Why are we still faxing?

I still get the calls about problems with fax lines and I hear the complaints about how long it takes to fax a 30 page document and how hard it is to read a faxed and re-faxed and re-re-faxed document and I just wonder why the habit persists to fax documents rather than scan and email them.  I understand we should be even beyond scanning and should be totally paperless but that technology still just isn’t “there” yet in my mind. However, scan to email has so many advantages over old fashioned faxing that I am dumbfounded that fax machines haven’t been sent added to the list of things we just don’t do anymore like rotary phones, film cameras and socializing in person (hah!).

If you scan and email a document you can send the document straight to the intended recipient, not the office fax machine that every prying eye in the office can snoop at.  Scanned documents don’t get picked up by a careless co-worker along with a stack of their copies or, worse, crinkled up in a paper jam for four hours waiting for the repairman to come fix the copier.  Scanned documents also come through crystal clear with very little quality loss compared to the original.  You can be anywhere and receive an emailed document, not tied to a stationary fax line at the office or home.  And did I mention speed?  The Internet used to be accessed via phone line – in 1995.  Fax lines still use that same dial-up technology and it shows.  A scanned document can be emailed in seconds.  A lengthy sales contract can take twenty minutes to fax.   You wouldn’t fire up your 56k modem to download a 20 megabyte PDF or printer driver so why do we still use that technology to send contracts?

I can sit on a beach on a Greek island, take a picture and post it to Facebook in literally seconds.  I can take a picture of a check and deposit it into my checking account from anywhere in the world.   I can geo-tag a photo and display it on a map instantly showing my location.  I can download an album to my phone in one tenth the time it takes to actually listen to said album (and for you born circa 1985 reading this, an album is what they used to call a collection of songs, usually around ten of them, that they used to press into vinyl discs called “records” that would get scratched and would pop and hiss but sounded awesome and had album art and stuff you could read…but I digress).  So if we have progressed this far in practically everything else, what is holding us back on the fax machine?  Is it nostalgia?  Something like, you can take away my vinyl records and my rotary phone, but by God, I’ll not give up my fax machine… or is it comfort food, like chamomile tea for an upset stomach and a fax machine to soothe the troubles of a lengthy contract negotiation.  We’ll never know.


Posted by: George Christodoulou

Comments are closed.


Equal Housing Opportunity. Equal Opportunity Employer.