The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday in which people remember and celebrate friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. Beginning on Halloween (Oct. 31) and running through All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2), the Day of the Dead gives us a chance to reflect on the lives and accomplishments of those who came before us and our connection to the countless generations who helped shape the world we live in today. Traditionally, celebrants gather at the graves of deceased loved ones, share stories about their lives, and pay their respects in the form of flowers and gifts.
At Lifesize we want to celebrate the Day of the Dead by honoring the fathers of technology who’ve inspired us to develop the world’s best video conferencing solutions.
The flip phone, 2003–2007
Ah, the flip phone, whose “open” and “closed” settings revolutionized the cell phone landscape. Text messages, pixilated photos, the game Snake—flip phones could do it all. Or so we thought, until the smartphone came along and blew our minds with Candy Crush. But let’s remember the flip phone as it was in its all-too-brief peak: easy to use, connecting us with our friends, and inspiring us to ever-lazier SMS abbreviations, like “thx” and “LOL” and “BTW.”
The pager, 1960–1998
While the pager has since become shorthand today for comically outdated technology, it really did revolutionize the world during its ’70s and ’80s heyday, keeping users connected to the office no matter where they were. For the first time ever, we could respond to business emergencies in real time, something that we take for granted today. Our Lifesize Cloud system in particular, with its smartphone compatibility, is an heir to that legacy of portable connectivity.
The PDA, 1987–2008
That’s personal digital assistant, not public displays of affection, in case you were confused. The PDA was a combination Rolodex, calendar, and notebook, which not only created the groundwork for future smartphone functionality but also gave us the stylus, which is making a big comeback these days. Remember how cool the Palm Pilot was?
The fax machine, 1964–2011
While it’s rightly considered as something of a necessary evil today, it represented a huge leap forward when Xerox introduced the modern telephone-transmission fax machine in the mid-1960s. For the first time, documents could be shared quickly and securely over phone lines, allowing far-flung offices to share spreadsheets and contracts that otherwise would have required courier delivery. Today, the fax machine has largely been replaced by email and our own Icon and Cloud systems, which allow users to share documents without the frustration.
The telegraph, 1840–2013
Yes, 2013! Believe it or not, the world’s final telegrams were sent in 2013 with India going offline in July and the Philippines ending its service the following month. As quaint as the telegraph seems by today’s standards, it would be impossible to conceive of today’s telecommunications technologies without Samuel Morse’s iconic invention. The telegraph was the world’s first means of instantaneous long-distance communication, and it paved the way for today’s global architecture. While modern video conferencing may not build on the telegraph’s material technology, it is without a doubt its philosophical heir.
Thanks for the memories, all you ghosts of telecommunications technologies past!