Fax machines date back from 1848 and their technology is based on patents registered in 1843. Surprisingly, the word fax is an abbreviation of the original name: ‘facsimile,’ which is the Latin term for ‘make similar.’
From the name, we can easily infer that this machine’s purpose is to make copies. The steps are – scanning, encoding, modulation, transmission, demodulation, decoding, and copy making. This helped many companies improve communications, especially those sharing signed documents, photographs or other images. Very few companies were able to afford the earlier bulky versions of this technology.
On the other hand, sales rose considerably in the 80’s thanks to the rapid industrialization of fax production. Companies needed to send documents and graphics securely from offices to factories. Increased income made fax more accessible and its cost was also reduced.
In these digital times, the internet and email revolutionized office communication. You might think that fax machines are obsolete, but that’s not really the case, they are still being used today. Keep reading to know why. You will also understand why your business might need a fax machine in this era.
Why Does Your Business Still Need Fax? 8 Reasons
1. Other People Are Still Using Fax
You probably know of people in your network that still use fax. Why would you phase out fax entirely and risk losing this faction of your network? On the contrary, it does not cost you much to maintain a fax machine. Some companies in healthcare, governments, logistics and law firms still rely on this technology.
Today we have online fax services that operate with the help of the internet. With this tool you will receive your fax online, in your email’s inbox or via a smartphone app. There are also some multifunction devices that come with inbuilt fax services.
2. You Can Integrate it With your Current Phone System
You don’t need to have a whole rewiring of your office phone systems to have a new fax line. You can easily integrate your online fax with your current telephone lines, networks and devices. You can choose your own fax number in most cases, and you can also keep your current lines.
Integrating your tools allows you to make processes more effective, so you should always take advantage of as many software integrations as your business requires. For example integrating a cloud storage service with your fax and phone line. You can store huge amounts of data without the need of big storage places.
3. Fax Machines Don’t Have Viruses, Making Them Secure
When you download and open an attached file from an email, you never really know if it contains any malware or virus. This is not a threat to fax machines. And it’s one of the many reasons why people still use the fax.
Online Fax encryption is a reliable and secure feature most providers offer. Fax machines can also operate outside of the internet through phone networks. This reduces the chances of interception, but it’s not completely invulnerable.
4. Proof Of Receipt
When you send out a fax, you receive a confirmation page once the machine on the other end receives it. The confirmation printout details the date and time of receipt, plus the fax numbers of machines on both ends.
Unfortunately, more modern methods like email do not offer such hard proof. You only get notified if the address used is not in existence. Otherwise, you would have to depend on the receiver’s willingness to acknowledge receipt. With advanced email filters, the likelihood that your mail gets interpreted as spam rises by the day.
5. Some Things Are Better Done By Hand
While tablets provide a digital way of signing documents, the authenticity levels do not match those of paper. Fax messages allow you to scan and send hand-signed documents over an encrypted channel.
Also, most logographic characters are better done by hand. Perhaps this is the major reason the fax machine remains popular in most countries on the Asian continent. Korean, Japanese, and Chinese characters are some of those that come to mind.
6. Fax Allows Sending Messages To Vague Addresses
When using postal service, one could easily send letters to “the assistant to department XYZ.” This is something the fax machine easily replicates and allows contact with people whose personal addresses you do not have.
That gives fax a competitive edge over email. Email is structured in such a way that everyone gets their personal address. Different companies also have varying ways of scheduling messages sent over the general address. Hence, you have to dig up the right email or risk contacting the wrong person.
7. Higher Chance To Get The Message Through
Sending out fax is quite a task, considering few people have detailed fax usage knowledge. Thus, it discourages plenty of spammers. That does not mean that you will not get some stray fax sometimes. It’s just that the frequency is not as high as with emails.
Unlike email, you also stand a fair chance of getting a reply as every fax gets seen. A much welcome improvement from the small 21% chance of your email getting opened. Not to mention the high volumes of emails received and sophisticated junk filters.
8. User Friendliness
While email is quite user-friendly and information gets sent out fast, there are some complexities. If, for instance, you want to send a scanned document you need a scanner. Should the document have multiple pages, you will have to scan each page and store the files on your computer. Then you wait some more, as they upload once you hit the send button.
However, with the document feeder on your fax machine, everything works on the instant. Upload your documents, key in the fax number and your document pops up on the other end. Plus, it is highly secure thanks to the inbuilt encryption system.
You have probably never given the use of fax much thought, but now you have reasons to. If you have been in business for many years, you probably already have a fax machine. You were wondering whether it is obsolete or not? Well, you just got to understand why you might not let go as of yet. Online faxing is also a great alternative as it’s convenient and cost-effective.
Technologies will keep coming our way, and some have a competitive advantage over older methods. Yet, you can harness two times the advantage by integrating new technologies into older ways of doing things. The fax machine is one way of doing so and comes with its load of benefits.
Follow Technoroll for more!