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Harmonization of Network Capabilities and New Customer Services.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. I am honored to be addressing you today at this I.T.U. Telecom '83 Forum on Telecommunications Policy, Economics and Finance. I am particularly pleased because I am able to carry on a tradition set by other members of my corporation's senior managemnt who have also been panelists at previous Telecom meetings.

In my role as Chairman of RCA Communications, I am responsible for our domestic satellite operations, an on-line data communications network and an international communications organization.

From the international perspective, I am reminded almost daily of the importance to our users of the cooperation that exists between companies such as mine in the United States and the telecommunications administrations of the nations represented in Geneva for this meeting. The agreements among us are the foundations for communication networks that have turned this globe of villages into a global village.

When the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union spoke at the PTC meeting earlier this year, he referred to the worldwide communications network as "the largest machine in the world."

Mr. Butler also called it a "marvel of the century." Could any one of us disagree? Especially when we recall that in 1982 there were 550 million telephones, 560 million television sets, 1.4 million telex terminals and thousands of data networks and other specialized transmission networks within the global network?

Since the first primitive man beat a warning message against the trunk of a fallen tree, we have devoted talent and ingenuity to devising means of communication that are efficient, flexible and fast. Signal fires. Couriers. Semaphores. Flashing lantern lights. Telegraph over wires and then over the airwaves. The telephone. Radio. Even television represent many centuries of developments in communication technology.

But since the invention of the transistor a little more than thirty years ago, communication technology has advanced with the speed of the rockets that launch the newest satellites. The computer of thirty years ago seems as far away as messengers on horseback three hundred years ago.

Clearly, one of the challenges that faces those of us who are in the business of communication is keeping up with what is being done in research and development.

While we marvel at the new technologies, we must find the means for translating them into applications that have substance and meaning for our customers. Business Environment Changes

Today managers of communication companies and communications managers alike are themselves faced with many new challenges. Such as the advent of the digital age in communications and what might be called the "ripple effect; of deregulation of telecommunications in the United States. And today not only are there new ways of offering traditional services, but also there are a whole host of new services, and suppliers who can make the services, old and new, available to end users.

Let me take a moment to describe briefly what is going on in the United States today with regard to telecommunications. From an international point of view, there have been two important changes: First, the movement toward deregulation of record communication, which has opened the field to new competition. And second, the deregulation of international voice communication, about which I'll speak in more detail later on.

On the domestic side, the international record carriers have only recently entered the arena of message and data transmission within the United States.

In a very short period of time--just about a year and a half--all the major international carriers have assembled domestic networks and are able to provide end-to-end service to customers both overseas and among locations within the United States. Some of you have also begun to experience increased competition. There are more carriers with which you can make connections. And you are able to choose from the wide variety of services and service enhancements available from these carriers.

The demand for enhanced services from the customers you serve has created a ripple effect. You are seeking both the software and the hardware the new technologies require. More than one manufacturer of computers and peripheral equipment for advanced telecommunications services is unable to meet the increased demands. Backlogged orders are becoming a serious problem.

Systems engineers are also feeling the pressure of stepped-up software needs. How often it seems to all of us who are service providers that no sooner is one new system or service in place, than our customers are hammering down our doors looking for a new enhancement or a better service.

Please don't misunderstand, however--these are the unmistakable signs of a healthy and growing industry. Like the lusty cries of a healthy child to its mother, our customers' calls for new and improved service are music to our ears.

I am aware that some of you, for whom telecommunications has previously been not only regulated by your government, but also administered by it, are beginning to experience competition from private sources. Although this is a new environment, it will benefit the end user and speed the availability of state-of-the-art telecommunications technologies.

I would like to spend some time today talking with you about several services. Some are new and some are now available through new sources. I think they exemplify how we are using existing networks and building new ones to meet the growing needs of our customers.

I will also touch quickly on the growth of the personal computer revolution in the United States and around the world. International Information Retrieved

For several years international telex subscribers have had access to a variety of data and information retrieval networks. Some for a fee and others for just the cost of a telex call. Transactional data networks, such as Tymnet, Telenet and RCAhs XNET in the United States, have provided links to host computers.

Information in these data bases has grown to be an essential tool for management decision makers. Market statistics, economic forecasting programs, scholarly abstracts are as near as the closest teleprinter. As the "information age" has grown, the wealth of information available through these transactional networks has also grown.

Of particular interest and importance is the fact that developing nations have come to rely on the sophisticated and specialized information networks that connect them with advanced technologies and sciences.

Educational institutions in these nations can have almost instant access to knowledge that is vital for the training of future leaders in government, the arts, science, and so forth.

The world has become smaller and the international marketplace has become as accessible as the local farmers' market once was. Business men and private citizens hve grown to depend on up-to-the-minute information from such diverse sources as foreign currency exchanges, stock markets, and commodity markets. This timely, business-related information is now also available from several sources through the worldwide telex network. International Enhanced Data Nets

We anticipate that very soon on-line interactive data networks will be available to international telecommunications customers. These networks offer customers constant access to host computers by means of a permanent virtual circut and synchronous communication capability. They will be satellite based and will provide end-to-end netowrk management and diagnostics at a fixed monthly cost. Customers will enjoy immediate access to information without repeated dial-ups to access the data base.

