As a child of the 80s, I was fascinated when the movie Back to the Future Part II came out. It made so many technology predictions that seemed impossible at the time, but would later prove to be accurate – such as video calling, wearable technology, and even drones. But there is one prominent prediction from the movie that did not pan out, and that’s the ubiquity of the fax machine.
Just to be clear – I still maintain that fax service has a place in today’s world. In some industries, such as healthcare and legal, it’s an indispensable tool for transferring documents. However, I would argue that the fax machine is an idea that needs to go back to 1989. And here’s a few reasons why.
Unlike that scene from the movie, we did not end up with mini fax machines all over the place. Most offices today have only one fax machine, or perhaps just a few, depending on the size of the organization. Now suppose you’re waiting for a very important, and very confidential, fax to come in. If you’ve only got access to that one fax machine, who else could see that fax before you? What could they do with the information they gain from that fax? Or maybe the sender misdialed the number, leaving your sensitive fax at a different company altogether. There are so many different scenarios where your fax could end up in the wrong hands, leaving you to scramble to get the document back.
Another prediction that Back to the Future got right is remote working. We see Marty McFly working from home by video conferencing with his colleagues – well, until his boss fires him, anyway. However, very few of us here in the real world have a fax machine at home like Marty does. So what happens if you’re working from home and a fax comes in for you at the office? Most likely, any of the scenarios I mentioned above would apply.
Of course, the reason why the fax machine is a scene-stealer in Back to the Future is the same reason why it’s a dinosaur today: it’s what we considered to be advanced technology back in the 80s. Let’s fast-forward 30 years to today. Everything is digital, and yet the fax machine must still be fed paper and toner to work properly. That certainly doesn’t “spark joy,” which apparently we all now seek to achieve as our ideal purpose. (The movie did not predict Marie Kondo, or anything like her – but then again, they were making predictions about 2015, not 2019.)
Another problem with this old technology is that it has major compatibility issues. Today’s fax machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and technology – which is not a good thing. Unlike what we see in the movie, this diverse hardware hardly ever works in synchronized harmony. In fact, many of them do not work well with VoIP services, which often prevents the delivery of lengthy faxes. Dedicated Business Lines support these fax machines, but this can be a very expensive option since the prices increase every year.
Virtual Fax to the Rescue
Fax machines are riddled with challenges – and yet, we still need to send and receive faxes in today’s business world. Enter Virtual Fax, TPx’s solution for inbound and outbound faxing in the cloud. Here’s how Virtual Fax addresses the challenges of the 80s fax machine:
- Document Security: Faxes are delivered via email or through our web portal, so they are only visible to their intended recipients. If you choose, faxes may be configured to auto-delete upon send or receive so they aren’t stored on our server.
- Remote Working: You can send and receive faxes from anywhere, over any Internet connection. Simply log in to our web portal, or send and receive faxes like any other email. This makes Virtual Fax an excellent enabler of business continuity, since your faxing capability is no longer tied to a specific machine in a particular office location.
- Eliminate Old Technology: As a fully cloud-based service, Virtual Fax eliminates the need for a physical fax machine. If you no longer have a fax machine, that means you don’t need to pay for all the supplies that go into it – such as paper, toner, and extra phone lines. Even better, you won’t have to worry about having an incompatible fax machine – since you won’t have one at all!
If you’re ready to embrace the future of faxing, TPx is ready to take you there. (But don’t worry, we won’t show up on a hoverboard or in a DeLorean.) Contact TPx today to get started.
About the Author
Stacey Kendall is a Product Marketing Manager at TPx. With over 20 years of experience in marketing communications for highly technical and regulated industries, she presents complex topics in a straightforward manner for current and prospective customers. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She resides in the greater Boston area.