Acorn - BT Merlin M2105
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The BT Merlin M2105 was manufactured by Acorn for British Telecom as a dedicated communications terminal. It is essentially an Acorn Electron and an expansion box that contains a modem, voice synthesizer, serial port and printer port. The expansion box is bolted to the Electron and attaches to the expansion port.
They were supplied by BT to their engineers to allow them to communicate with each other and BT in a bulletin board and basic email way. However, this was pre-internet and email as we know it today.
They may also have been supplied to BT customers including Interflora.
Dr Jeremy Klein comments:
"I was seconded from Logica to BT to help identify markets and applications for the M2105. It was in effect a messaging service over the PSTN. At that time there were no established use cases.
We looked at health and social services and a possibility because there was a need to communicate across organizational boundaries.
For example, discharging a patient from hospital was something I studied as it involved the hospital and the local authority. We did actually create a reasonable case for the M2105 in some specific applications such as these. There was also interest in including a form of central server to gather statistics.
I recall that BT was not really set up to sell this sort of technology and the people I worked with seemed to have come through the route of being engineers in local telephone exchanges. So marketing was not their thing.
Also, for the price, the M2105 looked rather poor quality and everyone could see that it was basically a home computer. The need to pay for a telephone call for each single message was also a drawback as at that time calls were expensive."
Manufacturer: Acorn Computers / British Telecom
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Acorn - BT Merlin M2105 Manuals:
This exhibit has a reference ID of CH9877. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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