The death of the pagerPosted: July 28, 2009
Back in the day anyone who was anyone had a pager, doctors, nurses, business people, firemen, coastguards, IT pros. I even had one myself for a short time.
The pager was in essence one of the most important pieces of technology of its time. It offered for the first time a way to relay small pieces of information to people whilst they where away from a fixed line phone and is the reason why people like Sir Christopher Gent went on to develop the Mobile Phone technology we use today.
The first pager (type) system was introduced way back in 1921 by Detroit Police Department. However, it was not until 1949 that the very first telephone pager was patented. The first successful consumer pager was Motorola’s Pageboy I first introduced in 1974. It had no display and could not store messages, however, it was portable and notified the wearer that a message had been sent.
By 1980, there were 3.2 million pager users worldwide. At that time pagers had a limited range and were used mostly in on-site situations for example when medical workers communicate with each other within a hospital.
By 1990, wide-area paging had been invented and over 22 million pagers were in use. By 1994, there were over 61 million pagers in use and pagers.
But their domonation of communications was not to last, in the early 1990’s as the 2G 900 MHz Mobile Phone network began to roll out, people began to prefer voice to voice communication over that of the pager. In Finland in 2003 the first person to person text message was sent and the demise of the consumer pager had begun.
In 2001, with only 30,000 users in the UK – Orange decided enough was enough and switched off their pager network, offering customers £50 of executive gifts or a free mobile phone as a replacement.
Vodafone however kept on going and today has the only Pager network in the UK. Pagers are still today a vital method of commication to the emergency services (and any business that must communicate vital up to date information) such as on call firefighters, doctors and coastguards. The devices have the ability to receive text as well as offering signal where mobile phone’s fail, a long battery live and great robustness.
What amazes me most, that today we have not moved on from that of the people on the go in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. 70’s and 80’s We all crave data and information knowmatter where we are or what we are doing.