Man pointing at something on a tablet

Then and Now: Devices

17 Dec 2015 by Shay Moser

Technology is continually evolving — from computers taking up entire rooms to joining a conference call from a laptop on an airplane — and it’s shaping how we interact with one another.

From big, brick cellphones to touch-screen smartphones, we’ve seen quite the revolution in handheld devices. Nothing dates a movie like a character using what looks like a walkie-talkie to make a call, or makes you appreciate the technology at your fingertips when you remember having to hit the number “7” four times to get an “s” when texting.

And although we still work in the office, we don’t have to be in the office to work. With wireless devices, Wi-Fi on planes, coffee shops with Internet access and the ability to log in to company networks remotely — we can check emails while traveling, join calls while our cars get worked on and participate in meetings from home while waiting for the cable guy to show up.

In the past, to conduct a business meeting, all parties had to be present — everyone in business attire sitting around a mahogany desk. Over time, someone could call from another office and communicate through speakers. But today’s opportunities are endless through multimedia — think screen shares, recorded meetings, filmed tutorials, wireless headsets and more.

Watch for yourself. A team at the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab) captured the history of technology, as it relates to the office, in a video, “The Evolution of the Desk,” showing the evolution from wall calendars and radios, to Microsoft Outlook and iTunes.

This article originally appeared in Volume 1, Issue 2 of Technically digital magazine.