The Evolution Of IT
Information Technology or in mundane terms, IT, is a range of technologies that includes, but is not limited to hardware, software, communication technologies that create, process, store, secure and exchange data. But like any other human advancement, Modern IT has taken eons to attain its present height with each product, era, or concept gaining ephemeral importance as these are soon to be replaced by newer, more advanced technology.
IT has developed over the course of nearly six decades, but the first traces of the presence of computing devices have been dated back to 500 BCE, viz., abacus. But the Z1, created in 1936 by Konrad Zuse, is considered to be the first functional and programmable modern computer. This electromechanical computer pre-exists our modern IT. The first electronic computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), was a programmable and a general-purpose computer used to calculate artillery firing tables for the US Army. Its successor, EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer), one of the earliest electronic computers was designed to be a stored-program computer which was binary. It used a direct-access architecture and had no operating systems. The lack of software applications reduced its use to only scientific computing.
The 1960s brought the era of mainframe computers, which is high-performance computers with large amounts of memory and processors that process billions of simple calculations and transactions in real time. The IBM 360 was the world’s first mainframe computer. These mainframes were highly centralized computers. But they were soon followed by decentralized computing, which was present in Minicomputers, although the first personal computer was only made available in 1975 – Altair 800, a hit amongst the computer enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Even then, it wasn’t the ideal minicomputer as it needed extensive assembly, rendering its ease-of-use. The decade of the 1980s saw the introduction of the Personal Computer is also known as PC. The IBM PC is one of the earliest PCs that was used by enterprises and for personal use. It made use of the operating system, Microsoft, which, at that time, was in the primal stages of its fame. The IBM PC provided a spectrum of software tools such as word processing and spreadsheets. But even then, due to lack of software for networking and the required hardware, this PC was only limited to be a standalone desktop system, devoid of connectivity.
By the end of the 90s, there was an extensive request for internet connectivity between the business because of limitations in web access and productivity. This new sense of the vast connectivity between the people and the network of computers elevated the amount of data being generated and overall helped in the process of data analysis and encapsulating it into useful information. This was also an era that saw a boom in the number of IT vendors such as Intel, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, EMC and Dell. But the 2000s, World Wide Web (WWW) enabled IT to be available globally, whereas computer networks made IT access throughout an entire enterprise. WWW made new applications available to the common masses and digitized their daily lives. Limitations of sharing information with anyone had decreased due to the access to the internet, and this led to the upsurge in the amount of data that was created, stored, shared and consumed.
In today’s time, mobile and cloud computing has enabled convenient and on-demand access to a pool of computing resources such as apps, networks, servers, storage and services. These devices have minimal management efforts and quick establishment. Today IT has become an integral part of any business along with becoming necessary in people’s day to day lives. The daily advancement in this field is adding to its significance and prominence.