The Forgotten Pioneers Of The Modern Office

By 5th June 2022Blog

It is rarely the innovators and inventors of technology that receive the credit and reap the rewards for their creativity and forward-thinking.

After all, nearly every technology used in IT support services needs some degree of tweaking, evolution and time for people to adopt and understand its benefits.

Here are some of the forgotten pioneers of the modern office.

 

Video Calls At The German Post Office

Whilst video conferencing has been a favourite of futurists and science fiction writers for nearly two centuries, the first publicly available video telephone service was available as early as 1936 from a rather unlikely source.

The Gegensehn-Fernsprechanlagen (visual telephone system) was installed in post offices in Berlin and Leipzig, and allowed for video calls to be transmitted over coaxial cables, using the same technology used for analogue television at the time.

The Second World War effectively ended any further expansion of the video call system, and it would take over 50 years for video calls to take off seriously again.

 

Apple Revolutionise The Office Computer A Decade Too Early

Apple is well known for not only being ahead of the curve when it comes to technological advances but having the marketing savvy to make them successful.

Take for example the iPhone, which whilst not the first smartphone, popularised and established the smart device in a way that is still felt to this day.

However, one innovation close to late founder Steve Jobs’ chest but implemented a little too early was found in the Apple Lisa, one of the very first computers with a graphical user interface.

Instead of typing in commands, you used a mouse to point at icons of files and software you wanted to use.

It was groundbreaking, but its obscenely high cost put off many people, and during a time when a GUI was seen as a negative during a time when PC-DOS and CPM were at their peaks, the Lisa did abysmally and would start a chain of events that caused Steve Jobs to leave Apple for nearly a decade.

Ironically, around the time he left, Apple’s own Macintosh and Microsoft Windows had both popularised the GUI.

 

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