The year is 2020. People can send important files and documents in a split second, thanks to the existence of mobile phones, desktops, and laptops. And for the vast majority, it seems a little curious why people still use fax today.
We’ll get to that in just a sec, but let’s first talk about the wonder product first seen in 1843 – the fax machine. Alexander Bain created the world’s first-ever faxing device, but it only gained worldwide traction in the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
The faxing process is straightforward. Put one signed document on the machine, press the green button, and wait until a colleague or client receives the file in a few minutes. It doesn’t matter how far they are. The fax machine dropped jaws during the event, but it took a while before people could afford to buy it. Faxing became popular in the late 1980s when the machine prices dropped to accommodate small businesses.
But around the mid-90s, another technological discovery took the world by storm — the internet. Since then, people worldwide have been able to exchange texts, pictures, and documents, completely paper-free. Emailing has become more prevalent and more accessible, and many assumed that that was the end of fax machines.
But it wasn’t. Here are a handful of reasons people still use fax in 2020:
1. It kept up with the times
Instead of going obsolete, faxing stayed relevant by using the internet to pave the way for online fax service. Through this service, you can send or receive a fax via email, your computer, or smartphone. Fax servers, multifunctional devices, and computers with fax modems replaced the old fax machine. The user interface is comparable to Gmail’s, so it won’t be challenging to maneuver.
2. It benefits from the Bandwagon Effect
You’re probably reading this because you’re curious to find out if you need a fax machine to run your business. Most likely, someone who uses fax machines has sparked your interest. Industries, such as logistics, medical, and the government, still take advantage of fax machines’ various uses. Since many companies are still using fax, other companies feel compelled to do the same. The effects of a powerful network won’t die down quickly. It’s all because most people suffer from the fear of missing out.
3. It lends a sense of security to the legal system
Do people still fax? The most avid fax machines users are the people working in the legal system. This is true, far and wide. American law enforcement, for one, has access to the world’s most advanced technological creations, yet fairly low-tech tools are necessary to handle the better part of policing. Serving court papers via email becomes complicated because of spam filters and bouncing emails. The reason fax has persisted over the years is that it safeguards sensitive information a lot better than emails.
4. It works even without the internet
Just as quickly as you can integrate a fax machine with the internet, the device is still functional without it. Encrypted fax transmissions will remain on the phone lines without touching a network, so the information will only be available to send and receive the document.
5. It is the best source of confirmation pages
Why do fax machines still exist? Without a doubt, providing confirmation pages is the number one reason fax machines don’t fade away. After sending out a fax, you will receive a confirmation page that guarantees the other party has received the document. It even includes essential information, such as both parties’ fax numbers and transmission date and time.
Faxing is the electronic equivalent of snail mail, which allows you to access proof of receipts in the records. You can’t say the same for emails.
6. It is easier when sending documents in Japanese, Korean, or Chinese language.
Are fax machines still used in Asia? In certain countries, absolutely yes! Sending files via fax machines is less tiresome for users of logographic characters than sending emails. It is easier to write words by hand. No matter how high-tech companies in Japan are, most of them rely on the fax machine for its one-of-a-kind use.
7. It does not get lost in transmission
Fax has a low signal-to-noise ratio. You don’t see all your emails, mails, or social media posts, but you’ll know if someone sends you a message via the fax machine.
Check your email inbox. How many unopened messages do you have in it? How many times have you missed a message because it wound up in the spam folder? Using a fax machine is not as constant as sending emails, so blurring out the noise is much easier. Once you send someone a fax message, you are rest assured that they will see it.
8. It’s a quick fix for sending signatures (and the safest, too!)
Do people still use fax machines to send signed documents? Yes, since it can get tricky if you are not careful. Suppose there is delicate information involved. The last thing you want is a network to come across the data and your signature. Since fax can work over phone lines, you can escape the dangers of the internet.
9. It allows you to send fax messages to incomplete addresses
Emails are not efficient when it comes to the general delivery address. When you send a letter or fax, you can get off with just the business name. These days, email address information doesn’t come by easily. And if you don’t know the address by heart, you can’t send that email.
10. It makes transactions more straightforward for businesses
Name a business that does not have paperwork. None, right? Especially when it comes to business-to-business interaction. There will always be paperwork. Standard forms are only traditional to a company, so exchanges are natural.
Moreover, if there are emergencies (such as last-minute bargaining) after a client meeting, faxing documents will save the day. It will eliminate the need to return to the office, print a new copy, and ask for original signatures.
Faxing gives a semblance of magic that emails can’t replicate. There is something about watching a document passed on from one side of the world to another that gives users a sense of tangibility. Faxing still plays a relevant role in various businesses, but it is not the central point of communication. However, companies should not throw in the towel on using fax machines just yet because they are a big help in streamlining business processes in more ways than one.