My dad has two phone numbers for his house. He has this fancy setup where there is only one line, but it rings one way for one number and differently for the other. This setup is to allow him to receive faxes. Faxes? Yes, faxes. In this day of email, scanners, and the Internet my father still receives (and occasionally sends) faxes. Why? Because there are companies that insist on using the fax for important document exchange. To be sure, they are fading, but they are still around.
Recently I needed to get a document from a company. They didn’t have it in email form, but they could fax it to me. Since I don’t have a fax (or for that matter want one), I had to scramble to find a solution. I had them fax it to my dad, who then emailed it to me (his fax is on his computer). Then I filled out the form and sent it back to him so he could fax it back.
But it got me thinking. Why can’t I receive faxes on my cell phone. I’m not talking about the phone actually receiving a fax. Instead AT&T would handle the fax processing. Here’s the scenario. Company X wants to send me a fax. I give them my cell number. It rings and I pick up. I hear the familiar tone of a fax and then I hit a button on my phone that “sends to fax”, which is really just AT&T redirecting the call to their new fancy fax service. Once the fax is done, it’s treated like a voice mail and stored for me to retrieve latter. Better yet, it’s autoatically sent to me via email.
Fax is a dying technology, but it’s kicking and screaming all the way down. It’s going to be around for at least another 5 years given how slow companies are want to change. Since it’s so easy to handle, why not?
Then again, why is any company still using a fax?