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

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 technological challenges. Over the years the event has been responsible for showcasing many of the advances we now take for granted: ISDN, satellite broadcasting, and cellular telephones to name but a few. TELECOM also plays an important role by bringing together industry and governments to exchange views and create partnerships which boost telecoms in areas where it is needed most: the developing world.

The event is organised by the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Without the work of the ITU, simple day-to-day communicating would be nearly impossible. Making phone calls, sending faxes or air traffic control could not be done. Even man could not have landed on the moon. For the ITU defines and adopts telecom standards that allow systems to talk to each other. It regulates the use of the radio frequency spectrum which allows broadcast and TV signals and aircraft communications to be interference free. The ITU also furthers telecoms developments around the world. Dating back to the 1800s, it is the world's oldest intergovernmental institution with 188 member states. It is without doubt the world's largest and most influential telecommunications organisation, and with telecommunications being the third largest sector of the global economy, behind only healthcare and banking, the ITU is also a major influence in world economic activity.


The exhibition will showcase products and services in the following areas: mobile telephony, fixed-mobile convergence, the internet, computers and IT in telecoms, intelligent networks, converged and value-added services, satellite systems, cable and other new technologies.


Influential leaders and key figures meet to discuss ideas that shape the next millennium: policy and regulatory summit, infrastructure (networks and systems) summit, interactive summit, telecom development summit and combined sessions.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Swiss News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Comment:The TELECOM 99/INTERACTIVE 99 exhibition and forum at the Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, will bring together various leaders from the government and private sector to discuss current and future market trends.
Publication:Swiss News
Article Type:Cover Story
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Oct 1, 1999
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