Computers have had several radical impacts on business. Originally used as tools of war, experts quickly saw their utility as business machines, and their popular grew from there. The ability to perform calculations far more quickly that humans made it possible for businesses to perform work at a much quicker rate, and businesses have used their increased capabilities every step along the way.
The biggest impact computers had on businesses, however, came in relatively recent times. The Internet has dramatically changed nearly every facet of doing business in the developed world. Connections between businesses could be built on the Internet’s infrastructure, and a growing group of online customers could be tapped. With the rising popularity of social media, the change is still underway.
* The early history of Internet and business
Long-distance networking was a topic of academic research in the 1950s. Different techniques for sending information over long distances were implemented and tested, and some of the technologies that are still used today began to coalesce.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, commercial Internet service providers began to emerge, and the public started to use the Internet as a means of communication. With the decommissioning of the government networks on which the Internet is based, commercial activities were permitted, and the Internet slowly began to resemble what it is today.
* The growing need for Internet connectivity
Email was the earliest “must have” technology provided by the Internet. Business thrive on communication, and there are often times when a phone call is not the best means of communication; email filled a gap that existed successfully. Email was the main technology that encouraged companies to install business Internet connections.
It was email that brought the Internet into businesses across the world, but it was the power of computers networked together that caused it to stay. Document creation programs allowed companies to send organized information with having to use fax machines, and financial analysis software began to become a necessity to remain competitive.
* Business Internet today
It is difficult to find an aspect of business operations that is not affected by the Internet. Point-of-service sales are connected to sophisticated back end systems that handle pricing, inventory management and other important processes. Financial tracking and logging is done on computer databases that send information over the Internet, and projects are planned and performed through web applications.
Proper use of business Internet capabilities give a company an advantage over competitors. It is often the embrace of new technology and paradigms that allows small companies compete with and beat larger rivals, and most new, successful businesses owe their existence to the ease with which business broadband has made the more challenge aspects of launching a business.
* The future of business Internet
Some technologies that are taking root today will likely become standard features in the future. Online collaborative software enables companies to avoid having to perform regular hardware upgrades and buy expensive software licenses. Video conferencing capabilities enable companies to hold “virtual meetings” with staff members across the globe.
Voice over IP (VoIP) is quickly replacing traditional phone systems; the Internet infrastructure is far more capable than traditional phone lines, and the computerized nature of these systems enables providers to implement voice mail, transcription and other advanced capabilities. Social media is revolutionizing how the developed world communicates, and businesses are increasingly using this to their advantage.
Future technologies are difficult to predict; just a few years ago, few imagined that smart phones would become as popular as they are today. Projecting the future of business broadband is equally challenging, but experts agree that the ever-tightening connection between businesses and the Internet will only continue to increase.