Office Communication: Today And Yesterday

Today’s offices are powered by the type of services offered at places like ThinkTel, from SIP trunking to high speed business Internet – the newest wave of office communications.
The history of office communications is a rich and interesting one, giving insight into the technological and social landscape at the time. One of the most recent trends, one that was a pillar in offices in the late 70s, was the fax machine. And, indeed, this seemingly ancient relic can still be found in some offices – although it has mostly been overthrown by the use of email and broadband Internet. Xerox patented the first commercial fax machine in 1964, and it’s second edition weighed more than 46 pounds! Even popular movies at the time failed to predict the decline of the fax machine; perhaps you remember the scene in Back to the Future 2 where Marty McFly receives a fax with the message “You’re fired!” on it.
Indeed, both television and film have referenced office communications throughout history, with Back to Future 2 representing one of the newer waves of office communications. Netflix’s The Crown makes reference to another one, this time to switchboard operators, as they listen in on Princess Anne’s angry call to her sister, Queen Elizabeth. From the 1870s to the 1980s, wires connected phone lines, where switchboard operators would manually connect callers to one another.
Another important time in the history of office communications, one that is still actually present in hospitals, factories and banks, is the pneumatic tube networks, which came into existence in 1853 and lasted until the 1950s. If you are a Simpsons fan, you are likely familiar with Mr. Burns sending people straight through his trap door when he didn’t want to deal with them. Similarly, the pneumatic tube networks excited underground and would propel containers of notes from one end of a pressurized tube to the other via an air pump. It begs the question: What will the next wave of office communications look like?
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