Do we still need Fax machines?

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Whatever happened to the humble fax?

It was part of the business technology revolution in the 1980s and before email came along, it was the most popular and easiest way to send documents in an instant.

It speed and security were a major selling point in the business boom from years gone by, but what about its usage today.

 

Does anyone still use them?

Data from The Information for Development Program shows that the top 10 countries whose population still own and frequently use fax machines. The nation which owns the most fax machines is Japan, with just under 10% owning a fax. Surprisingly, this percentage drops to just over 5% for USA in 2nd place then various European nations follow suit below them.

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The full list of 103 countries can be found here.

In the business world, fax is still a popular method of communication for various sectors including legal firms and solicitors who use the machines to attain contracts and paperwork from their clients quickly and easily.

 

Advantages

  • Security – Faxing is the most secure way to send and receive a copy or image of important documents.
  • Speed – With the touch of a button your fax will be received by anyone in the world.
  • Connectivity – You can send a fax message using both your telephone and internet connection. The internet is often quicker but was only introduced in machine models built from the 1990s onwards.
  • Internet fax – there is no software to install or hardware to affix to your PC, no additional telephone line required and because it is integrated with email, the message is paperless to receive.
  • Adaptable – Depending on the device and manufacturers preference, smartphone and tablet users can also receive faxes via their device too.
  • Integrating – Most fax machines combine the ability to send a fax and use the telephone. This was a major space-saver back in the 1980s is still appreciated now by many paper-heavy industries.
  • Proof of sending – Fax machines automatically include a receipt to sender to show that the document has been sent. This is particularly useful in business deals when contracts need to be signed and returned quickly.
  • Cost-effective – Cheaper to send documents via fax than it is to post them
  • Contacts – The newest machines store contact information for up to 50 people.
  • Copy – Once again, the new machines double-up as photo copiers and can copy up to 15 pages per feed (fully automatic) plus have zoom functionality too.
  • Thermal faxes – Notify users about missed calls, incoming faxes and SMS messages. They are also reasonably cheap and are available from most high-end office suppliers, like Viking Direct.

 

Disadvantages

  • Bulky – It takes up a lot of desk space compared to the modern equivalents of mobile phones and email communication
  • Unsafe after use – Tech thieves have discovered a way to retrieve messages and information from old fax machines and printing cartridges.