How many remember the first fax machines being introduced to the modern office? I recall it was sometime in the mid-80’s. Back then we had only one secretary in the office that knew how to use this new device. Not every office had a fax machine and it was sometimes difficult to get a document sent out because the receiver company didn’t have one. Within a very quick period of time every business needed a fax number. Its interesting that at the time many thought this trendy device was just a phase. It then became a necessity.
I recall we also had limited email back then. Most email was relegated to internal communication. Imagine an email system that only reached your local office network. We still had paper memos being circulated within the office since many executives couldn’t be bothered to use a computer. Their secretaries took dictation, transcribed and typed memos to send out. The fax was a bridge between branches and businesses.
You may think this was an antiquated office, but no this was a company called Systemhouse. We did innovative software development and what we called office automation systems. We introduced a Macintosh, a Hyperion (Canadian built portable computer) and networked IBM PCs in 1984 to our office. Yet the fax machine was seen as the biggest communication tool to revolutionize the office.
Recently I’ve discontinued our fax number. It’s something I been thinking about for the last year or so. For the last two years I can’t remember receiving a business fax, other then junk faxes. Bulk marketers are like pornographers they will use what ever technology is available to scam and promote their services. Junk mail, email and fax spam are a time waster and money drain on businesses. The fax is now archaic in today’s connected environment. We can email, scan and pdf documents and messages. The need for a paper to paper transmission seems redundant. To send a fax you would print an electronic document from your PC, then fax it; at the other end, if the receiver isn’t already a computer, the fax would likely be received and scanned into a computer to be preserved and filed electronically. The fact is that the fax is now history.
Only in doctors’ offices and hospitals will you find dictation and transcriptions still being used. It seems the same is true for fax machines. Paper documents, lab results and hand written notes and orders are still being sent by means of fax.