The antenna is the unsung hero of the modern world. People rarely think about antennas, but they are the foundation of most modern communication systems. The world is more interconnected now than at any time in the past, so it is hard to overstate the role they have played in modernizing the world.
Antennas are valuable because they make it possible to communicate over large distances with virtually no delay. Sending a letter across a continent takes days, while sending a text message takes only a second. That makes it possible to coordinate with people anywhere in the world for a variety of purposes. That was impossible prior to the invention of the antenna, and it is the foundation of most major projects in the modern era.
The antenna also makes it possible to share the same media. In the past, people saw sport teams that were in their area, or watched local shows, but had no idea about those that lived in other parts of the world. Now, people share the same cultural touchstones, which makes it easier to communicate and understand each other.
Antennas use wireless signals, so they make it possible to use mobile devices. Wired communications are inconvenient because they only work in specific locations. Antennas prevent that problem and make electronic communications more convenient, and thus more useful.
The antenna made electronics into a highly profitable industry. Companies that wanted to get ahead did so by funding research and development, which led to new innovations. Those developments lead to even more new devices. While the antenna is not solely responsible for funding the research process, it did provide economic incentives that encouraged new projects.
The Internet makes it possible to order products over massive distances without a significant delay. That has revolutionized the way that businesses operate by reducing the importance of physical stores. It also increases the amount of options that are available to the consumer and makes it easier to compare prices across different retailers. Antennas make the Internet possible, so it is accurate to say that they laid the foundation for the modern digital economy.
Science depends on communication. Researchers that can communicate can share their results and build on past projects, while those who work in isolation are forced to repeat the work of other rather than improve on it. The communication technologies that rely on the antenna have turned most of the world’s researchers into a single community.That makes it much easier to share knowledge, compare notes, and work together for the betterment of humanity and the advancement of science.