Fax, facsimile, telefax or telefacsimile – these are just some of the many names used to refer to the telephonic transmission of documents and images to another telephone number connected to a printer or output device of some sort.
Facsimile technology has a long and interesting history. However it wasn’t until 1964, when the first commercial fax machine was introduced by the Xerox company. From that point onwards, fax machines have become a part of everyday life.
In recent years however, the fax has begun to feel like dated technology. That has prompted some to wonder, “is the end of the fax machine upon us?”
Why Is Faxing Still Around?
The internet has taken over almost every single aspect of our lives and has allowed us to share information with just a few clicks. In fact, the internet, along with email, have changed the way we work.
With just a scanner and an internet connection, or even just a smartphone, documents and images can be shared effortlessly. In stark contrast, fax machines require a physical machine, paper, ink, a dedicated line, and can take several minutes to send a single page.
All of this has resulted in reduced usage in favor of other communication methods.
So why is faxing even a thing?
Well, not everyone has given up faxing. Not by a long shot. Many industries, governments, and organizations still rely heavily on the humble fax technology. Contracts, health forms, and other formal documentation also drive significant fax usage.
Furthermore, fax technology has been around for more than half a century and is deeply integrated into many business process systems.
Even in Japan – a nation on the cutting-edge of innovation – faxes are still very much a part of daily life. This can be attributed to several reasons – for example, much of the senior management in Japanese businesses are well into their 80s. Thus, they are not very computer literate. Japanese culture places a great deal of importance in handwritten notes.
All of this, can present a problem for the many among us who have long since recycled our fax machines.
Good thing for internet and smartphone faxing.
Sending and Receiving Faxes Over the Internet
Fax technology has evolved together with the introduction of WiFi and smartphones. As a matter of fact, newer generation services utilize the PSTN network, or the T.38 protocol, which allows fax machines to be VoIP compatible, unlike the older T.30 protocol.
This gives virtually anyone the ability to send a fax over the internet. Options include faxing directly from a website, or even more conveniently, using a smartphone app. There’s no need for a fax machine, a fax line, or paper. Everything is electronic.
These services also offer an easy and modern way to catalog incoming or outgoing faxes – either via email, the cloud, or often both.
Best of all, this convenient fax method is inexpensive or even free for infrequent users. And for regular users, a small monthly fee covers everything. Either way, when compared to the more traditional fax machine the expense is modest, and offer a host of conveniences and environmental benfits.
So if you are a small business owner or an up-and-coming startup that rarely needs to send and receive faxes, purchasing a brand-new fax machine may not be the most prudent course of action.
Thanks to internet and fax-to-email technology, you can send and receive faxes just as you would send an email on your computer, or mobile device.
Fax technology has proven time and time again that it has staying power. And it remains one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods of transmitting formal documents and images. Even in an age where the internet reigns supreme, businesses still need to be able to send and receive faxes.
Service providers like FaxBurner are available with both free and paid plans and provide subscribers with the many conveniences of internet and smartphone faxing.