This was the theme running through Next 25, an event we were involved in at the Science Museum the other week. We were looking forward to the communications of the future surrounded by objects that put the development of the mobile phone into context.
It was a fantastic venue – what’s not to like at the Science Museum – and the event covered many bases:
- It provided an update on the progress of the proposed Making Modern Communications that is due to open in 2014. This exciting new gallery (replacing the Shipping Gallery) will be the largest in the Museum and include zones dedicated to the development of communications – The Cable, The Exchange, The Broadcast, The Web, The Constellation and The Cell. There will be The Message, a stunning and atmospheric entrance to the Gallery, and The Wall, which will give visitors the opportunity to interact with the museum and each other.
- It was the launch of a book by Geoff Varrall, founder and head of telecoms & radio consultancy RTT, entitled ‘ Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success’. Published by John Wiley & Sons, and Science Museum approved, the book draws on Geoff’s 25 years industry experience to bridge the gap between the technical expertise of engineers and the aims of market and business planners.
- The opportunity for the great and good of the telecoms world to meet up again two years after Cellular 25, which celebrated 25 years since the first mobile phone network in the UK. Mike Short, President of the IET and Vice President of Public Affairs at Telefonica O2, looked back over the past 175 years of telecommunications through Wheatstone and Cooke, via the Turing centenary and twenty five years of GSM (in 2009) to the technology of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- Wine, whisky and Watt. After a enjoying a glass or two of wine, with mini burgers and chips, the guests went on a Watt Next Tour – a private visit to James Watt’s Workshop that has been reconstructed on the ground floor of the Museum. This was followed by a Burn’s Night high-end malt whisky tasting in the Members Bar provided by fellow Wiley author Moray Rumney of Agilent. This went down a treat with guests and the members, especially when he and his son provided music appropriate to the occasion!
It was also LATES Night at the Museum, adults only from 18:45 with bars and a DJ, and it was packed out with people of all ages ready for a good night out – so we joined them! Earlier in the evening, Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum had commented on the number of people who told him that they had not visited the museum since they went with their school at the age of eight. Well the numbers enjoying themselves last Wednesday belied the consensus that the Museum is just for children.
Image credit: Science Museum, London/ SSPL