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Since the early 1990s, technology has played an ever-increasing role in our working lives. This technological revolution has driven changes to the way we work by increasing productivity, making collaboration possible, and impacting workflows.

In this post, we will look at the evolution of some of the most common office technology in the workplace.

The Evolution of the Office Computer

In the early 90s, the average computer had 4MB of memory, cost upwards of $6000, and ran on Windows 3. Think about this… 4MB is about the size of a SINGLE MP3 file!

Today, desktop computers are over 2000 times more powerful, at less than a tenth of the price! Not to mention the growth of mobile computing, made possible by handheld, portable touchscreen devices. This and the connectivity of the Internet were fundamental to many companies surviving during the coronavirus lockdowns.

The Evolution of Digital Communication

By 1990, Tim Berners-Lee had created the technology that enabled email and web browsing, but it was far from commonplace. In 1995, just 0.4% of the world’s population regularly used the Internet. Today, that number is well over 50%! In the 1990s, the height of tech was the fax machine, and mobile phones (the size of bricks!) were beginning to be more widely adopted.

Email overtook the fax machine and remains the communication method of choice. However, newer technologies like group messaging and video conferencing are growing in popularity.

The Evolution of Digital File Storage

Digitally storing large data files in the 90s meant using a tape backup system or transferring it to a disk. Many storage formats from the 90s are now largely obsolete. Breakthroughs in high-capacity disk drives and solid-state drives with no moving parts provided even more storage. By the early 2000s, cloud storage began replacing on-site servers for safely cataloging data.

Illustration of the evolution of storage technology.

The Evolution of Search

Today, the term “Google it” can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, but back in the 90s searching for information was much more time-consuming. If data was stored it was likely on tape due to the limitations of computers at the time. Today, 5G smartphones and high-speed data networks mean we can search vast resources while on the road and we can even do it using voice commands.

The Evolution of Secure Document Management

Back in the 90s document management meant having plenty of paper on hand! Finding the right document could take hours of searching through dusty basements or filing cabinets. Between 1980 and 1995 paper use doubled due to the rise of affordable laser devices. During the 2000s paper use fell significantly with the rise of secure digital storage.

Office technology has changed dramatically over the past few decades and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. It will be exciting to see what advances the next decade will bring!

About hubTGI

hubTGI is a Canadian-owned Managed Services provider that offers Print Services, Workflow Solutions, Managed IT, Cybersecurity Solutions, Cloud Services and VoIP to help their customers control costs, secure their data and make their people more productive.

For the latest industry trends and technology insights visit hubTGI’s Resources page.


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