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Optical Telegraphs

Brought to you by The Wireless Heritage Group

Join the Wireless Heritage SIG on a journey to review the history the Optical Telegraph and learn how these early systems were engineered, and how their deployment was shaped by the political turmoil of the time.

About the event

Join the Wireless Heritage SIG and Dr Stephen Unger on a journey to review the history the Optical Telegraph, learn how these early systems were engineered, and how their deployment was shaped by the political turmoil of the time.

The Optical Telegraph was invented at the end of the 18th century and represented the birth of modern telecommunications. Signal fires had been used for thousands of years to send prearranged warnings, but optical telegraphs were the first systems to transmit complex messages over long distances. Elaborate mechanical structures were used to create complex signals, which could then be viewed at a distance using a telescope. Sequences of signals were then converted to messages using codebooks.  

Most optical telegraph networks were constructed for military purposes. They were used by the First French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars, by the English Admiralty to coordinate action by the Royal Navy, and by the Russian and Prussian Empires to consolidate their hold on territories gained following the Napoleonic Wars.  Some optical telegraph networks were funded commercially, mainly associated with major harbours, where they provided early information on ships coming into port. Steve in his talk will describe how these early systems were engineered, and how their deployment was shaped by the political turmoil of the time.

Taking place at the Bradfield Centre, Cambridge with the presentation starting at 15:00, the event will provide delegates with ample opportunities to network with fellow delegates.

Employees of CW member organisations can attend this event for free. You will need to be logged into your CW account to access your free ticket – log in (or reset your password here)

Tickets for non-members are £10 plus VAT. CW membership may be more cost effective for your organisation than fully priced tickets – find out more about CW membership benefits.

LIMITED FREE PLACES AVAILABLE for non-members who are under 35. For further information and to claim a free place please contact clare.kettle@cambridgewireless.co.uk

CW's Coronavirus Policy: All attendees must make themselves aware of CW's Coronavirus Policy

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWHeritage.

Agenda

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.

15:00

Registration opens

15:15

Introduction from Chair & Wireless Heritage SIG Champion

15:20

'The Optical Telegraph', Dr Stephen Unger

Steve will describe how early optical telegraph systems were engineered, and explore how their deployment was shaped by the political turmoil of the time.

15:50

Q&A with the audience

16:00

Networking over refreshments

16:45

Event finishes

Speakers

Stephen Unger - Senior Advisor, Stephen Unger Consulting Ltd

Until recently Stephen was a Board member of Ofcom, the UK regulator for digital communications. He spent about a decade as Ofcom’s Chief Technology Officer, set strategy for regulation in the UK, represented the UK internationally, and served as Acting Chief Executive.  Before he was a regulator he spent several years in the private sector, working for start-ups developing new wireless technologies; he has particularly fond memories of Ionica, Cambridge’s first billion-dollar company. He now has a portfolio of non-executive and advisory roles, including as a Board member for Cambridge Wireless, and research affiliate with the Bennett Institute of Public Policy at Cambridge University. In his spare time, he is writing a book about the history of telecommunications.

SIG Champions

Stirling Essex - Director, Espansivo

Stirling Essex has over 25 years of product development, product management, strategic marketing and business development experience in many areas of wireless technology, and has been intimately involved in the development of test systems for GSM, CDMA (IS-95), 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE. He founded Espansivo, a technology consultancy specialising in helping organisations with their technology, product and business decisions, in 2005. Stirling was previously a co-champion of the CW Future Wide Area Wireless Special Interest Group and has been a member of the CW Board since 2004.

Andy Sutton - Principal Network Architect, BT

Andy Sutton is a Principal Network Architect within BT Architecture and Strategy team. He is responsible for 5G end to end network architecture, RAN architecture evolution and mobile backhaul strategy and architecture. Andy holds an MSc in mobile communications from the University of Salford and has over 30 years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Andy’s research interests include; distributed and centralised RAN and core architectures and protocols, network dimensioning, QoS and mobile backhaul (optical transmission, microwave and millimetre wave radio systems, network architecture and protocols along with synchronisation and time distribution in telecommunications networks). He also works on low latency and ultra-reliable networks architecture and design. During his career Andy has worked for Mercury Communications Ltd, Orange, H3G, EE and BT. Andy holds the post of Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool and University of Salford. Andy is a chartered engineer and holds fellowships from the IET, BCS and ITP. Andy contributes to International telecommunications standardisation activities and several industry forums. Andy also has an interest in the history and heritage of telecommunications and is a CW Heritage SIG Champion.

Geoff Varrall - Director, RTT Online

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry. He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems and developed 'The Oxford programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually between 1991 and 2005. Geoff has been running in depth technology and market workshops for the industry for over 33 years, spanning five generations of mobile cellular technology. A co-author of the Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook (Heinemann Butterworth, UK), Data Over Radio, (Quantum Publishing, Mendocino, USA and 3G Handset and Network Design (John Wiley, New York). Geoff's fourth book, Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success (John Wiley) was published in early 2012 followed by 5G Spectrum and Standards published by Artech House in July 2016. His latest book 5G and Satellite Spectrum Standards and Scale is now available from Artech House and can be ordered from http://uk.artechhouse.com/5G-and-Satellite-Spectrum-Standards-and-Scale-P1935.aspx. As a past Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is actively involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience and is a patron of the Science Museum In his spare time he plays Jazz trumpet semi-professionally and is a marathon and ultra-runner.

Nigel Wall - Director, Climate Associates Ltd

Nigel has been involved with connected vehicle research since 1992 when he led BT’s mobile data research team – initially using modems on first generation analogue TACS mobile phones! Since 2001 he has worked an independent complex-systems engineer, with a primary specialism in connected vehicles. For the last seven years he has acted as the Monitoring Officer for twelve of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle research projects supported by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. These projects included Gateway, Venturer, UK Autodrive, MOVE UK, INSIGHT, Flourish and UK Cite. During this period he has not offered CAV-related consultancy services to other companies to avoid any potential conflict of interest. As these Innovate UK projects have now completed, he is now returning to offer traditional consultancy services to organisations that need to pragmatic advice on developing market share in this exciting market.

Event Location

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Location info

Bradfield Centre, 184 Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0GA

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