Office Printer

Office Printer
Photo: Frank Baron for The Guardian

I was reading some spam about how IT is really changing the business world today and it got me thinking. When I started work in 1981 everything was already run on a mainframe, so in my opinion the next 30 years of computing was not been about delivering change at all – it was just about moving things backwards and forwards.

In the first 15 years the only demonstrable changes for users was the location of their printer and their applications. Printing went from a computer centre, to a print room in their building and then on to their desk. Day to day applications moved from the computer centre to their desktop PC and then to a computer room in their building.

The following 15 years moved things about again. Moving the printer back to the end of the corridor and printing into colour; applications moved from the computer room back to a computer centre; printed documents moved from the filing cabinet to the recycling bin; the development team moved 5000 miles away; and finally our private experiences started to move from a close circle of friends to being publically available on the internet.

What next ? Every application is moving to a mobile device; data is moving to ‘somewhere in space’; and we’re even being encouraged to ‘bring our own device’ to work – moving the workstation to the home and back each day.

The future of work is rapidly changing and perhaps now, at last, we will have the next phase of true automation.

But I’m yet to be convinced.