The History Timeline of Business Presentations

How Business Presentations Have Evolved
Source of Infographic: ProPoint Graphics

The Evolution Of Business Technology Presentations From The 19th Century To Present

Visual presentations have been a companion to ideological and technological revolutions since the 19th century. In 1801 the U.S. Dept of Education implemented the first visual presentation for an audience. This was done with mathematician George Baron at West Point. The European invention was the blackboard or chalkboard (U.S. English).

During that era few could imagine the rapid advancement the industrial revolution would make over the next 200 years.

The Early Days to Present Day

The early days of presenting information with a luminous device was achieved with the magic lantern. Invented in the late 1700′s, it was essentially a metal box housing a candle, mirror and protruding lens tube to dimly project illuminated images onto a white background. During this time the magic lantern was primarily used for dubious purposes, to con people out of money by projecting “alleged” images of ghosts and deceased relatives. As the industry of lighting changed so did the evolution of visual presentations. Businesses understood the importance of using modern technology and popularized the magic lantern shortly after the incandescent bulb was perfected in 1840. The use of the light bulb in place of an inferior light source reduced the magic lanterns inherit dangers and increased the clarity and brightness of projected images.

As global technology developed and another Kondratieff Wave elapsed, the 1930′s-50′s saw companies restructure their business models to reflect the early stages of data mining and to stay relevant in an era of rapid advancement. These standards spawned a culture of data driven management and business modeling in the form of graphs and charts. As the pace of technology increased, the business sector identified the necessity to communicate large amounts of information, swiftly, accurately and visually. Information gave companies a competitive edge and preceded another merger between the business world and technological world by way of the photo carousel in the 1960′s. The device enabled a presenter to shrink data (make it portable and transferable) and compile a sequential slide to market an idea or report with visually. This carousel also made it possible to present vast amounts of information without the hassle of managing slides during the presentation.

Before electronic presentations would leap to the next level it honored its predecessor by reinventing the original medium used in 1801. The blackboard became the white board and a fixture in classrooms, companies and homes during the 1980′s. The whiteboard is still used today, but the fun, colorful and easily erasable surface is experiencing a cultural demise in the current technological environment. This descent slowly began in the late 80′s with the introduction of power point presentation software by MAC. In 2001 95% of all computers with presentation software installed used power point.

As the theme of this article naturally echoes, current technology has a short life cycle. Mobile technology is the next wave to revolutionize how we handle data. An estimated 1 in 10 presentations are currently viewed on mobile devices. Projections estimate mobile technology to be become the primary platform for data management in most industries.

The future of presentation software is limitless considering the industry’s ability to adapt to technological and cultural changes in the business sector. Voice command and interactive motion sensing technology along with budding technologies will usher a new era of data management and presentation models for the next generation.

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