On the morning of February 20th, 1962, millions of Americans collectively sat on the edge of their seats in anticipation of one man’s exploration into the great unknown. Within a tiny cramped space capsule that was as aesthetically pleasing as a garbage can, astronaut John Glenn embarked on a journey to renew America’s national morale and hope during a time of Cold War when the nation desperately needed a hero. Fifty years later, we embrace this anniversary by remembering Glenn’s amazing feat and by exploring the revolution in technology that has given rise to today’s mobile world.
Back in 1962, the general public first learned of Glenn’s successful mission either through a transistor radio, a telephone tethered to the wall, a newspaper or if you were fortunate enough‚ a television set with four channels. Forget an alert from the Huffington Post popping up on your mobile phone or a tweet posted by your favorite reporter as you casually stroll through the grocery store. Smart phones were still decades away from invention and the Internet was completely unknown.
Today, an occasion as momentous enough to make the history books would be viral worldwide in a matter of seconds. With mobile phones now being more numerous than the world’s population, it’s almost unheard of these days to not be connected. Digital Nomads are becoming increasingly popular and it’s not so far-fetched to think that one day we might be plugging away on our laptops while we board a spaceship of our very own. Just saying – you never know.
With e-mails, video conferencing, instant messaging, and social media, people separated by thousands of miles seem as if they are sitting in the very same room. If John Glenn had PGi’s iMeet on his flight, he would have been able to easily connect face-to-face with NASA’s command center, share videos and pictures with family and take notes through his Evernote account on things he would improve or do differently the next time around. It’s amazing to see how far the world has come in such a short time.
As anthropologist Kim Hill says, “Humans are not special because of their big brains. That’s not the reason we can build rocket ships – no individual can. We have rockets because 10,000 individuals cooperate in producing the information.” Collaboration drives creativity, further fueling brilliant technology and human evolution. Currently, PGi is connecting a million people a day in better business meetings. Think of all the amazing ideas that are on the verge of becoming revolutionary.
The best innovations are sometimes the simplest in their genius. Here are a few of my favorites from this past decade alone: airline e-tickets, the iPad, the smartphone, online banking, streaming video, GPS, video conferencing and Wi-Fi. What is the common theme behind each of these inventions? Mobility.
Our world is becoming increasingly connected thanks to the pioneers that thought outside the box and questioned previously conceived notions. As I grab my iPhone and head for the door, I would like to give a special thanks to all of the John Glenn’s of the world that truly inspired our great nation.
Happy 50th Anniversary John.
What are your favorite inventions that have brought mobility into your life? Share your stories with us in the comments below.