Communication Revolution: The world is under the grip of a 'communication revolution' is seen in many ways. This revolution is considered as the 'third wave' of global revolution. The 'first wave' of revolution is the 'green revolution' while the 'second wave' of revolution is that of the 'industrial revolution'. The two revolutions (agricultural, industrial) have made a revolutionary change in the development of humankind. It is expected that the third revolution of communication would bring about changes in the world that would surpass all changes that occurred in the earlier revolutions. It has made possible the belief that it is 'One World'. It would also integrate people of all world, in all directions, is talked about throughout.
As the first impact of the appropriate activities of the information technology, the world has begun to shrink. It has now become possible to send the information contained in ten books in a few seconds to a distant place: broadcasting has given way to narrow-casting.
How has this been possible? Let us now look at the historical developments in information and telecommunications, as they are useful to us. Never before in human history has knowledge been so enormous. Also, we have never possessed such communication abilities as we do now. We may consider these information and telecommunications technologies as the problem-solving strategies and facilities. It is even possible to integrate the wealthy North countries with the poverty-stricken South countries in the good cause of amenity expansion, catalysing development, increasing literacy, alleviation of poverty through altruism, nature restoration, world management, promoting peace and humanising the world through these technologies.
Language and New Technologies: In human history, the languages were split and developed as the populations spread and multiplied. Some cultures have gifted their cultures and languages to the outsiders and brought to themselves laurels. Language has alone become the vehicle of communication. Some of these languages have now become the languages of law, administration and the official use through speech, writing and printing.
In some cultures, the languages have been identified as the 'human identities'. English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic are being used by the multitude. Similarly, some of the regional and local dialects are being used as the languages of communication among the peoples. All of these languages offer information through the newspapers, radios and television. All new innovations in technology use languages as the interfaces in the information exchange. Some signal languages are used in the communication with the computers.
Ancient Telecommunications: In telecommunications, all information is conveyed through symbols. The African drummers communicated messages through sound. Smoke signals were in use among some tribes as a means of telecommunications. Flags and pictorials were used as auxiliaries to telecommunications.
Printing Revolution: Then came printing techniques. The machine-published books became the primary sources of information besides reaching most of the world population. The 19th century steam driven printing press gave way to the machines which operated with the electricity and depended on composing. Next came lithopress. Photocopying created a revolution in copying. This is even now in use. In this computer age, printing has become simple through desktop publication. The book in your hands has been published using the computer publishing.
Telegraph and Telephones: The first ever electrically operated telegraphic equipment came into use in the year 1837. Subsequently, in 1867, the telephone was born. These have served humankind for more than a century in the exchange of information. Joining with the computers and satellites in telecommunications, the telephones have revolutionised the internal and international information exchanges. As a ' two-way communication' and a ' communication without codes', telephones have become a communication link with no match to its versatility.
Radio: Radio broadcasting - especially continuous one - came into vogue in the year 1922. Radio has acquired the epithet 'the vehicle of social change' in a few years- time. It had a very distinctive role in the green revolution of the developing countries. It is also being used as the primary communication link in the population control. It is not only useful to the educated, but even more so to the uneducated. But this is under the Government control. In some western countries, it is also being used as the communication medium in the private sector radio broadcasting. With the telephone, this has made history in individual related communication, too.
Television: Sound and light based communication was first begun in 1936. This is the television era, which has made possible a 'reception room revolution', using the cinematographic techniques. Yet, in some countries it has earned the name 'the idiot box', which it does not deserve. This is now an instrument changing the perception of the world population. However, television has coverage of a mere 15 per cent of the population in the poor South countries which hold 75 per cent of the world population. In the North countries, it is rare to see a place or a home without television. In some countries, the telecast is through more than 100 channels. The necessary information they provide, recreational and entertainment fares they offer and the knowledge based telecasts are numerous. Yet, where the cinema impacts more readily on the population as in the developing countries, the hold of the television on the population is minimal.
Deep Sea Telegraphic Lines: These are a communication link among the many countries which have developed quite fast in both telegraphic and telephonic communication. A deep sea line in 1980 carried some 5,000 telephonic links. Now there have been several developments. Many countries are not only connected by the deep sea telegraphic lines but they use them in an important way, too.
The Satellite Power: The first ever satellite is Sputnik 1. This was launched in 1957. It is estimated that over 15,000 satellites have orbited the earth in space. Some have burnt themselves while returning to the earth, in the atmosphere. The 180 satellites sent up by the United States of America are all in use. The 100 satellites sent up by the former Soviet Union are still in operation. Among the 16 satellites launched by India, none failed. They have completed successfully their mission, besides helping with the resources appraisal and in international communication.
As for geography, the images received from these satellites play a vital role in the assessment of resources. They form the spatial database for mapping through the GIS. It is not only easy to analyse the problems that the country faces but also develop solutions using the products of maps and their interpretations. In the operation of satellites, computers have a significant role. It would be otherwise difficult to receive images from the satellites and process them in the lab, were it not for the development of computers. In resources appraisal, the images that we receive from the satellites have a large role to play.
Generations of Computers: Computers have been developed in a very rapid succession. Present day computers are considered theFifth Generation computers. The first used simple valves. The second generation computers used the transistors. The third has been developed using integrated circuits. And the fourth uses microchips. The microchips are still being used in the fifth generation computers; there are also other technologies in the field of computers.
Computers are useful in telecommunications in two important ways.
1. They act as storages and retrieval media when required.
2. They have a major role in international information exchange through Electronic Mail (E-mail) and international telecommunications.
One World, One People
The world, the flora and fauna and humans are all intricately intertwined in a relationship. There is no gainsaying the fact that one depends on the other. Yet, strangely, it is a Divided World. It is divided and differentiated as the North and the South, Developed and Developing and the Rich and the Poor.
We have no appropriate allies for eliminating these differences than the very telecommunication media. In recent times, the idea that ' We are a single people, All belong to this world, There is only One World and the People will be integrated' is gradually taking roots in the world.