Wireless may well be the description for the next installment of the information age.
But that does not mean land lines are a thing of the past.
Kevin Larson, Crosslake Communications general manager, said the biggest growth in e-commerce will be company to company. Wireless will undoubtedly continue to grow. But with reliability and privacy issues for both cellular and digital communications, Larson said companies are still going to use land lines to do major amounts of business.
"I believe we will do more and more with wireless," he said. "Is it going to make land line obsolete? Absolutely not. ... There is always going to be a need for the privacy of a land line for the huge amounts of business data."
Judy Rothenberger, Consolidated Telephone in Brainerd, said a recent meeting looking at the future included a few interesting facts such as the dominant language on the planet. Not English or Chinese, as some guessed, the dominant language is now the binary language of computers with machines conversing to each other more often than people.
Future predictions included the idea that by 2000's final calendar days, telecommunication networks will carry more electronic data than voice. And by 2003, voice will amount to less than 2 percent of the communication traffic. "You can think of it as instead of telephones running on the net, the net will be running on the phone system," Rothenberger said.
She noted predictions called for a drastic fall in cost of communications and the creation of computers 1,000 times faster than today's model. Jobs are forecast to become tasks people preformed. Lifetime employment is expected to disappear as jobs become piecework instead of full-time standard positions experienced by most today.
Only time will tell whether those predictions hold true.
In the meantime, it is known the advances in telecommunications will get more out of that old copper cable, increasing speed and the amount of data it can carry.
"Those technologies are just around the corner," Rothenberger said. "We are going to have all the speed that most people need."
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