Last week, I had the pleasure to meet with most of our Japanese fax customers in Tokyo. Fax, like many PSTN technologies, continues to endure and keep going way past what the “pundits” may have predicted. To me, that is because the pundits live in a very advanced world, and don’t understand how economics really shape enterprise business decisions.
What I mean is that fax, like PSTN, is established. Infrastructure is paid for, so why change it if works? Additionally, companies still do business with fax for POs or legal documents because fax is secure. It is one of the primary reasons that highly regulated industries like medical, law, and insurance still insist on using it. It’s also accepted globally. In other words, it’s part of the business practice that has worked, so people continue to use it.
Relating to the above, it has also been adaptable. Like voice, fax has moved to IP or Fax Over IP (FoIP). As the transport infrastructure has changed from TDM to IP, but not the fax-embedded business practice, fax has adapted to IP to accommodate. In fact, FoIP is a very big part of the Dialogic fax business today. From my perspective, the recession in 2009 also changed many businesses outlook on fax. Traditional fax use was declining because of email and digital signatures. 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.
The faxing industry has adapted to everything going mobile easily enough. There are now plenty of eFax options through mobile apps, web portals, and email usage. So, a business that doesn’t need or use a fax machine in its daily grind, can still accept faxes through an eFax option that goes directly to your email.
So there you have it. In early October, I will explore the use of MFPs that have fax capability. They have a footprint in all enterprises. So what is their future?