ioeo telph0nes by Dan Lloyd By courtesy of the Post Office LMOST a hundred country are also experimenting years ago in January with the viewphone system and 1876 eight words were expect some 5 million subscri- spoken into the very first bers by the end of the century telephone by Alexander Post Office scientists visualise a Graham Bell They were national network linking not only Mr Watson please come business users but also home here I want you Seconds subscribers to local communi- later his breathless assistant cations centres providing a burst in and criedIcould hear you It works variety of educational services Subscribers would be equip- Since that historical message telecommunications have under gone enormous developments Spacemen on the Moon can talk to Mission HQ on Earth for example-something Jules Verne never even dreamed o ped with a two-way viewphone instrument comprising a viewer camera and loudspeaker system and a separate unit incorporat- ing a microphone and control panel giving access to the local communications centre - The telephone itself has been transformed from a cumbersome looking instrument into a tiny Users could be provided with a small card bearing a personal code and by inserting this card gadget that can fit into the breast in a slot in the control panel any viewphone Pushbuttons desired service could be obtain- ed simply by keying-up the required numerals on the touch buttons For example by press- ABOVE The Post Office to do some remote-control shop act in the f re it will be unnecessary to leave the house to order the groceries or obtain one's bank statement The business uses of the view- phone system are immense for BELOW The picturephone not only will it enable top execu- system of Bell Telephone tives to save time but also docu- ments letters and diagrams could be transmitted by placing photosensitive paper in contact with ultra-violet radiations emit- This makes it possible for policemen firemen and building-site workers to keep in touch with their control centres allow a sound-and-picture call or sound only po Now the viewphone is on the ing certain buttons the user could tune in to a television channel a library an information channel a bank or the local supermarket way This is a system that enables telephone talkers to see as well as hear each other Several major cities in the USA and Japan have already installed experimental viewphone or picturephone systems and they have been a great success Company of America ted by the emit The only snag to making eye- ball contact with a telephone caller of course is that the phone might ring when the recipient is in bed or in the bath ted by the receiving viewer among business executives Instead of having to attend conferences and make long busi- ness trips they have simply talked to each other face to face on the viewphone In one instance a model building was shown on the screen and execu- tives approved its design with- out having to go and see the or in the middle of shaving And it's the boss at the other end perhaps the best thing to do would be to disconnect the camera and say it's out of order It's bad enough having a spy in the sky without having one in the demonstration GPO engineers in this bedroom too! Countdown at 23 scifiseries Video Telephones 1971 “in the future it will be unnecessary to leave the house to order the groceries or to obtain one’s bank statement” Meme

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