The 1980’s was a breakthrough decade. It set the pace for how businesses would continue to use general and business tech up to this day and age.
During this period, various industries proactively adapted office innovations to optimise
- and many more operational task.
Since then, these technological advancements have dramatically improved. Businesses today now have the capability to engage in a global marketplace with a click of a button.
How Business Tech Has Evolved
As business tech becomes more sophisticated, it is interesting to look back and compare how technology has impacted the most common day-to-day business activities over the years.
The personal computer boom in the 1980’s saw office typewriters quickly being replaced by these convenient machines that made preparation of documents, contracts, and business correspondence more efficient. Aside from word processing use, the development of numerous computing software in the late 1980’s and the 1990’s made PC’s even more practical for various business applications. Businesses were using the PC for accounting work, graphic design, inventory management, and more.
The introduction of Windows 95 was a critical milestone. This operating system which was designed to be used by a non-technical operator, allowed the average person to operate a PC without learning additional technical skills. Although more graphically advanced, the latest Windows operating systems today still keep the windows layout popular with first adapters.
The early 2000’s also saw the prices of laptops become more reasonable to the average business owner. These very expensive portable computing machines were once used only by CEOs and top executives in the 1990’s but that soon changed. Now, a lot of businesses prefer to use laptops as these afforded more employees the mobility they need to stay productive even when they are out of the office.
With the introduction of the personal computer, the popularity of the portable office printer also increased in the 1980’s. Tech company HP introduced the laser printer in 1984 and the inkjet printer in 1988. This was followed by new developments in the 1990’s that allowed users to print clearer and faster copies that would rival that of traditional printing press companies.
More printer advancements introduced coloured printing and this became the more popular option to print photos. Photo prints can now be made not only on paper but on many other surfaces. These include fabric, wood, glass, ceramics and many more. This bred a new digital photo printing industry that replaced traditional film photo printing.
The latest trend in the printing industry is the availability of commercial 3D printers. These printers can produce three-dimensional objects using a digital file. This is a manufacturing breakthrough for a lot of businesses. This development has also made customisation an endless possibility not only for businesses but for everyone. An independent designer does not even need to buy his own 3D printer in order to produce a prototype as there are modern vending machines now available that allow a user to upload his own design and print a 3D item on demand.
Phone calls and post offices used to be the indispensable communication tools of the corporate world. However, during the 1980’s the use of the facsimile machine, or the fax machine became the trend. Although the first successful fax machine was invented in 1947, it was only in the late 1980’s when smaller and more efficient fax machines became available. By 1989, the number of fax machines in the United States had risen to four million units.
It was also in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Electronic mail or e-mail soon followed in the 1990’s. By 1997, e-mail has surpassed the number of regular mail sent in the US.
Now, businesses enjoy various communication tools such as instant messaging, video calling, and virtual meeting rooms. Aside from emails, companies can also employ their own intranet systems in order to advance information exchange. There have also been advancements to protect businesses from information security threats.
The ease of storing data can easily be taken for granted. However, when compared to how data was stored in the 1980’s, the options available today are significantly high-tech.
In 1981, the first IBM Personal Computer used a 5.25-inch floppy disk. This disk only had a capacity of 60 kilobyte up to 1.2 megabyte. It was soon replaced by the smaller 3.5 inch diskette first introduced in 1984. The diskette had a capacity of 1.44 megabyte and was widely used by most businesses in the 1990’s. This changed after the introduction of CD-R discs, USB devices and SD cards that had the capacity to hold more data.
Until now, it is common for companies to still use USB devices and hard drives to store data. However, improvements in internet bandwidths made it possible for businesses to use Cloud Data Storage. This meant data can be uploaded to a remote database rather than in a local physical drive. Using a cloud solution offers businesses a convenient method to access and store data anywhere, 24/7 without being stuck to a single location or transporting sensitive hardware.
Audio and video tools play an important role in many business industries. In the 1980’s, trainings and meetings were powered by transparency projectors or by playing videos on a VCR player. But it was the inclusion of the PowerPoint software in Windows 95 that changed the way presentations are created up until today.
Now, the technological innovations in video have created new uses that go beyond the meeting room. One of the biggest impacts was in the education sector. Face to face interactions between educators and students can now be replaced by online classrooms.
On a wider scale, the availability of affordable HD video technology meant that even small businesses could employ video marketing tactics online. This gave them another outlet to promote their products and services at reduced costs.
The Next Step For Business Tech
Business tech will continue to impact how industries will be run all around the world. New trends such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and automation are just some of the developments that can advance business productivity. They can also encourage new innovations. Tech will not only become a business tool but will continue to grow as an independent industry essential for any business.