One aspect of the increased terminal usage was
the connection of terminals directly to the mainframe. For a variety of
reasons, for many mainframe users that was not a cost-effective solution
because direct connection needed new ‘state- of-the-art’ mainframes for
the most efficient operation. A more attractive proposition was to connect
a minicomputer to the existing mainframe and use the
The key-to-disk system used in the punch room was a minicomputer. One of the main milestones in the development of desktop computing was the movement of data capture out of the punch room to the source of creation of the input form. This was done by moving terminals to remote locations and/or moving complete systems to remote locations. These movements represented the beginning of the end for the punch room as historically conceived. Later in the 1970s these minicomputer systems were upgraded with file processing, data management, high level programming languages and later interactive telecoms with mainframes. This was the tipping point. Desktop computing was born. Developments continued and in the 1990s organizations re-engineered their work processes. The desktop terminal became a multi-function workstation either as a PC or as a terminal with full access to a complete range of facilities including internet and intranet connectivity.
The Case Studies in this section are the studies that have survived. They chart various approaches to distributed processing via data capture. Distributed processing and punch rooms co-existed. They were not mutually exclusive. New applications tended to start with distributed processing data capture and then evolve into desktop computing and later into PCs/workstations which often included scanning.
© Michael Aldrich 2011