Where technology brought us 

The Bar and Stool Shoppe
842 18 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hodgson Funeral Home
608 20 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Tire & Battery
120 E 1 Ave
Milan, IL 61264

IH Missiissippi Valley Credit Union
4206 5th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Illini Hospital
801 Hospital Rd
Silvis, IL 61282

Jerry's Market
1609 17 St
Moline, IL 61265

L & W Bedding
1211 16 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Southeast National Bank
3535 23rd Ave
Moline, IL 61265

State Bank of Orion
1114 4th St
Orion, IL 61273

Modern pagers can `beep' in email, radio

By Lisa Hammer, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Years before the cellular phone system was up, solid-state technology led to the development of pagers to connect people who weren't near a phone system.

Morticians, doctors, emergency medical and emergency repair services, sales representatives, delivery drivers and busy parents use pagers.

People long ago adjusted to the telephone and its right to interrupt. The pager made interruption unescapable.

For others, the pager brought freedom. Kevin Rafferty of DeRoo Funeral Homes in Moline said before pagers came along in the '70s, the person ``on call'' had to be reachable by telephone and in constant contact with the office wherever he went. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the funeral home was still providing ambulance service, so speed was important. ``Beepers enabled us to almost come and go as we wanted,'' he said.

The first pagers were ``in-house,'' paged by their own radio equipment to cover the range their equipment could cover. Firefighters and ambulance personnel still carry in-house pagers, usually paged on the 911 system.

Approximately 10 years ago, ``wide-area paging'' came in, with service no longer provided by the buyer's own equipment but by an outside carrier such as the telephone system. A wide-area pager based in the Quad-Cities can receive a signal almost anywhere in Iowa or Illinois.

With manufacturing plants in 11 countries, Deere & Co. uses a variety of communications technology including pagers.

Simple pagers work fine for some Deere employees while others have ``personal digital assistants'' which can include a pager but also work like an electronic planner, downloading e-mail and other communication from computers. Deere is beginning to look at technology that allows e-mail to be sent right to a pager, according to Ken Golden, director of public relations.

``We have a business where instantaneously solving problems for customers is pretty important,'' said Mr. Golden.

The paging industry has been hurt by cutthroat competition and new technologies including cellular phones.

Yet pagers won't be replaced. One in eight Americans own a beeper, according to a recent issue of Good Housekeeping. The May 1997 issue of Working Woman estimated 40 million Americans would use pagers by the end of the year. Many of the new customers are 18 and under.

Today's two-way pagers can send and receive messages and even send and receive Internet e-mail generated either on the computer or another similar pager. Pagers can even double as FM radios so that a teen whose ear is always connected to radio can still be paged by a parent.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.