You’ve heard it; we all have.
“That’s not the way we did it.”
“When I was your age, we had to…”
“How do you work this Insta-face?”
“I type fast enough!”
“You would have never survived in my day without all this technology…”
Our parents—and for some of us, our grandparents—worked in a much different environment than we do today. In the last ten years alone, several state-of-the-art office technologies have become obsolete before our very eyes and some have just evolved.
An old Facsimile machine circa 1848: By European Patent Office [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Take the fax machine, for instance. While the technology dates back to the mid-1840s, the fax machine as we know it wasn’t produced en masse until the mid-1980s. It took over a hundred years to get from transmitting electricity to a poor-quality image projected into a cylinder to using a telephone wire to transmit images—which were still low-quality compared to today’s standards—that printed from a dedicated machine in six minutes. In fact, Valley Office Solutions brought the first fax units to the Youngstown area in 1984! These fax machines reigned supreme in the workplace up until the late 2000s. In the last ten years, we’ve gotten rid of the ‘dedicated’ phone lines and machines to join the 21st Century’s technology boom. Though some of the ‘traditional’ equipment still exists, we can now send faxes digitally without tying up a phone line!
If our brief history of the fax machine hasn’t explained it enough, today’s office is nowhere near the same as those of our fathers. There is a long list of technological advances, but the change is really the result of the technology.
First the Office, Then the World
First, the modern workplace has changed how efficient and productive we are. Like we said in our last blog article, technology—like the multi-function printers, presentation equipment, and display boards available today—makes it easier, quicker, and cheaper to do the same things that our fathers did in the past. Daily business tasks like invoicing, filing, and maintaining customer relationships require less paper, fewer man-hours, and less stress.
Anyone in the business realm today will tell you that this second point has changed their lives. Whether it’s for good or for the bad, our methods of communication are at a whole new level. With the development of email, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)*, chat functions, video calling, instant messaging, and text messaging, we can now communicate instantly with our officemates and our consumers. This instant communication has changed the way we work because we are no longer waiting for the interoffice mail or waiting for more than 24-hours for the associate in Beijing to come back and fill you in on the project. We can partner with people around the world to create products and research possibilities anytime, anywhere.
Finally, our third example of the changing workplace is security. In the past, our fathers’ had to worry about people leaking new ideas, but not to the same extent that we do today. The digital world can be a scary place and not everyone uses technology for the good. That’s why we developed Peak I.T., our partner company for network and data security. We use technology and encryption methods that have never been hacked because it’s our mission to stay one step ahead of the game. It’s not as hard as our fathers think to make sure that the data you value is only accessible to the right people. Peak I.T. can not only monitor the health of your computers, multi-function printers, and other devices on your network, but they help prevent loss and restore your data in case of emergencies.
We’re sure at this point you’re wondering how our fathers ever made it in business, but that’s the great thing about technology. While it’s always advancing, there are just somethings that are here to stay. We may not send faxes the same way we used to, but the tried-and-true business methods are still there. They have just evolved with the growing technological world around us.
*Valley Office Supplies offers custom phone systems. Call us for more details!