In 1921 — sixty years after Philipp Reiss’s first telephone experiment
and thirteen years after the first wireless telephone communication by
the German Railway Authority — police officer William P. Rutledge
developed a pager-like system in Detroit, USA. Within just a few years,
all the city’s patrol cars were equipped with such “pagers”.
They not only permitted rapid pursuit of criminals, but also helped to prevent crime. Paging technology has considerably developed since this early stage …
The name “paging” is derived from the page boys who used to carry messages in large buildings. “Pageboy I”, the first modern pager, was introduced in 1974, and 3.2 million people used pagers in 1980. The figure reached 22 million by 1990, and almost tripled by 1994.
This spectacular development resulted from essential improvements in the paging services, including the delivery of alphanumeric messages and from the introduction of a number of new applications. In the USA, for instance, people began using their pagers to identify incoming calls in order to decide whether they wanted to accept or reject expensive mobile phone calls.
In Europe, pager manufacturers and network operators in the mid-1990s
concentrated on low-budget offers for customers aged 14 to 25. They
expected a widespread use of call-by-call messaging, but the prediction
proved false for a number of reasons. Large companies like Motorola and
o.tel.o founded subsidiaries (DFR and Miniruf) that introduced lifestyle
pagers for private persons. Their pre-paid products (TelMi and Quix)
used the CPP principle (Calling Party Pays).
But paging services proved impossible to finance without monthly or per-message fees for the receiver. As a result, Miniruf filed for bankruptcy in 2001, as did DFR the next year. e*Message, however, developed a radically different strategy from the very beginning and concentrated on business customers in a wide range of industries.
In the late 90s, operators in the US and other countries tried to maintain the mass market by renaming the products and introducing two-way solutions. Such efforts were not successful due to certain particularities of the paging technology: in spite of low-cost message transmission and reliable coverage of large geographic areas, pagers were unsatisfactory for two-way communication and point-to-point messages. However, they offered excellent point-to-multipoint capability (sending one message to a large number of addressees).
Today’s paging market features two main characteristics. First, the
technology has demonstrated its outstanding reliability and pager
applications. Thus, paging has established itself as a must for
industries who need a rapid, secure and reliable communication tool.
This applies as well to a variety of businesses and institutions including manufacturers, public utilities, government agencies and civil defence organisations (BOS).
Second, paging technology allows information to be sent to a very large number of addressees simultaneously, which makes it perfectly suitable for a new generation of broadcasting applications.
Since the spring of 2007, for example, more than one million households in Germany and France have already received updated information via a new type of weather station that uses pager technology. Likewise, a newly developed pager module (e*WM) opens up radically new perspectives for population alerting in case of disasters or major dangers. Moreover, integrating the e*WM module into smoke detectors or similar consumer electronic devices makes it possible to alert the population 24 hours a day with a precision down to the house number.