Rapid technological developments in data communications are leading up to the realization of global telecommunications. This ideal will soon be accomplished through the transition from analog to digital transmission and reception, which will remove distinctions among video, audio and computerized modes of communications. The US government has acknowledged this trend by earmarking some $5 billion for R&D in this area. Ten emerging applications for such breakthroughs will pose challenges to future telecommunications. Multimedia, which is the integration of computer, audio and video capabilities through an intelligent interface, will be accompanied by wireless digital networks that will obviate the need for transmission cables. The latter will also be realized in the telephone industry as the Integrated Services Digital Network. Seven other applications are discussed.
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