This kind of service is particularly appealing to anyone who needs to obtain information about inventories, account balances or bookings. It is a particular asset to the financial, manufacturing, service and transportation industries. We expect to make these new data networks available through existing communication networks. And we envision their rapid growth in terms of both popularity and new business opportunities. International Paging Services

Another new service being developed is international paging. This new service--which has been called "pocket telex"--will bring information and messages to business people, professionals and travelers where ever they may be. We will soon see a pocket-sized paging device that not only "beeps", but also has an alphanumeric display. It will print out telephone numbers, stock quotations, new items and traditional telex-type messages.

These pagers will also have memories, perhaps as great as one thousand characters, to store data and messages for later retrieval. Subscribers will have within theri reach the same information available to them in their offices. And access to the host of specialized communication networks that are springing up every day.

We believe this international paging will enhance productivity as well as revolutionize business and personal communication. Discussions are already going on with several telecommunication administrations and we anticipate the service will be available in major metropolitan areas in Western Europe early in 1984. Electronic Mail

Another new service which will operate over an existing network is electronic mail. The same packet switched network that transmits much of our current data retrieval information services will also be used for this "mailbox" service.

Electronic mail began as an unofficial method of getting around the problems of time zones and busy telephone lines. Clever telex users discovered they could send brief messages that were stored in data terminals for pick up at convenient times.

This informal development became more popular as data terminals became simpler to operate and smaller. Some can now even be carried in briefcases, and we expect they will be pocekt-sized in the foreseeable future.

Many people look upon electronic mail as an important part of the "paperless" office of the future. Since most messasges sent through this network will be brief, many will be read and erased. Those that must be saved can be held in the terminal's memory or, if necessary, can be printed out for a permanent copy. The service, therefore, will combine some of the best features of telex and the telephone, at a very low cost.

The greatest problem facing international electronic mail is the need for standards that will allow various systems to interconnect. We expect that this road block will be addresse and overcome very soon.

Then service providers will have to clear the next hurdle--developing a directory, similar to the international telex directory, so that electronic mail customers from all the systems will be able to locate each other.

We believe there is tremendous potential for this service, and we anticipate that by 1990 it will be an important facet in the spectrum of international telecommunications services available to consumers. International TV Transmission

International television transmission is nothing new to any of us. For years now we have all enjoyed the pageantry of a royal wedding in London. The excitement of a boxing match in Manila. The exhilaration of a space shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral. All live and in color at the moment it happened, thousands of miles away.

We now see increased opportunities for providing international television programming, such as a recent development within RCA, when a performance of the opera Don Carlo was transmitted live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City by RCA Communications' domestic satellite network, to the international earth station in Maine. From there, the signal was sent via RCA Global Communications' to Europe via Intelsat.

We believe there is a real future for this kind of cooperative television transmission, especially as the relationship between Comsat, the United States' Intelsat representative, and the private satellite carriers changes. Assuming carriers in the U.S. Are allowed to access Intelsat facilities directly, we foresee increased opportunities for live television transmissions of all kinds. Surely this will increase the exchange of both cultural and informational programming and, we hope, understanding among participating nations. International Voice

We also foresee benefits ensuing from the opening of international voice markets to competition. Telecommunication adminitrations will for the first time have a real choice in choosing American voice carriers with whom to do business. Competition within the United States should speed the development of new services such as digital voice networks which will simplify synchronous voice and data transmission. We are looking forward to offering our services, both domestically and internationally, in an atmosphere that is fully competitive and best serves the needs of consumers. PCs and Word Processors

Before I close, I would like to speak very briefly about the personal computer revolution in the United States. One observer has suggested that someday the personal computer, or its close cousin the word processor, will be as common as a ball point pen is today.

An overstatement, perhaps, but clearly these offspring of the computer revolution begun thirty years ago are here to stay. There has recently been some softening in the hardware market in the U.S., but that is to be expected after such tremendous growth. And software demand, development and sales are holding strong.

Recently RCA and other telecommunications companies began offering a so-called "computer to telex" service which enables the owner of a personal computer ot ue it as a telex terminal. With a small investment for a modem and software, anyone with a terminal and a telephone can access the wealth of services available to telex customers.

The response to this service from business and professional people and from private citizens has been phenomenal. Where it will lead is anyone's guess at this point.

I understand that outside the United States, individual ownership of personal computers is also expanding. When we think of the soon-to-be realized potential of teletex and a burgeoning network of terminal owners, the possbilites for communication are overwhelming. The only barriers between us will be those our creative and scientific imaginations cannot overcome.

I am reminded of the well-known author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke who has been living for several years in Sri Lanka. He asserts that both his travel and his telephone bills have decreased dramatically because he now has access to an Intelsat earth station and his own personal computer. His most recent novel, 2010: Odyssey Two was written from his home on Sri Lanka, transmitted via satellite to his publisher in New York City, then edited through the computer from galley to final proofs--no hard copy was ever exchanged.

I think that's the direction we're headed in. Total communication capabilities from a single terminal, or yet-to-be-designed unit, that will be available to anyone who wants it. The flow of information and ideas will continue without interruption. I'm excited about what's ahead and confident that with the leadership the I.T.U., the dynamic moves of the telecommunication industry, the administrations and carriers, and the support of customers requiring new and improved services, what lies ahead will be a benefit to us all.
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Author:Murphy, E.F.
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:transcript
Date:Jan 1, 1984
Previous Article:Responding to User Needs...with Services for Today and Tomorrow.
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