- Some old technology from before 2001
- Older than a phone call
- Old School
- Some strange word that is from the stone age
- Something I still pay attention to
All of these things are correct about fax depending on your point of view or use case. And yes, it is still a meaningful part of the Dialogic business which is why I pay attention to it. We have had some new significant wins in 2015 as TDM switched over to FoIP.
To understand fax is to understand business from 20 years ago. It was kind of like email in that you got spammed via fax, you sent messages on fax if you wanted to make sure they got read, you sent PO’s via fax, etc. It was a part of the fabric of the business. As email proliferated and fax functions became part of the MFP (multi-function peripheral), fax kind of faded from consciousness. And new forms of “binding” business documents took root from e-signatures to PDF’s with signatures. So that’s why we get all these doom and gloom outlooks on fax.
But fax is enduring. Some people still do business with fax for important things such as PO’s and legal documents because it’s one of the most secure ways to send a document. Its secure nature also makes it HIPAA compliant.
The recession in 2009 also changed many businesses’ outlook on fax. Traditional fax use was declining because of email. Businesses knew they needed fax but didn’t want to deal with the cost of maintenance on the fax machines or MFPs. As such, fax was one of the first successful enterprise communication types to move to the cloud. Costs were reduced, and service was still there.
So what’s going on with fax these days?
1. Fax is becoming a part of a bigger picture of communication systems and document management systems.
2. Fax over IP (FoIP). As with voice, FoIP continues to be a growth area because, as discussed above, there is a need for fax and many businesses still use fax. But with the PSTN networks being closed down, this means a movement to FoIP.
3. It’s a new age communication tool. The head of Sony pictures says he now uses fax to communicate sensitive information.
4. Mobile fax. This may not make sense, but when you think about the proliferation of smartphones, it makes sense that you’d want to get/send faxes from your smartphone. When sending a fax, you might likely use a cloud-based service. You can even sign faxes using your mobile phone.
Fax certainly has and continues to have a lengthy shelf life ...and is ever enduring, similar to the so-called myth that Twinkies also have lengthy shelf life. Except with fax this is no myth!