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Today’s Fax Machines: Why They Still Exist

Fax technology first came into play nearly 180 years ago though more than a century passed before it evolved into the phenomenon we know and recognize today. With this form of communication being more than 175 years old, many people are surprised that it’s even still in play at this point. After all, email entered the mix via ARPANET just a few years after Xerox released its first commercial fax machines, and numerous digital innovations have arisen since that time. 

Even the analog phone lines that originally made faxing possible have now grown all but obsolete, and paper documents could be considered a bit of a novelty these days. Because of all that, quite a few people wonder why faxing is still relevant. Billions of faxes are sent and received each year across the globe. Businesses and individuals alike continue to use this method of communication despite all the advancements at their disposal.

Why Does Faxing Remain So Popular?

Faxing remains popular even today for many reasons. First of all, it’s an extremely versatile solution. Almost any type of document can be faxed from legal and medical paperwork to photos and beyond. 

Additionally, those with standard fax machines can send documents to cloud-based systems and vice versa. As such, faxing is one of the most flexible communication options available. That’s only one factor to consider.


Speed is another reason people continue to send faxes. Documents can be transferred from a sender to a recipient in a matter of seconds these days. It’s obviously much faster than snail mail. It’s also more expedient than scanning physical documents into a system to convert them to digital form and emailing them. 


People also continue to use fax because of its receipt confirmations. After transmitting faxes, senders receive confirmation pages ensuring them their messages went through successfully. Those confirmations contain senders’ and recipients’ numbers as well as dates and times of transmission and receipt. Recipients can’t deny that they received them. 


Security is also a key reason people continue to use fax machines. This type of communication is far less likely to be intercepted than email and other electronic means. If hackers manage to get their hands on sensitive information sent using modern-day fax technology, the messages are encrypted and are only decrypted when they reach the intended recipients. Fax can also help keep companies in compliance with industry-related security regulations


People are often quick to ignore emails. Sometimes, emails end up being marked as junk even though they may be important. Some even seem to get lost during transmission, never making it to their intended destinations. That doesn’t happen with faxes. People take notice when they receive a fax, and those documents don’t get lost in the mix.

Those are some of the reasons people still rely on fax. At the same time, thanks to the bandwagon effect, the fact that so many people continue to use fax further spurs its continuity. With all this in mind, it’s clear that faxing isn’t going to fade into nonexistence any time soon.

Faxing: Remaining Relevant in the Face of Advancement

Countless inventions have been lost to time over the centuries. As technology is continually replaced with increasingly higher levels of innovation, those inventions are simply overshadowed by their successors. Ultimately, they’re forgotten. That hasn’t happened with faxing, and it probably won’t. Faxing offers numerous benefits that help keep it alive and well. 

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Written by Marcus Richards

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