Home Communications SystemsThe explosion of the Internet has had a dramatic effect on communication worldwide over the last twenty years. Although the most sophisticated communications systems are bought and used by major international corporations, the addition of the personal computer – or PC – has meant a parallel revolution in everyday communication for the family, or single person.

Our parents were the generation who first popularised the use of the telephone, and it was considered an expensive luxury in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Now, homes without a telephone are in the minority, and per capita, the UK has the widest ownership and use of mobile phones in the Western World.

From the old black bakelite monster phones of yesteryear to the current internet mobile phones no larger or thicker than a pocket diary, home communications have never been easier and cheaper to obtain, or more popular to use. These are the most popular –

The Telephone

Still at the heart of the modern home’s communication system, the telephone still occupies a place in most homes. Years ago, it was traditional to have the phone installed in the hall, as though conversation should not be permitted to interrupt the stream of television programmes beamed into living rooms each evening. Now, cordless phones and multi-handset systems mean far greater freedom of movement. It is common for people to have several handsets connected in different rooms, which are usually ‘hands free – battery operated, and allow the user to roam freely through the house and garden.

The Personal Computer

The massive growth in the purchase and use of the PC is linked directly to the Internet, and most homes with occupants under forty – and a fair number of older household members, have computers installed. The PC is linked to the Internet via a specific dedicated telephone line known as ‘broadband’ and its increase in usage over the last five years has seen even more home communications systems incorporating a PC.

The Mobile Phone

The blessing (or curse!) of modern communication embraced wholeheartedly by all ages and generations, the Mobile is becoming almost essential in modern domestic communications. There is no doubt that the rapid expansion of Mobiles has been caused by the tandem miniaturisation and innovative design, which makes them as much a fashion accessory as a communication tool. Although the rise of the mobile has seen the serious reduction of public call boxes in our towns and cities, the less expensive landline domestic telephone is still the phone of choice for homeowners.

The Blackberry

Technology rarely stands still for long, and communications technology never stands still at all. It was inevitable that someone would dream up a piece of technology that combines the convenience of a mobile phone with the sophistication and Internet access of a PC, and the Blackberry is rapidly becoming the tool of choice for serious communicators on the move.

The future of home communications systems may well incorporate videophones, which are available, but whose technology and costs are yet to make serious inroads in the domestic markets.

So, surrounded by a variety of communications methods for your home communications system, what do you choose?

It depends entirely on what your communication needs are now, and going to be in the future. This Guide should help you to choose the correct system for you.

  • Occasional need to contact relatives and friends, would like to be able to contact someone in an emergency – a telephone system is perfectly adequate for you. No need to spend a lot on modern handsets or hands-free systems unless you like the freedom to use your phone in different rooms at different times.
  • Keen on staying in touch with friends and relatives here, and abroad. Fond of letter-writing and researching facts and information – a PC (home computer) is ideal for you. Join the world of e-mail, which is basically electronic letter writing, and chat to people for as long as you want for a fraction of the cost of telephone calls. You can track down that elusive crossword clue on the Internet as well.
  • Like to be in touch and contactable at all times – a mobile phone will suit your requirements. Especially if you have younger family members who can ring you cheaply, or even free of charge at certain times. Discover the joys of texting.
  • A businessperson who needs mobile access to a phone and e-mail on the move – a Blackberry will be the choice for you – you’ll wonder how you managed without it.

Communication is for everyone, you are never too old to master some of the newer technology that is available to you for your home communications system. Choose what you need, ignore what you won’t use, and you can keep right up to date with the electronic revolution that’s happening where you are, right now.