It’s old, unwanted and taking up space, but fax isn’t going anywhere. It might not have the gleaming future it had in the 70s, but the future of fax is still bright. Today, eFax looks at why this technology just won’t die.
Why Fax Isn’t Dead
Fax in the modern day is still prevalent. While usage has decreased since the 70s and 80s, many businesses still fax. Despite recent attempts to cut numbers down further, fax isn’t going anywhere. Its valuable benefits make it irreplaceable technology.
The Future of the Fax
Fax has a place in the modern workplace, but fax machines do not. Their disadvantages create massive problems for businesses they shouldn’t have to deal with. Luckily, they don’t have to, because the future of fax technology is eFax online fax. Online fax enables users to send fax without the need for outdated hardware.
In early 2020, we got some news. It was revealed that major fax service providers, including eFax, were expecting to see increased market shares of over double what they currently have. For those outside the corporate world, this might come as a surprise — surely nobody sends fax anymore? But anyone in the business environment is likely aware of the current reliance of fax for commercial organisations.
eFax previously wrote a blog about important fax statistics. We encourage you to read it for all the important details, but the key takeaways are that fax machines sales are still in the millions, with billions of fax documents transmitted every single year. Major economies across the world — from the USA to Japan — use fax machines regularly. In non-commercial environments, fax is certainly dead and has been since the early 00s, but even in the most modern of business sectors, you’ll still find day-to-day use of fax.
We’ve established that fax is not dead. But why not? If you look at fax technology on paper, the fact it retains such an important place in business culture is a bit mind-boggling. Fax as a technology was invented in the 1840s and popularised in the 1970s. Other technology popular during the hay-day of the fax machine includes floppy disks, cassette tapes, and Atari games consoles. Far superior inventions surpassed every one of these technologies and sent them the way of the dodo. So why then does fax remain so many decades later?
The simple answer is, there is just no replacing fax.
Fax has a few significant benefits over any other kind of document communication format. Their highly visual nature makes them easy to dissect and extract information quickly, and the nature of sending image files improves the legal authenticity of the content. As a result, you’ll find industries like healthcare, legal, and finance all rely on fax just as much in the present day as they did thirty years ago. And this reliance has a trickle-down effect. If large companies and organisations require fax, it means those working with them do as well. This fact has resulted in a web of fax connectivity; a web in which many, many businesses have become entangled.
We use the word “entangled” as though the use of fax is a bad thing. Why when it’s so beneficial to many industries, is it a bad thing to fax? At eFax, we’re passionate about great fax service. We’d never suggest fax was bad; we think fax is fantastic and that every business should use it. But, while we love fax, we do have a problem with fax machines.
Fax is a communication system, whereby visual documents are sent between two parties. One way to send a fax — the method most commonly associated with fax — is to use a fax machine. Fax machines are the issue. They are an outdated technology that doesn’t belong in the modern workplace. They’re expensive, inefficient — and inflexible. They’re also highly destructive when it comes to data security.
The issues with fax machines have not gone unnoticed.
Organisations like the NHS have committed to “axe the fax” movements that promise to eliminate fax machines from the healthcare sector. Other industries are backing their objectives. Many businesses are trying to cut down on the volume of faxes they send. Looking at the data though, we can see targets for axing fax machines are being missed. The NHS has failed to get rid of fax at the rates intended — as have others who have tried to follow in their footsteps. And there is a very simple reason for this — fax is too important to remove. Therefore, efforts to cut it out are invariably going to see problems.
The big mistake businesses and organisations make is identifying fax and fax machines as mutually inclusive technology. They see fax machines as a necessity for fax transmission, but that is no longer true. At eFax, we’re against fax machines, but we’re fully in support of fax. Why? Because we offer a new way to send fax.
The future of fax. Digital fax.
Fax cannot be removed, its value to our society cannot be overstated and its importance will always circumvent any attempts to remove it. But fax machines are old technology and certainly not the future of fax. Digital fax services are the future of fax. They allow for a completely computer-based alternative to fax machines, enabling fax to be sent in much the same way as through a fax machine, but through a secure and versatile modern device — such as smartphone or laptop.
Fax will remain part of the business landscape for years to come — with or without fax machines — because other forms of communication cannot outdo its benefits. The future of the technology though is not more complicated fax machines, but instead a step towards simplification, by integrating fax with more modern devices used to connect business.
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