Recently, a friend and I were talking about the future of technology and investing. We were throwing around ideas of what would be the hottest and most active markets, until we both agreed that telecommunications (t-comm) was going to be just as prevalent in the future as it is today, and as it was yesterday.
When the telephone first entered the scene, it changed the way the world operated. Rather than waiting days for a message to get to a relative or business associate on the opposite side of the country, you could deliver that message, audibly, in the same amount of time it would take you to dictate it. Today, we are in an ultra dependant state, depending on the telephone technology alone.
Consider the number of people you see on a daily basis, holding a cellular telephone to their ear. These people range in age from 8 years old, all the way up to 80 years old. One of my sister's friends from church has a young (about 10 years old, I would guess) daughter, and I remember seeing her walking around the coffee house we were at, talking to someone on the cell phone. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I see customers coming through the oil change shop every day, blathering away to some poor individual on the other end -- the receiving party is likely to be on a wired phone connection -- unable to get away from the wretched device.
Yet there's another kind of communication we've all become victim to: E-Mail. Every morning, I find myself powering on my monitor before I even get out of the bedroom to get something to drink, just to see if any new messages have come through. Sure, I am trying to run a business, keep in touch with friends, and stay up to date on the latest price of...Viagra?! Who sent that?! E-Mail is just as bad as the telephone, though, if not worse. In my field of business, the first thing I ask any potential customer, requesting information from me, is what their e-mail address is. It is very uncommon to come in contact with anyone who doesn't have an e-mail address, just like a telephone number. Even my grandmother has an e-mail account, and actively uses it!
Of course, there are many many many other t-comm technologies at the average person's disposal: Television, radio, satellite television, and now even satellite radio, all of which we can't live without.
So what's left? What is the next big step? What will we become dependant on tomorrow? How dependant will we become on it? Whatever the answers are, I'm ready, and I'm willing to put some money into it.
Today, the big craze is "Voice over Internet Protocol", or "VoIP". Companies like Vonage, Packet8, and Skype are exploding on the scene, taking over where the "Bells" left off, and doing it at a much lower rate. You could probably argue that they are trespassing on the copper-phone-line companies' property, stealing their customers with their own equipment, but I can guarantee you that there will be major changes come as a result. The FCC has even started to consider adapting regulations and laws for this new technology. That's a big sign -- Start investing!
So rather than sit back and think, "What's a good, lucrative market to put my money into?", head for the budding technologies. Head over to some technology-based news websites, read what's new, and get ready to put money into what you can. Heck, if you're ambitious enough, you could probably even help those technologies grow by starting a business with them!
Whatever you're considering, I can guarantee you that the telecommunications market is going to continue to be a strong player in the business world, so take advantage of it!