Is the fax machine dead?

The fax is dead, and I don’t meant the machine itself! It’s obsolete, it’s slow, unsecured, and a waste of paper. We walk around with mobile communication centers in our pockets (Smartphones), which can photograph, scan, send to multiple connections all in the blink of an eye, and yet you want to sit in front of an outdated machine and listen to the connection static noise?

Before email and Smartphones, faxing documents was much quicker than mailing the original. We also used a lot more paper documentation in the office place and at home. Every invoice, every receipt, and every order form was a paper document. It thus made sense to walk over to the fax machine and fax it to someone else, and create more paperwork on the other side. Electronic data did away with this, or at least it should have.

It has taken time for computers to finally do away with paper, but we’re finally there. We receive our invoices by email, pay bills online, complete job applications on online forms, read e-newsletters, posted articles, send instant messages, do video calls, and more. Furthermore, we now do most of these tasks from our Smartphones (“Mobile Communication Center” as I like to call it). Why would you fax a black and white form, and have it come out grainy on the other side, when you can send the electronic copy (which exists because you worked on it on your computer), in an instant. Let’s break down the reasons to never use a fax again.

Let’s begin with speed.

In order to Fax: Print out the document(s), fill out the cover sheet, look up the number, walk over to the fax and feed the documents in, wait for the connection beeps and boops, if successful, file the confirmation page away with your document, if not successful, go look up the number again, and start over.

In order to E-mail: Open new email page with signature auto-completed, drag and drop your document(s), write “Hello here is my document”, hit Send.

You tell me which sounds faster and easier.

Let’s now address security. If I type in the incorrect fax number, my fax may go out to some random person. When I do type the correct number, there is no guarantee the fax machine is right next to the person I’m sending to (how many of you sit next to your fax machine?). Thus even the right number may end up with the document in the wrong hands. If I type the incorrect email address, it bounces. Usually my email app autocorrects to the correct address, thus lowering chance of errors. With the correct address, I can be certain it is going to the correct person and no one else. Not only does it go to the correct person, but right to their desktop; now that’s delivery service!

What about backups in case of flood or fire, or simply misplacing a faxed paper or email? In the case of fax, it’s mostly permanently lost. Accidentally deleted your email? Check your backups for copies.


Moral of the story: The fax isn’t dead, it’s slow and unsecure, and like Old Yeller; although we all cried at the end, putting it out of its misery is the right thing to do!