The Fax Machine Stays Alive

from the can't-get-rid-of-it-that-easily dept

It’s been nearly a year and a half since we last checked in on the world of fax machines and found that, despite this whole digital internet paperless revolution thing, the fax machine refused to die. It turns out, a year and a half later, not much has changed. The fax machine is still a necessary piece of equipment for many businesses, and shows no signs of going away any time soon. In fact, some are saying that fax machine sales are actually going up these days. Of course, some of us still can’t figure out what it’s good for, other than documents where a signature is needed — though, it’s also being used in places where people don’t want to give out their email addresses, but prefer the less personable fax machine as a way to ward off constant contact.

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Comments on “The Fax Machine Stays Alive”

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gaw (user link) says:

Ancient Technology

You’d probably be surprised to find that some businesses still use (**gasp**) COPIERS to MAKE COPIES instead of the new fangled scan/digitize/print thingy. And did you know that some companies still purchase CALCULATORS to CALCULATE with? Why, some companies even employ the ancient, non-digital PEN to WRITE WORDS with.
The business of business is conducting business, and it uses the best available tool to efficiently and effectively conduct that business. Making a process digital does not neccessarily entail it becoming better or more efficient.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Ancient Technology

Wasn’t trying to imply that the fax machine deserved to die. Just pointing out that it’s still around — while many expected it to die.

I’m completely with you on the other things. I have a copier and I have a calculator on my desk that I still use. And I have a fax machine.

It just seems that many of these technologies were supposed to make the fax machine obsolete. And they haven’t.

gaw (user link) says:

Re: Re: Ancient Technology

My bad… actually it was the Taipei folks that were bemoaning the “ancient technology” that just wouldn’t die.

I just mentioned in a post that the reason fax machines refuse to die is that they are still the most efficient method of reliably getting a hard copy document from point A to B, and this is a process where reliabilty is critical. From the looks of this fax machine, apparently the us army agrees.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ancient Technology

See, the first step is to fire the old hag secretary who doesn’t want to use “that new-fangled contraption”, then…oh look…suddenly you’re joining EFFICIENT businesses and doing work faster, keeping in contact with clients in realtime if need be, and have portable digital backups of ALL correspondence/info if you want, etc…

But, I guess you can go back to bringing your productivity to a standstill if you want by hunting for batteries for your old calculator, or beads for your abacus, or whatever…

“The business of business is conducting business”
…and a degree in philosophy lets you…teach philosophy…

This train of thought is why useless MBAs are still working…They’ve turned the production of goods/services into paper-pushing and filling out forms, so OBVIOUSLY the idea of a paperless office(no fax machines,etc) scares the beejeezus out of them. Their inefficient running-in-circles-looking-busy would be laid bare…and they’d be laid off…

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Chicken / Egg

Actually, if you do your research, the ‘fax machine’ was invented *before* the telephone.

It wasn’t really a fax machine as we know it, but a system was developed that involved a pendulum swinging back and forth over an image created with electrically conductive ink that would send a signal over a telegraph line and produce a similar image on the far end.

VonSkippy says:

People are afraid of change

I stopped using a fax machine in 1999. When people ask me for my fax number, I chuckle, and ask what decade they’re living in. To date, I haven’t lost one client. Most businesses are too afraid that they will piss off one of their precious ludite customers to embrace new technology which is quicker, better, and way way cheaper (no 2nd phone line, no long distance, no fax paper costs, etc.).

gaw (user link) says:

Re: People are afraid of change

So, the US Army is afraid to embrace quicker, better, more efficient technology? Or could it be that the US Army realizes the importance of a reliable communications platform? I believe the term “mission critical” applies.
My business produces over two hundred pounds of contracts each year. Each of those contracts is worth several thousand dollars to me. I have to be able to be prepared to produce those records in a manner that a court of law would be willing to accept as evidence. Sure, there are paperless ways to accomplish this. There are also power surges, hard drive failures, operator errors and countless other means by which all or some of that data could be lost or corrupted. If embracing the reliability of paper makes me a ludite, so be it. At least I am not dependent on the latest microsoft service pack to keep my records secure.

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