Back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s the fax machine was one of the busiest machines in the room. Back then it was the only way to get a hard copy of a document from one party to another over long distances. The first fax machines were big and bulky and made a lot of annoying noises, thanks to the built-in phone modem.
For the twenty plus years that the fax machine was being used it was probably the one machine that no office, regardless of size could do without. This is probably one of the biggest of all the reasons why the fax machine is still being used by some businesses for sending important documents. The fax machine would become so ingrained into the processes of the business that they would not know how to function without it working.
As time marched on technology evolved and new simpler means of communications started to signal the eventual end of the widespread use of the fax machine. The first real step in the direction of making the fax machine obsolete and unnecessary was when the top printing hardware manufacturers started to create all-in-one printer devices, which virtually did away with the need to have an actual fax machine.
While hardware evolution may have signaled the beginning of the end of the fax machine, it was not really until the digital age took over the business world that most people realize that we have may have reached the end of the need for the fax machine and ability to transmit documents over a phone line. With so many new options available for businesses to be able to transmit documents between offices, it was truly surprising that the fax machine still lives on in some places.
While some businesses continue to hold on to the past and refuse to let go and embrace the digital age, for the most part, businesses have adapted to using one of the many other ways to send documents between customers/clients and suppliers. One of the main reasons for the slow transformation from using the traditional fax machine to using one of the many other fully digital options is that the alternative often leads to additional workload
One of best things that happened in the technology world was that it was discovered that software could be used in conjunction with existing hardware in the form of firmware that helped to use the scanning functionality of the newest printing hardware to add faxing capability to most any printer that came with a fax machine built in.
The next step in the evolution was to combine email and scanning to create a feature called sending. Many of today’s multifunction printers and large office copier machines have the ability to send and receive faxes via an attached. At the same time, some software developers began designing software programs and systems that allowed faxes to be sent and received via email.
As technology continues to advance and the ability to transmit data in a host of new ways it would appear that the need for a fax machine in the office would again be diminished even further. The newer office machines have already done away with fax function a simply replaced with what they call a sending feature. This sending technology uses the scanner, email and network connectivity of the copier to replace the traditional fax machine. Now, a person can enter an email address, scan any document and hit send. The document is scanned and the file is sent directly to the recipient and they can choose to print it or not on their end. By sending the document in an email it will not be automatically printed out in the recipient’s office like the old fax machine used to do.
Is mobile technology the solution for sending documents?
As smartphone technology continued to develop the business world started to research and develop new ways to use the technology that the handset manufacturers were building into the phones. Most smartphones and tablets have one or two digital cameras that are capable of capturing images and saving them in a digital form.
These digital files that can be shared in a number of different ways including email, text messaging and even posted online via social media. If these new developments would not be able to convince the remainder of the people who are still holding on the idea that they still need to use a fax machine, I am afraid that nothing will.
Disappearing phones lines
There is another technology that is spreading like wildfire around the business world that quite possibly could put an end to the fax machine once and for all. It called VOIP or Voice Over IP and it uses a company’s network infrastructure and transmits the phone conversations over the Internet. By installing this type of phone system there would not be any way for the fax machines phone line to connect and receive or send faxes. In essence, eliminating the need for the fax machine or fax functionality of a multifunction printer.
A good thing about the VOIP system is that they can be installed at a lower cost than a traditional landline phone system and therefore it would be a smart business decision to switch over to it and do away with the fax machine altogether.
So, if you are one of those people that are having a really hard time finally letting go of the office fax machine, rest assured that you are probably not alone. However, you really need to know that there are several different options that your business can use in order to continue to function as effectively without having to rely on a dinosaur that should have been kicked to the curb a long time ago.
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