Do Businesses Still Need Fax Machines?

Fax Machine

The fax or facsimile machine was a must have business tool in the 1980's and remained popular through the 90's. But with the advances in the telecommunications industry and the increasing influence of the internet, is such a machine still needed for the average small to medium business ? Or is it time for the fax machine to be metaphorically or literally tossed on the scrap heap?

You could argue both ways.

I would say in the long run they will go the way of the dinosaurs but I still think they have a relevance today and for the foreseeable future, especially for smaller and medium sized businesses. It could even be argued that they are still being used in bigger businesses or places that seem to be totally immersed in internet and e-commerce.

For instance, I had to sign an agreement with an online only e-commerce store recently. They required that I send a fax with my signature on it. This is the case with banks and law firms too. They have to be fairly conservative with new technology because of the importance of protecting their data (or your data as the case may be).

And that is the beauty of a fax machine that things like email can't really compare to.

A fax machine makes it real...or keeps it real if you like.

A fax machine turns a piece of paper or a document that you may have created yourself or hand written  into something real for another person connected to you by a telephone line. Provided you can scan that piece of paper into the fax machine, it can get to the other side even if that other side is thousands of miles away.

Sure this can be done to some extent via email provided you scan it into a computer and then attach it to an email and you have an email address to send to but this is another layer of complexity that some small businesses don't want to get involved in or can't get involved in.

There are also services popping up that specialize in offering faxing as a service but this may still not suit every ones needs.

Faxing is simple compared to other options available. Moreover it is understood by must people. The machines are built to fit in many business workplaces, be it a traditional office, a doctors surgery or a mechanics workshop.

Of course there can be problems with faxes. They can take time to scan a document in. If the receiving line is also a talking phone line, it may have to been switched over before you can successfully transmit  the fax but these are problems that are not insurmountable even if they can be irritating.

So although the future of the fax is undeniably grim but it still has a future in the here and now. People understand the technology and it is easy to use. It is ideally suited for smaller and medium sized businesses that don't have the infrastructure to resource to use internet based alternatives to the fax.

Posted By david on 13th October 2012

Updated : 11th June 2018 | Words : 513 | Views : 4804

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