The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The telecom world is constantly evolving, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. But the current state of the sector would no doubt amaze the pioneers who first initiated this process.  Last week marked the 126th anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell being awarded a patent for the telephone. Fifty years after the patent was granted, to the day, the first successful transatlantic radiotelephone call was made between New York and London. Yet could those folks even fathom what would come to pass? Companies best known for providing electricity now strive to enter the telecom market, if only on the peripheries. A few hardy independents hold on against the onslaught of the behemoths that have grown over the last century and a quarter. Telephone lines that used to be strung from poles have been replaced by fibre running in the ground or along sewer lines. Even the services offered would no doubt baffle Bell and his colleagues. Voice is giving way to data transmission, whether it be from Trekkies exchanging their favourite pictures of Mr. Spock and Seven of Nine or government agencies providing another option for citizens to get in touch with them. The end of February marked the passing of another pioneer in the telephone world, one whose achievements were more modest. Gordon Matthews died in Texas on February 23. He was the inventor of the voice mail system. Even that creation evolved from its original prototype. Matthews, distressed that he could not reach his home office in Dallas while on a business trip to Colorado, developed a system that permitted users to send, receive, store, forward, and erase voice messages from any phone. He had always expected that a live person would be answering the phone. It was only after he sold his firm to 3M in 1979 that the concept of the automated attendant came into being. "That drove us up a tree," his widow Monika recalls. He held over 40 patents on voice mail-related products and had filed yet another preliminary patent a few days before his death.