Top 5 women who changed communication technology forever

Google results are chock full of inspirational, pioneering women who’ve become successful entrepreneurs, top CEOs and cutting-edge tech experts. Each one has transcended time in changing communications technology to shape the systems and tools we take for granted today.

At bOnline we put equality and diversity at the heart of our business culture. We’re also very proud to employ more women than ever, especially as the telecoms industry has traditionally attracted men. Let’s look at the girls who did it for themselves (and us).

Dr. Shirey Jackson (1946 – present)

Dr Shirley Jackson is a theoretical physicist who was born in Washington DC in 1946. In 1973, she was the first black woman to achieve a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, Jackson worked at Bell Laboratories, carrying out breakthrough scientific research using subatomic particles. This research resulted in technology that helped other entrepreneurs invent the touch-tone telephone, fax machines and fibre optic cables. Her work also contributed to the invention of some of the most popular features a bOnline VoIP phone system offers too, like call waiting and caller ID!

Hedy Lamarr (1914 – 2000)

An Austrian-born American film actress and inventor, Hedy Lamarr was a completely self-taught inventor. Born in 1914, she was always fascinated by technology, later inventing her Secret Communication System alongside George Antheil. It was essentially a frequency-hopping device, designed during the second world war to knock radio-guided torpedoes off course. This then became the basis for many of the intentions we benefit from today, including Bluetooth, Wifi and GPS.

Ada Byron (1815 – 1852)

Ada Byron – also known as Lady Lovelace – was a writer and talented mathematician. She was also the first woman to build an algorithm that could be read by a machine – later a computer. The algorithms she devised brought about early forms of those we use today, making her widely considered the world’s first computer programmer.

Mavis Lilian Batey (1921 – 2013)

An exceptional mathematician and cryptanalyst, Mavis Lilian Batey played a vital role in World War II. Aged only 19 years, she started to work on cracking the Enigma code, managing to decipher an Italian message in 1941. Keen to push on, she tracked every communication that arrived, successfully deciphering key locations of the Axis armies. Batey also decoded various German messages bringing a huge advantage to Allied forces. It’s this information that helped end the war more quickly by foiling multiple German army operations.

Karen Sparck Jones (1935 – 2007)

Born in 1935, Karen Sparck Jones studied history and philosophy at Girton College, Cambridge during the 1950s. By the 60s, she had begun working on information retrieval (IR), bringing about the IDF term weighting used by web search engines amongst other things. She also played a huge role in natural language processing (NPL) across the world, teaching large numbers of PhD students in computer speech and language across the diverse areas of IR and NPL.

To round up

Choosing just five inspirational, talented women who changed the course of communication technology is no easy task. This list is far from exhaustive but is our small way of paying tribute to these incredible women who have made such a difference.

At bOnline we value every member of our award-winning team as individuals. If you would like to join us in either London or Cape Town, why not take a look at our latest vacancies.

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Don’t forget the switch off too!

Traditional landlines are being switched off by 2025 at the latest. This will have a massive effect on businesses across the country so don’t get caught out!

Check out our article for more information: Navigating the switch from legacy landline phones by 2025.

Chad Scholtz
Chad Scholtz