Overview

The more things change, the more they stay the same

To be honest, I never really understood that phrase. I mean, really, how can something stay the same when it continues to change?

I remember being in grade school and my 6th grade teacher told me that I had to write a paper on that very topic, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I almost flipped out! A whole paper, front and back, on a topic that I had no clue what it meant? (Some may say that I’ve made a living out of doing that very thing.) And while I struggled through it, I still never really understood the concept.

Flash forward by about 30 years and here I am writing another paper (electronic) on the very same topic, yet this time with the ability to look back in my own history and see just how true this statement really is. As time passes, we seem to draw upon our own experiences and repeat those things that seem most comfortable with. History does, often repeat itself.

To show you what I mean, here’s a light-hearted look at a few examples in some areas that I’m more familiar with:

Clothing

  1. Regretfully, I lived through the days of bell bottoms and plaid pants as a child only to see the bell bottoms make it back in style (thank goodness the plaid pants haven’t quite made it back).
  2. Glasses – both the "bug eyed" sun glasses and the "horn-rimmed" glasses from the 50′s & 60′s. They are both just awful!
  3. The 80′s look is back! And why? Because my generation is running the fashion world and for some reason, they seem to think it looks cool. I can’t believe I’m seeing knee high boots again with jeans tucked nicely inside. I’m just waiting for parachute pants and stirrup pants to make their way into the heart of the conservative Midwest.

Entertainment

  1. I’ve seen tons of original movies remade including The Day the Earth Stood Still, Fame, Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Flubber and many others. As a matter of fact, here is a site where you can find 55 movie remakes currently in the works!
  2. I’ve also heard several songs being remade that I used to like as a kid (and let me go on the record, I haven’t heard one that sounds as good as it did when it first came out).
  3. TV shows – 90210, Melrose Place, Bionic Woman, Knight Rider and don’t forget V. And I understand that Charlie’s Angels is back on the list for remakes again. I wonder when Mork and Mindy will make its way?

Technology

  1. We started with mainframes pushing data to dumb terminals (green screens). Then we saw the processing power moved out to the desktop in the form of Personal Computers (PCs) because it provided more flexibility and control for the business user. Now, of course, everything has started to shift back to centralized processing with virtual servers pushing apps out to dumb terminals again. Granted, those "dumb" terminals aren’t quite so dumb. And for many of us, our "dumb terminals" are our iPhones, Android and Blackberry phones.
  2. In the area of communications, we have seen an even more back and forth between cloud-based and on-site technology. From a very simplistic point of view, we started with the original telephone network (cloud-based, if you will) with "dumb terminal" phones that had to be rented from the phone company. Later, on-site PBXs started making their way into businesses and the phones at the desktop were sophisticated devices. Not much later, phone services in the cloud arrived again but in the form of communication services called Centrex (CENTral EXchange). Then, more sophisticated premise-based communications solutions arrived in the form of all-in-one solutions and the phone became just a dump-terminal again (voice path only). And now, yet again, voice communications is being handled back in the cloud but this time under the name of CaaS or Communications-as-a-Service (see www.CaaS.com).

Of course, my list is a short one, but blogs aren’t meant to be comprehensive. That’s your job to help me finish out the list of those things that you’ve seen come and go, changing along the way, yet staying the same.

Let me hear your thoughts.

Tim Passios - like "Passion" but with an "s" (sorry, silly humor from my college "pick-up line" days)

Tim Passios

Tim Passios

I began working for Interactive Intelligence in 1998 and have a more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications and software industries. I also worked in contact centers as an agent, supervisor, field trainer and manager for eight of those 20 years. In my current role at Interactive Intelligence I have constant interactions with customers, prospects, the media and industry analysts, which all help me to understand many different perspectives related to the contact center, unified communications and business process automation markets. When I’m not working I like to spend time with my family.

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