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Fax for the future

Does the fax still have a future in the digital economy, asks Xeretec’s Head of Technology, Darren Bird


During its glory years when it was an essential part of almost every office and business, the humble fax machine was not just the subject of many a joke, but ‘waiting for the fax to come through’ was as common a part of business life then as waiting for an email to ping into an inbox is now.

The rise and fall of the fax
While faxing was an excellent method of communication, the fact is that times, needs and technology changes. And while it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the fax machine started to lose favour, its demise probably coincided with the rise of email. Not only was it new era technology, but it delivered on its promise to be quicker and cheaper than sending a fax, while offering flexibility beyond the limited capabilities of a fax machine; emails could be shared easily with groups, forwarded and content amended or cut and pasted into other documents. Files and images were simple to attach and share, too. But perhaps the thing that really triggered the fax machine’s undoing was, unlike email, it was costly and inefficient in terms of managing staff time, machine rental and maintenance, electricity, paper and toner volumes. Finally, it required a rented (and expensive) analogue phone line, at a time when the big drive in business was toward cutting costs and embracing digital communication technology.

Ushering in a new era of document capture and distribution with the MFP
While email was gaining in popularity, networked Multifunction Printers (MFP) were becoming more versatile, flexible and affordable, too. Document capture, storage and distribution via an MFP became even easier, while creating a digital document workflow that not only drove productivity, but also made it easier to create an all-important digital paper-trail, an essential requirement in an era when ensuring compliance and evidence of due diligence had started to become essential business practices.

Today, to simplify MFP document capture and information exchange further, Xeretec offers established scanning solutions like eCopy and AutoStore that are compatible with other popular applications like Office365 and SharePoint. Among their other qualities, eCopy and AutoStore are compatible with MFP devices, scanners, smart mobile devices, desktop PCs and laptops, adding flexibility to information capture and delivery, helping to ensure that documents and electronic information are available to the right person at the right time.

Keeping the fax flame alive
Despite the challenges and competition it has faced though, in some industries faxing remains a trusted and preferred method of communication. Take the legal profession, for example. It is still comfortable with the secure and clearly identified audit trail the technology offers, which is why many legal firms continue to use faxes to communicate with clients, suppliers or between offices. Furthermore, some legal firms have some concerns that when they send a fax from an email account, they’re giving up the added security gained by sending a physical fax, because there’s no encryption between their email server and the fax server. That’s why some legal firms are happy to send ordinary legal documents via email, but not sensitive material like account numbers, medical histories, or other confidential data.

At Xeretec, we’re happy to support customers across all sectors who still want to - or need to - use a fax machine. To that end, we’ve worked to meet their requirements while also bringing faxing up to date via our online fax solutions, such as XMedius.

XMedius, is a fax solution that provides either on-premises or cloud-based solutions for secure file exchange. Built for security and user friendliness, its recently enhanced mobile functionality enables users to send faxes directly from Android and Apple mobile devices, meaning this solution is a highly beneficial app for organisations in need of an up-to-date fax solution.

Whether your business is using the latest MFPs or it’s staying loyal to the fax machine, why not speak to Xeretec today to find out how we can help you get any document from A to B quickly, securely and cost effectively. 

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