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10 key technologies you couldn't live without

The keys to a digital age in an analogue world

You couldn't get through your day without unicode, XML, and digital signal processing. Don't believe us? We've looked at the 10 most important technologies that you use but never think about.

Voice over IP (VoIP) calls

VoIP made possible the inexpensive long-distance calls that use prepaid calling cards. You've made a few Skype calls and you've looked into digital phone service from your broadband provider, but that's as close as you've gotten to VoIP (voice over IP) technology. Or so you think.

In truth, VoIP is revolutionising the telecom industry, blurring the lines between voice calls and digital networks.

Those prepaid calling cards that offer rock-bottom international rates? VoIP makes them possible. Similarly, a growing number of businesses use VoIP behind the scenes to eliminate long-distance charges between branch offices.

Routing calls over the internet circumvents traditional telephone company charges, and fewer fees and taxes mean lower prices. Digital calls are easier to direct and manage, which makes them attractive even to traditional telephone companies. Don't be surprised if soon the landline you've lived with forever is replaced by an all-digital alternative, although you'll likely be none the wiser.

em>NEXT PAGE: the importance of graphics acceleration

  1. The keys to today's digital age
  2. Unicode
  3. Digital signal processing
  4. Managed code
  5. Transistors
  6. Why you couldn't live without XML
  7. Nonvolatile RAM
  8. Lithium ion batteries
  9. Voice over IP (VoIP) calls
  10. Graphics acceleration
  11. High-speed net access

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