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  • End of the road for ISDN – what other technologies conquered the world and what replaced them?

    We have all grown up with things that seem to have never changed and our trusty home telephone is one of them. Whether tears, fears or cheers, the ability to communicate down the phone line has been a constant. However, traditional ISDN telecommunications are in decline, as super-efficient internet telephone calling is on its way. Chat over cloud-based virtual highways, rather than endless miles of phone lines. So, the big question is when does ISDN finish?

    BT aim to shut their ISDN network by 2025 as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems will be the business telephony standard at that point. As we say goodbye to our old phone network, we glance back at great technology ideas that came and went.


    There was a day when using the humble pen and paper was thought to be outdated. Allowing faster recording of information, in uniform, legible types made communications much easier. As the demand for reports, academic papers and business papers grew, typewriters came into their own. Until the spectacular arrival of the computer keyboard.   If you were to argue for an invention that changed the world, the humble typewriter would be a strong contender.

    Compact cassette tape

    The advent of the Compact Disc (CD) in the early 1990’s signalled the end of the road for the compact cassette tape. For over thirty years, cassettes littered teenage bedrooms and adult cars all over the world. No childhood was complete without sitting for hours winding a pencil through a mangled spool of magnetic tape, in an effort to recover the latest hit sound. Often illegally recorded from the radio, that’s how rebellious kids were then! Finally replaced by the emergence of digital audio technology and the rest is history.

    Sinclair C5

    Back in 1985, the next big thing in Britain was not the latest Jaguar or Aston Martin but a battery-powered tricycle, manufactured in a Welsh hoover factory. Flush from pioneering the pocket calculator, electronics guru Clive Sinclair thought the C5 would be a funky alternative to bicycles and predicted annual sales of 100,000. Unfortunately, the public were put off by its unsuitability to British weather and labelled it a traffic hazard. The C5 trike could be argued to be ahead of its time but was a commercial disaster, with only 5,000 ever sold. Nothing similar has emerged since; yet over thirty years later, automotive technology is focused on battery and electric-powered motoring.

    Vinyl records

    And one that rose from the ashes. Vinyl. The pressed disc came, conquered and died. Almost. The end of the 20th century saw The new millennium has seen a huge revival in the fabled 12-inch lacquer, with sales rocketing to the levels of streamed content. Whilst the traditional process of vinyl record pressing is antiquated, once new manufacturing technologies catch up, its future will be secured for future generations. Irreplaceable.