Telecommunications is becoming part of the strategic value-chain at the heart of modern business. Obvious examples include the customer services banks provide over their ATM networks; the facilities offered by airline and travel agency customer reservation systems; the information available from online service providers; the planning and co-ordination and monitoring and control facilities available over wide area computer networks together with file transfer and data management capability; and so on. Much speculation takes place as to the future possibilities afforded by inter-active multi-media broadband networks, often with the thought that the technological potential is developing so rapidly that research and development engineers are fast creating solutions in search of problems, and services in search of markets.
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