50 years ago--Timesharing, WU SICOM [telecom]

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50 years ago, the Oct 1968 issue of Computers & Automation was
devoted to timesharing.

Articles included:

SELECTING A VENDOR OF TIME-SHARED COMPUTER SERVICES  
 Specific suggestions on how a non-user should go about selecting a
 time-sharing or remote-batch computer service, and how a current user
 should evaluate his present service ... with some general comments on
 the current state and future potential of the time-sharing industry.

MULTIPLE-ACCESS, TIME-SHARING, OPERATING SYSTEM  
 A case history - how the "Multiple Access Time Sharing"  
 (MATS) System at Northern Electric Co., ltd., Ottawa, Canada, operates.  

A NEW CONCEPT IN TIME SHARING: DEDICATED SYSTEMS SHARE ONE COMPUTER  
 A unique type of sharing in which several discrete, real-time,  
 on-line information systems share a computer at a neutral site.  

COMPUTER RESOURCES SHARING-SOME COMMENTS AND PREDICTIONS  
 Norman Doelling What do ti~e-sharing systems currently offer?  
 Where are present trends likely to lead?  

DATA PROCESSING SERVICES: BANKING'S NEW PRODUCT  
 Why banks are becoming a powerful competitor in providing  
 data processing services.  

http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/computersAndAutomation/196810.pdf


In the Nov 1968 there was a brief mention of Western Union's
new SICOM service, a computerized message switching service
for the securities industry:

WESTERN UNION SERVICE FOR SECURITIES INDUSTRY

    A computer-controlled system designed for shared use by many firms
  in the securities industry - providing cross-country communication
  of buy and sell orders in seconds - is now being operated by Western
  Union for its first Wall Street customer I Shields & Company.

    Called SICOM (Securi ties Industry Communications) Western Union's
  new system serves the specialized needs of brokerage firms. The
  system interconnects a subscribing brokerage firm's headquarters
  wire and order rooms, its branches and correspondents, the trading
  floors, of the New York and American Stock Exchanges, and other
  special points desired by the subscriber. It provides for the fast
  transmission of buy-sell orders, execution reports, market news
  reports, administrative messages and other record information.

    Western Union engineered the entire system and provides all
  components, including computers, circuits, teleprinters, outstation
  equipment, programming and maintenance.  The only equipment located
  on the premises of a SICOM subscriber is an automatic teleprinter
  supplied by Western Union.

    From photos from other sources, it appeared the system used the
  Teletype model 28 ASR.  This is surprising to me in that the model 28
  was a Baudot (5 bit) machine and I would think by then an ASCII
  machine would've been preferred.  An average message of 80 characters
  took 20 seconds to transmit.  The initial capacity was 70,000 messages
  per hour.  Messages were switched at the Western Union computer center
  at Mahwah, NJ.

    By way of contrast, at that time, the interstate day telegram rate
  was $2.25 for the first 15 words, and 9c each additional word.  The
  interstate night letter was $1.70 for the first 100 words and 1.5c
  for each additional word.  At that time, telegram service still
  represented a good chunk of Western Union's revenues, although WU
  sought to transition over to other services like SICOM that had more
  of a future and profit potential.

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