Offices are becoming more and more advanced as technology improves. From cloud computing to remote office setups and instant customer response, there are many ways to improve your business and engage with consumers on a more direct, personal and instant-response level. However, with so many changes affecting the office landscape, it’s easy to completely forget about old technology because we feel it’s now redundant.
This article will prove that no matter how old some technology is, it doesn’t make it any less effective in the workplace and in some cases, can actually help to improve the efficiency of your business. Although there are pieces of technology that will replace older ones, there’s always room for the following and you should always take them into consideration.
With the advent of Skype calling, mobile internet and call redirecting, it feels like our businesses no longer need a simple dedicated phone line. However, a small business phone service for your new startup can do wonders for your business’s growth. For starters, you often give investors and important clients direct access to your business number or they usually contact you via email. However, email can often be slow to respond to and if someone is interested in speaking to you, be it the press, an investor or a potential client, they actually have no way to contact you directly.
This is why having a dedicated phone line (or several) can be a huge boon to your business. Not only will it give you contact details to put on your website or on your business card, but it also enables you to have a direct line of communication with your clients and press. Although Skype calling is widely popular now and is a much cheaper alternative to getting a traditional phone line installed, there are many people that prefer to contact you via traditional methods because it’s more comfortable for them.
Depending on the type of product you sell, you might end up getting a lot of customers who only want to contact you via traditional methods due to their age or unfamiliarity with modern technology. A good example of this is for elderly customers. If you sell something like furniture or kitchen appliances, then you’re targeting a very broad audience with a lot of different ages, and not all of them will be comfortable using Skype or other forms of modern technology in order to receive help. Phones are still extremely popular, even among modern startups, so don’t neglect their importance.
If you’ve ever seen contact information for a company and then thought to yourself “why do they still have this ancient box laying around?” then you might be surprised to know that fax machines are still very much an industry standard among large corporations. Reason being because once it’s setup, it’s far more efficient to send documents and handwritten notes than taking it over to a scanner, scanning it into digital format, sending it via email, and then printing it off on the other end. There’s no fiddling about with networks, there’s no need to have a scanner, and there’s very little loss of quality.
Fax machines are fantastic for companies that are still using paper for the majority of their workflow. Although computers and digital mediums are more common to see, it doesn’t mean that paper doesn’t have a use. Sure you might have digital sketchbooks and notepads that act as pen and paper, but nothing will make you feel at home like a simple pen or pencil touching paper. It’s cheaper, it’s less prone to breaking and it’s fast.
However, it should be noted that there are mobile apps and other new forms of technology that allow people to quickly scan and send physical documents. While it’s not as quick or tried and tested as a fax machine, they are still very convenient. All you do is take out your phone, scan the document using an app, then you can quickly send it to any contact of your choice. Of course, you recipient will need to print it off, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue assuming they have a printer.
In short, fax machines can be a cheap and effective way to show investors and customers that you still value old technology that is still being used as an industry standard. Fax machines are ultimately very secure and due to the disconnect with the internet, are very hard to tamper with. You simply dial up a number, send the document and you’re done. There is no email login, no security issues and no other considerations to make.
Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)
These futuristic devices were an early introduction of what was possible with palm-held devices. These can be seen as the precursor to tablet devices or even smartphones, offering people a convenient and easy way to record information, do word or document processing, and add it to their workflow. Although smartphones and tablet devices have largely replaced PDA as the handheld of choice, it doesn’t mean that they serve no use in the workplace.
PDAs are great at doing specific jobs such as data collection. Imagine trying to keep track of stock using a smartphone or tablet device. If you wanted a simple interface that could let you increment certain values and save them to a file, then it would require you to either develop your own mobile software or buy certain applications in addition to the smartphone or tablet itself. Compared to the price of a PDA with its simple software, easy workplace integration and dedicated role, there’s really no competition.
A PDA is a fantastic addition to your tech lineup assuming it has a place. Use PDAs as a way to collect information and hand them out to staff in the field who are collecting data on certain locations or items. Think of them not as lower-quality smartphones, but cheaper alternatives. A device that is used to collect information, do simple calculations, take notes, and send or receive emails on the go. Some people even use them as a way to plan out their schedule and keep their business information separate from their smartphone.
Older Operating Systems
Computers are essential components to any office these days. When you launch your first company, the last thing you want is to be drowned in paper and traditional mediums instead of optimising your office workflow by using computers. However, there are a lot of factors that determine if your computer technology is sufficient enough for the task. If you need it to do demanding tasks such as video editing, audio production, image design or anything similar, then you’ll need a powerful computer such as the latest Mac computers or a Windows PC with an Intel i7 processor. However, for basic productivity tasks, you might be able to get by with a budget desktop computer.
When you purchase old office equipment such as computers, you might end up buying a budget system that comes with an older operating system such as Windows XP. However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless and it doesn’t mean you have to upgrade your operating system as soon as you receive the computer. Although support ended for Windows XP in April of 2014 and Windows Vista support ended in April of 2017, support for Windows 7 is going to continue until 2020 despite being released in 2009. This means that assuming you have a Windows 7 or newer computer, you’re still eligible for all the support that Microsoft offers.
Even if you don’t use Windows 7, there are plenty of reasons why you can still use Windows Vista, XP or even 98. First of all, basic office productivity tasks such as writing a document, filling in a spreadsheet and so forth can be done on any kind of computer as long as you have access to programs such as Microsoft Word or even Google Docs. Any computer with a modern operating system can access the internet, send and receive emails, and there’s no risk associated with it.
The reason you’ll need these older operating systems is simple: cost. When you purchase new computers, a large chunk of the price is attributed to the operating system itself. When you purchase older hardware or refurbished office computers, they typically come with operating system licenses built in and they’re sold at a much lower price than new. If you want to save money, then purchase older computers and don’t be put off if it comes with Windows XP or 7 as an operating system.
In short, old technology offers a cheap and effective solution for any new startup or business. There is some old technology (such as a fax machine) that is still in use and could give your business an advantage over modern startups that refuse to embrace the old ways that businesses used to operate. In most cases, using older technology means that you have fewer features to worry about and you can spend more time being productive as opposed to worrying about what additions that you don’t need.