4. Technology


“Problems happened when a call center would be inundated with thousands of calls in a short amount of time, overwhelming the unreliable electronic relays, and causing the entire system to “freeze up (Pollock, 2012).” The existing switching systems were electronic; Hoover was assigned to the switchboard advancement after the completion of her training at Bells Lab. Hoover used her knowledge to program the control mechanisms of a call center to use data about incoming calls to impose order on the whole system. Hoovers theory used computer electronic methods to measure the frequency of incoming calls at different times. “Hoover’s switching system was the first reliable device to use computer techniques, including transistor circuits and memory-stored control programs (Notable Women Scientist, 2009).” Her system became known as telephony computer switching program it functioned to keep phones functioning under stressful workloads. The switching system used a computer to monitor incoming calls and then automatically adjusted the call’s acceptance rate. Before her invention in the fifties each time someone picked up the phone to make a personal call they would hear on the line “number please” this was asked in case the call was dropped at any time. Hoovers invention was not only a breakthrough for companies, all phone users, and technology, but she also paved the way for women in the profession of technology. She became a leading woman in the technology industry despite the gender roles at the time she exceeded the expectations for being a woman in the technology field. As a result of her invention she became the first woman supervisor of a technical department at the Bells Labs. Hoovers idea for this invention happened while she was recovering from giving birth to her second daughter. Hoovers invention was patented in 1971 and was one of the first software patents ever issued.

Electronic switchboard:                      Computerized switchboard:


Thanks to Hoovers discoveries in technology we have less dropped calls and busy signals today through communication this is very beneficial in the business profession. A prime example of where this can be utilized is at a call center where they receive a high volume of calls on any given day at any given time. Thanks to Hoover the call centers don’t have angry guest whose calls are lost due to the high volume of calls. Her invention worked great in the business industry when a business is receiving too many calls, to keep it operating efficiently without losing any of the calls. In 2008 Erna was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio for her work on telephony. Today Erna is 89 years old, retired, and resides in New Jersey. I loved researching on Erna Hoover because she made it clear women are just as equal to men even when she was not always recognized for her hard work based on her gender. She really made a difference not only in women’s life that wanted to pursue a profession but also women who feared the gender roles, or upcoming high school graduates providing them with the proper resources to help succeed in their next venture in life. Technology is not the field I want to study in my future, but just by reading Hoover’s story it motivates me to never give up no matter what obstacles life may throw my way. If Erna gave up at the first obstacle that was thrown her way she would have never invented switch board technology to help balance a high frequency of calls at one given time.

electronic switchboardcomputerized switchboard

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