Axe the fax. It’s a movement growing in ferocity. Those who support the idea suggest that fax is an outdated practice superseded by newer technology. They argue your business should be actively pushing fax out of its communication structure in favour of better solutions, and that in doing so, you will benefit.
The problem is, they are only half right.
Why Axe the Fax?
On the surface, it makes sense to push for the removal of fax within business. Fax machines are, by most people’s standards, ancient as the technology was introduced in the 19th-century.
This centuries-old hardware is seriously behind the times in all aspects of operation. Fax machines are expensive to run, consume a high volume of resources and don’t support eco-friendly practices. They are also a drain on productivity and inflexible.
The presence of a fax machine within your business won’t just slow you down and cost a bit of extra cash. The hardware is dangerous — particularly in light of the recent GDPR legislation. Fax machines pose major risks to data protection.
The answer appears to be simple then, you axe the fax and find a new form of communication. But, as is often the case, the reality of the situation is far more complicated.
What Happens When You Axe the Fax?
Billions of fax documents are sent around the world every single year. These aren’t in economies that are behind the times, either. The biggest consumers of fax are financial superpowers like the USA, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. Fax is prevalent in many markets and industries for several reasons, varying from the unique viability of fax communications to the simple entrenchment of the technology within certain sectors.
For example, fax remains highly important to the NHS where thousands of fax machines remain in operation. Healthcare Secretary Matt Hancock may be campaigning for the removal of fax within the healthcare service, but there is no real option available that can replace it. Fax has become so universally used that to remove it would require a complete restructuring of the way the entire NHS communicates; a requirement that is just not realistic.
Now we’re giving you contradictory information. We’re telling you fax machines are bad — but that you cannot actually axe the fax. So are we saying you have to put up and shut up?
No, we’re not.
The Fax vs Fax Machine
You’ll notice this article offers a pretty scathing review of the fax machine; and not without good reason. Fax machines are everything your business doesn’t need. They are a problem and need eradicating. However, while fax machine hardware belongs in the same graveyard as the dodo, fax as a communication method can and should be retained.
Fax is great. Fax is used all over the world to send important documents quickly and efficiently. The platform itself is not the problem — it is one every business should take advantage of. Instead, it is the fax machine that is the issue.
Axe the Fax Machine — Not the Fax
You cannot and should not axe the fax; your business will suffer as a result. What you should be doing is looking to axe the fax machine, the dangerous and disastrous hardware that comes hand-in-hand with fax. What you need is an alternative to fax machines that allows you to continue to send fax documents without reliance on a device invented in 1843.
The solution is online fax.
Online fax is the new-age replacement of the fax machine. It allows you to send fax documents in digital form, using smartphones and computers. Online fax removes all the disadvantages and vulnerabilities of the fax machine, improving on everything from security to flexibility, while still enabling your business to send fax. The best part is, you can continue to send and receive fax from those still using fax machines. So, while they remain stuck in the past, you can develop 21st-century fax solutions without losing the ability to communicate effectively with them.
Another benefit of online fax is the technology is adaptable and capable of changing with the times, meaning you don’t need to be thinking about another system to replace it in the future. This is in contrast to fax machines. The ISDN switch off soon means fax machines won’t just be outdated, but they’ll be obsolete in the UK. While this, again, will push businesses towards axing the fax entirely, that is something you’ll want to avoid. The UK ISDN switch off does not impact the rest of the world, which means cutting out fax altogether will limit your international connectivity. Not a problem for online fax.
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