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10 innovators who changed the face of telecom

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iStock 10 innovators in telecomWith the consumer's continual reliance on gaming consoles, wireless devices, and the ongoing expectation that high speed Internet will be available in our homes and at our businesses, it's easy to forget the many innovators who laid the foundation that makes these applications a reality.

In our second annual report, FierceTelecom takes a look at 10 innovators who helped change the telecom industry and make it what it is today.

Take, for example, the foil electret microphone. Jointly developed by Bell Labs researchers James West and Gerhard Sessler, almost 90 percent of the microphones produced every year are based on concepts from the foil electret, and are present in everything from telephones, camcorders, and audio recording devices.

On our list this year, once again you'll see a diverse list of inventors and entrepreneurs.

A number of these innovators, like West, came from AT&T (NYSE: T) and the monopoly-era Bell Labs. However, we also included two noted scientists whose work helped pave the way for optical communications: Charles K. Kao and Donald Keck, who had long careers at, respectively, Standard Telephones and Cables (STC) and Corning.

Often dubbed the "Father of Fiber Optics," Kao led the development and use of optical fiber in telecommunications at STC when he showed, in 1965, how the high-loss of existing fiber optics came from impurities in the glass and not the technology itself.

Less than five years later in 1970, Keck along with fellow Corning scientists Robert Maurer and Peter Schultz created what became the first optical fiber, with optical losses low enough to be used in the telecom industry.

Please join me in tipping a hat to these wireline industry innovators.--Sean

P.S. I encourage you to also take a look at our list from 2011, and please make suggestions on other candidates for 2013.