In order to educate ourselves we communicate with others and learn from history which is why we've spent so much time creating ways to do it from a distance, such as snail mail, phones, e-mail, and eventually networks. Who doesn't like to tell someone else about the great idea they have? How do we communicate that idea to another country without physically going there and speaking our voice? Well, answers quickly came to light when V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai invented an electronic mailing system called EchoMail that could send, receive and sort messages as if your physical mail box was in your house and had different sections.
The first to adopt the newest technology were, as usual, the large businesses and Universities, but it wasn't enough. Once we were able to send messages to anyone else with an "email account" there were many more people hard at work developing how to make computers, Internet and networks. Computers allowed us to store important documents and messages that we thought were important to us, but "sharing" was still the focus of the continuous innovation. Universities jumped all over electronic mailing because they're the ones that teach the world. It changed the world when Ivy League schools could share their teaching methods and lesson plans with other institutions and, furthermore save the plans within databases for retrieval and alteration for next year's plans.
The next electronic tidal wave was the Internet. Consider the Internet as a central location of data that can be accessed by "logging in". Again, an even easier way of sharing data because, instead of having an idea and sending it via EchoMail to one million accounts, one can simply upload the single document to the Internet for anyone to view at any time. Of course, many people started uploading many documents which quickly became an organizational issue and was about the time search engines came into play. When the Internet was first created it was only a select few that had the ability, and education level, to be able to upload documents. However, nowadays it's not uncommon for someone to have many documents online grouped as a website and literally pay each visitor to view their personal website.
Soon enough everyone and their brother had a website either for informational purposes or for a company to list their products and services. It's simple these days with software like Wordpress Hosting. Companies that used to have a Rolodex® of products can now put them into an interactive database that does the math on its own. Imagine you're a company with 500 parts in stock. After selling 40 of them the database will automatically subtract it from 500 when you fill out an order form instead of doing it with a pencil. This became popular for companies with hundreds of products and allowed them to eventually have thousands of products due to the ease of management.
When companies were able to triple their product line they had another problem. Everyone had to continuously use the same computer to add products, subtract products and fill out order forms. It would be much easier and much faster if everyone was able to have their own computer in front of them, but how would it update each and every computer with each and every entry throughout the course of a day? A NETWORK.
A network has a central computer in the office just like the one that a group of people used throughout history. Well, that central computer is still there, however it takes each command from the individual computers in front of the employees in the office. Simply put, Employee A will send a command to the central computer to subtract 40 parts from inventory. The central computer accepts the command, changes inventory and sends an automatic command to the rest of the individual computers to adjust their inventory level. That way throughout the day every employee can remain at their desk making updates while also seeing the updates of their fellow employees.
The history of today's networks was shaped by the common theme of sharing data, sharing information and sharing it as quickly as possible. How do we get the message across and how do we get it across faster?
Doug Aamoth (Nov. 2011). The Man Who Invented Email. Retrieved from: