In the fast moving world of technology, there are perhaps few things that have proved as resistant to change as the simple SMS text message.
While a dizzying number of options exist today to interconnect people, the text message remains a 160 character deliverer of news, gossip, laughs, alerts, and all manner of other information. It connects more people than Facebook and Twitter, has brought down governments, and in so much of the world still holds the ability to change lives.
Dec. 3 is the 20th anniversary of the sending of the first SMS text message.
Today, upwards of 7 trillion text messages are sent every year — that’s more than 200,000 per second — but the technology had humble beginnings.
Its origins can be traced back to a Danish pizzeria in 1984. Matti Makkonen, a Finnish engineer, was in Copenhagen for a mobile telecom conference and began discussing with two colleagues the idea of a messaging system on the GSM digital cellular system. At the time GSM was a Nordic technology, becoming a European standard later.