Whether chatting by phone, mobile or online, catching a flight, or simply watching television, information and communication technologies (ICT) underpin everything we do. In the modern world, we are increasingly dependent on them to work, learn and play.
Showcasing the evolution of ICT through the ages – from early attempts to communicate through to the rapid pace of invention during the 19th and 20th centuries and onwards to a vision of what the future could bring - ICT Discovery takes you on a journey through our connected world.
Key items of technology are on display for you to play with, and simple explanations of how ICT really work are available throughout.
Making it all possible
The fascinating story of ICT might not have been fully achieved without the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Founded in 1865 to establish principles for telegraphy across borders, and now responsible for the allocation of radio spectrum and satellite orbits plus the standardization and development of ICT worldwide, ITU helps drive the incredible progress already made.
A visit to ICT Discovery lets you step inside the organization at the very heart of the ICT industry and discover the work of ITU in supporting the development of ICT, managing their global use, and expanding access to them for everyone, everywhere.
Test your own reaction to an earthquake or cyberattack in our gaming room. You can compete against your friends in working with ITU to assess damage via satellite, deploy equipment and volunteers, coordinate radio amateurs for emergency telecommunications, or work to help secure files, identify and track cyber-criminals and locate the origin of the attack.
The story of ICT does not stop at today. Glimpse into the future at ICT Discovery and see where we are heading with “smart” buildings and transport, environmental protection, virtual education and telemedicine.
Over the past twenty years we have seen an extraordinary transition from a world where most people did not have access to even basic telecommunications, to a world where we have six billion mobile subscriptions. Mobile has conquered the globe and brought ICTs within reach of virtually all of the world’s people.
With approximately 10 million mobile subscribers in Switzerland, the City of Geneva recently took up the challenge of visualizing the digital traces made by mobile phones in the city. The results are a work of art in themselves - depicting traffic between local districts and across time - made possible through geolocalization.
ICT Discovery is delighted to host Ville Vivante as its very first temporary exhibition, with the generous support of the City of Geneva.
For the digital version of the exhibition and to download materials, visit the Ville Vivante site
Check ITU’s ICT Eye
for more data on mobile use and to run reports on other ICT statistics. Don’t miss the touch-screens in ICT Discovery with stats also!
Human communication through history
Circa 30,000 BC – rock paintings
Circa 3200 BC – invention of writing
Circa 550 BC – courier services
Circa 776-393 BC – early air mail
Circa 35 AD – sight & sound for instant communication
Circa 1215 AD – the printed word
1792 – semaphore signals
History of telecommunications
- 1860 – prototype telephone built
- 1871 – invention of electromagnetic telephone
1878 – radio signal experiments
1894 – generation of radio waves
1900 – first radio transmission of human voice
- 1936 – modern computer theory begins
- 1945 – first general-purpose electronic computer
- 1947 – invention of the transistor
- 1970s – arrival of microprocessors
- 1957 – launch of world’s first satellite
- 1960 – launch of communication satellites
- 1962 – first satellite to transmit live transatlantic television signals & phone calls
- 1960 – first fully automated car phone system
- 1973 – first call made from a handheld phone
- 1979 – first automated cellular service
Internet & World Wide Web
- 1969 – creation of a packet-switched network of computers
- 1971 – first email sent
- 1990 – World Wide Web made freely available
ITU Focus Areas
Core focus areas currently highlighted include:
Cybersecurity & child online protection