Fax machines are way older than you think. Way back in 1843 sending photos and images over an electrical wire existed and in 1865 a telefax service from Paris and Lyon, France was operational.
In 20th-century radio networks were used to transmit images and the modern fax machine that exists today was introduced in 1964 in the United States.
You won’t find any of those early digital technologies from 1964, but fax machines are an exception. CRT monitors, televisions and dot-matrix are not seen anymore. Cell Phones have taken over landlines and the landline that exist today are also digital these days.
Most of the technologies that existed at that time are now showcased at museums, only the fax machine is still there that eat paper at a bps of 14,400.
All of this was brought back to me few days back when I had to sort out a problem with garbled fax transmission at a health care center.
In 2016, you have the power of streaming live video in HD quality from one corner to another corner of the earth. I make calls from a watch, get my car started from anywhere and I can show my boarding pass on a hand-held device that can be placed in my pocket.
There are probably hundreds of different communication platforms from where I can be in touch with my family, friends and colleagues from any location on the earth and also from a different orbit.
Yet we are dependent on an old technology that has the process of making an analog call, getting connected with an offshore modem which may be speeded at 9,600bps or may be lower. It’s real kinda madness. We have to admit, we are still addicted to it.
And the reason is few that can be ignored, firstly our lowest common denominator law that here states that if you need to send a document over to another company and the means that available at both ends is only a fax machine. The second reason is, of course, feeling in a way where you need to send a manually signed document that is sent to you digitally, and you re-digitize it. So, 10 papers of PDF is printed firstly and then it’s sent back via fax which only require the last page to be signed.
The fax machine has an upper hand in a way that they are a direct communication method. You also get an immediate receipt of receiving a document which is another cool thing. And moreover, the monitoring of this transmission can also be done.
But the foremost and last thing that it does is the security that it provides, as its a direct connection, the probability of disclosing sensitive information is pretty minimal. That’s why many healthcare providers still use and maintain fax machines to transfer the sensitive data to another place.
It’s always better to skip printing and faxing a bunch of papers if you have an email. But why it’s not being used? Why many businesses still rely on fax machines? Emails should be more secure, and they should be more reliable in transmitting sensitive data. We can also have all the encryptions and big attachments in an email and also we can get the receipts.
But the saddest part is that the emails are not secure when compared to fax, still we haven’t come to a stage where emails are completed secured.
The real situations is like getting tons of junk mail, all kind of flyers and email marketing material and much more. When an email is sent, you have to pray that it reaches safely as it doesn’t end up in a junk mail wrapper, or may be the recipients server has no issues and if it does than secondary servers are also working.
Large mail providers have to hope that they are not banned or on a blacklist, and you may be your ISP is being used to some spamming which may block all emails from your ISP.
What a grand reality of email exists today, and you may have guessed that it’s pretty ugly situation. That’s why many companies still rely on the good old fax machines as they are reliable and secure to transmit a document.
So, if you want the fax to be eliminated in today’s world, you need to make sure that your email is secure and if not eliminate then re-create the magical fax system that’s been used on same patterns of 1964, which is entirely obsolete and shameful.
You can also try the free fax online and see the results yourself.