Major trends occurring in the field of telecommunications have a significant impact on management decisions in this area. Informed managerial end users should be aware of major trends in telecommunications industries, technologies, and applications that significantly increase the decision alternatives confronting computer using Organizations.
The competitive arena for telecommunications services has changed dramatically in the United States, from a few government-regulated monopolies to many fiercely competitive suppliers of telecommunications services. With the breakup of AT&T and the Bell System in 1984, telecommunications services are available from a variety of telecommunications companies offering long-distance telephone service, communications satellites, and many other services, as well as from smaller companies specializing in selected telecommunications equipment and services, such cellular radio and electric mail.
Telecommunications is being revolutionized by a change from analog to digital technologies. Telecommunications has always depends on voice-oriented analog transmission systems designed to transmit the variable electrical frequencies generated by the sound waves of the human voice. However, telecommunications technology is rapidly converting to digital transmission systems, which transmit information in the form of discrete pulses, as computers do, rather then waves. Digital transmission systems greatly enhance the use of computer-based communications control devices and communications media. This provides
- Significantly higher transmission speeds.
- The movement of larger amounts of larger amounts of information.
- Greater economy.
- Much lower error rates than analog systems.
Another major trend in telecommunications technology is a change in communications media. Many telecommunications networks are switching from copper wire-based media (such as coaxial cable) and land-based microwave relay systems to fiber optic lines and communications satellite transmissions. Fiber optic transmission, which uses pulses of laser-generated light, offers significant advantages in terms of reduced size and installation effort, vastly greater communication capacity and freedom from electrical interference. Satellite transmission offers significant advantages in speed and capacity for organizations that need to transmit massive quantities of data over long distances.
The changes in telecommunications industries and technologies just mentioned are causing a significant change in the business use of telecommunications. The trend toward more vendors, services, and advanced technologies dramatically increase the number of feasible applications. Thus, telecommunications is playing a more important role in support of the operations, management, and strategic objectives of both large and small companies. An organization’s telecommunications function is no longer relegated to office telephone systems, long-distance calling arrangements, and a limited .amount of data communications with corporate mainframes.