish inventors (You can see previous editions here!) – today I’m dialling-in Alexander Graham Bell – inventor of the telephone. He was a pretty inspiring chap…

From an early age Bell was already showing signs of greatness, casually making his first invention at 12 – a homemade device for de-husking wheat. Niche.

It was at this age his mother gradually started to go deaf. It was a tough experience, but it encouraged him to study acoustics, and he would later become a leading force in deaf studies.

After moving across the Atlantic, Bell became fascinated with the idea of being able to transmit speech and by 1875 had come up with a simple receiver that could turn electricity into sound.

Debate rages over who was the *actual* inventor of the telephone, but Bell was the man who secured the first patent in 1876. And deservedly so.

In the first ever phone call, Bell rang through next door to speak to his assistant, Thomas Watson. The words: “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you” would echo through the ages.

The Scotsman was a true visionary. After the success of the telephone Bell wrote to his dad (why not call?!) where he predicted a world where “friends converse with each other without leaving home”.

Spot on! But could he have ever envisaged what things would look like today? We’ve gone from a wire cable to signals through the air, now the smartphone is king.

Ofcom recently revealed that smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online. The regulator said record levels of ownership and usage is “transforming the way we communicate.”

Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the Internet, access social media, bank and shop online.

By my maths skills that’s an average of 14 hours a week, two and a half days a month, or an ENTIRE month a year.

Wow. Maybe we should rename November, ‘Mobevember’…

So what does the future like?

The smartphone has clearly changed the game, completely altering our consumption habits for media, communications and everything else in between.

And those little devices sat in our pockets will only grow in importance.

Data will get smarter, with our devices interacting with everything around us, palm-feeding us richer, more contextual, and more useful data. A world where the phone practically does it all for us…

And with an estimated 50bn devices connected to the Internet by 2020 that’s a hell of a lot of data.

On top of that, you may have heard the pretty awesome news about Cisco teaming up with a little-known tech company by the name of Apple. A partnership made in heaven, which also underlines why mobile in the workplace is only going to get more important…

So what would Bell think of the modern day and the way his device has revolutionised communications and personal interaction? Well surprisingly it’s said that he refused the installation of a telephone in his study – he considered it to be a distraction to his work as a scientist. So if you wanted to get in touch with 21st century Bell, you’d probably have to do it the old-fashioned way and pop round for a cuppa rather than through WhatsApp!

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