There was a recent article in my local paper that talked about how local police forces in the US were scrapping the "10-code" system of communication in favor of what they are now calling "plain text." Also known as "English" this new way of communicating is enabled by more available bandwidth. Apparently, the Dept of Homeland Security issued a mandate to eliminate the system of 10-4s and 10-17s that have been made known to the general public by police TV shows. When municipalities protested, the US government softened it to a recommendation, but local and state forces began switching anyway.
It seems a major problem with the system was that local departments amended and adjusted the code to suit their own local needs. So, a 10-99 could mean lunch time in one town, or an officer needs help in another. This could prove to be very bad if towns were called upon to work together in a state of emergency.
The two-way police radio system of speaking in numbered codes began in the 1930s under constrained bandwidth. Now, as police officers sit in their cruisers armed with radar guns, laptops with broadband wireless access, and mobile phones, it does seem a bit ridiculous to have to speak in abbreviated codes on their radio. Although, it does make for dramatic TV.
This all got me thinking, what other ways of doing business have become obsolete in our new world of ubiquitous communications? RF technologies have evolved so far so fast, I have to wonder what is next in line for extinction.