20 years ago a report in the Telegraph magazine predicted big things for a new “digital age” to come. So compelling was it that friends Chris and Dave decided to ditch their manufacturing management course and take up computer studies instead. 10 years later they went on to set up 1973 Ltd and another 10 years on we’re now celebrating a decade in business! So with all these neat round numbers, we wonder was it fate, and just what was so inspiring about this article?
Written in 1994 it talks of the ‘Information Superhighway’ – “a global network of computers capable of moving huge amounts of information via satellite and cable” – and explores what impact this will have on our entertainment, education, business, security and daily lives in general.
Reading the article now it’s a great snapshot into the thoughts and developments 20 years ago and highlights how much has changed in a relatively short period of time, with much of the predictions having now materialised. At the time the talk of cyperspace, i-ways and a digital revolution sounded like something from a William Gibson sci-fi novel, but they were fast becoming a reality, which was an exciting prospect for two young lads with a love of computers to behold.
The surreal illustrations by Michael Stones, plus the adverts for typewriters and cassettes must have seemed futuristic at the time but now scream “retro” and seem a lifetime ago. The technology mentioned such as the revolutionary CD-Rom discs have since been surpassed by various other formats, with most content now living “in the cloud”. However most of the predictions are pretty spot on….
Information on demand. Any place. Any time. In the right format. At the right price. Plus instant gratification. You hit the key. You say the word. You get a response.
Professor Peter Cochrane of BT, 1994
A world of information at your fingertips was one of the predictions made and this has certainly come to pass with today’s mobile phones being smarter than the computers were then. 3G connectivity is providing on the go network coverage to an increasing number of areas across the globe, with 4G now being rolled out making connections even faster.
The possibilities opened up by this always connected culture in terms of revenue streams, advertising platforms and social media is seemingly limitless. We have a feeling there’s a long way to go yet, and we’re just glad we chose the path we did to be part of this fascinating and ever-evolving industry. What will be the shape of the next 20 years to come we wonder?