During its time, the dinosaur, with its size and power, probably seemed to be the least likely candidate for extinction. We might say the same for the traditional fax machine – a long lasting and reliable technology possibly approaching its departure.
Alexander Graham Bell, a Scotland born inventor credited with inventing the telephone, hadn’t taken his first breath of air yet when another Scottish inventor, Alexander Bain, filed a patent for the first fax machine in 1843. That’s the kind of staying power the fax machine has enjoyed over time! Like the telephone, telegraph, television and every other “tele” invented over the years, the fax has morphed and evolved but, unlike its “tele” counterparts, its simplicity of purpose has remained largely the same – electronic transfer of content, as reflected on a document, from point A to point B, usually through a plain old phone line. It’s one of those traditional functions, like the wooden telephone pole, that has so steadily served business communications for so many years that you could hardly imagine it not being around.
But in an age of innovation and web technology, when speed and efficiency are paramount, this time is different. The fact about traditional fax is that despite its reliability and survivability, it has become…well, clunky in today’s modern enterprise. The traditional fax machine takes up office space, it sucks electrical power, and it consumes employees’ time to operate it, which translates into expense. The speed of traditional fax technology is sort of like the Pony Express mail delivery compared to today’s split-second delivery over the Internet.
Today’s emerging fax technology, known as Internet fax or simply efax, is a server-hosted application provided as a service to businesses for a monthly fee, which varies depending upon its total capabilities and how it is packaged. The following advantages of efax are significant:
- Transmission Speed – Internet faster than the old phone lines.
- Multitasking – Send & receive multiple efax transmissions at once.
- Natural Resource Savings – Less consumption of paper & electricity.
- Human Resource Efficiency – Saves employees’ time sending/receiving documents.
- Phone Cost Reduction – No phone lines needed.
- Long Distance Savings – Goes over your Internet.
- Mobility – Fax by cell phone.
- Equipment & Space – No equipment to install; no office space to waste.
Despite the longevity and reliability of the traditional fax machine, there are too many compelling forces riding against it. There’s no doubt that it will eventually take the path of the dinosaur.