Basex: The Early Adopter

Year: 1983
Type/Category: Communicating word processor
Product: Northern Telecom IRIS (intelligent remote input stand)
Description: An early attempt to combine word processing and communications, a beta version of IRIS arrived at The Basex Group for study. IRIS utilized an IBM electronic typewriter for input and output, and provided 48K of storage and an RS-232 communications port. The Basex Group used this for routine word processing and, due to the high quality output of the IBM model 50 electronic typewriter to which it was attached, found it preferable than the dot-matrix and daisy wheel printers of its day. But the IRIS was never brought to the marketplace. Its limited storage and proprietary closed architecture doomed it to The Basex Group technology museum.

Year: 1985
Type/Category: Printer/output device
Product: IBM QuietWriter
Description: A letter-high quality printer that made no clickety clack’ on printing? Thermal transfer technology was a significant alternative to the high-priced laser printer market.

Year: 1986
Type/Category: Relational data base management systems
Product: Logica RAPPORT
Description: Fourth-generation mainframe database management system ported to the PC. Using a beta copy, The Basex Group created our original Time and Expense Accounting System (TEAS). Logica spun off the DBMS system to those employees working with it (RAPPORT Corp.) and that company’s limited capitalization limited its chances to succeed in the market place against such up-an- comers as Oracle.

Year: 1986
Type/Category: PC-based voice mail
Product: Natural Micro Systems Watson
Description: The Basex Group started using PC-based voice mail in 1986. Watson’s optional VIS programming language allowed us to create an automated attendant with limited functionality. With a cost of $1,000 plus the PC, while Octal systems were selling for $60,000 plus, the advent of PC based voice mail foreshadowed what was to become the de facto standard by 1992.

Year: 1986
Type/Category: Online banking and commerce
Product: Citibank direct access
Description: First truly transaction based online banking system accessible for businesses. We could create payments and EFT’s online, while checking balances and account activity.

Year: 1986
Type/Category: Electronic mail
Product: AT&T Mail
Description: The Basex Group started on the “information superhighway” with its first E-mail address (!jspira)

Year: 1987
Type/Category: Online publishing
Product: Newsbriefs
Description: The AT&T consultant liaison program, though wary of violating the Modified Final Judgement of the AT& T Divestiture, began forwarding news abstracts about the technology industry on-line via AT&T Mail.

Year: 1990
Type/Category: PC-based fax
Product: Intel SatisFAXtion
Description: The Basex Group began using one of the first Intel SatisFAXion cards for incoming/outgoing fax traffic. Later, fax traffic was migrated to the network-based NetSatisFAXtion, and our original card is still in use in our fax server.

Year: 1991
Type/Category: Groupware
Product: WordPerfect Office
Description: Perhaps the first widely distributed Groupware product, office (not a software suite) provided group calendaring, e-mail, and scheduling.

Year: 1991
Type/Category: Intranet
Description: Although not called an Intranet at the time, The Basex Group created an on-line information resource and library that made internal and external documents accessible enterprise-wide.

Year: 1992
Type/Category: Computer Telephony Integration
Product: Mercury Mail
Description: Taking the concept of PC-based voice mail one step further, The Basex Group became a beta user of our client Mercom Systems’ Mercury Mail. The Basex Group consulting project included the participation in the design of the user interface (both telephone keypad and graphical user interface) and the specification of the feature set, allowing The Basex Group to create the ultimate voice mail system designed by the users themselves.

Jonathan B. Spira is the CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.  This article originally appeared in the Basex Online Journal of Industry and Commerce (BOJIC).

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