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Is Faxing Dead? No, Just Different

Firstfax The rollout of the fax machine in the 1980s was revolutionary. Instantly sending pieces of paper through the ether to another person on the other side of the country or the globe? It blew our minds for a while, and then became an indispensable part of every office. (Check out this photo of what is said to be the very first fax machine, used by a post office in Europe in 1979).

But in 2010, has the fax become a relic of the 1980s, like "big hair, Cabbage Patch Kids, and padded shoulders?" (Or, more specific to law offices, like law review subscriptions, typewriters, bike messengers and law libraries?) In a guest post on the Legal Technology Blog, Steve Adams of Protus says that faxing remains a vital part of the business world despite the advent of e-mail.

Adams notes that faxing is still used on a daily basis in many professions: by real estate agents and insurance brokers, for example. The key change in the use of faxes, he says, is that an actual fax machine is fading away as a means of sending and receiving faxes, in favor of Internet fax services. Adams says that Internet fax services can do things a fax machine never could:

• Let you go mobile. Internet faxes are sent and received through your e-mail account, and can be viewed anywhere you can get an Internet connection, including your smart phone.

• Improve privacy. Transmissions that go through fax machines often sit in a common area where anyone walking by can read it. Not so with Internet fax services. This can be particularly important with documents protected by the law, such as medical records.

• Keep faxes organized and available. Internet fax services deliver electronic files, which can be organized and stored on a hard drive or server where they can be pulled up quickly anytime they're needed.

So while it may be time to junk the fax machine taking up space in your office, it appears that the concept of faxing will live on for some time. Read the rest of Adams' post here.

Posted by Bruce Carton on March 18, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

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