I’m in the process of setting up phone numbers and contact details for a new IT company, and I’d started to look at fax-to-email services as we don’t want to be mucking around with phone lines or needing any particular equipment.
But then I got to thinking, why are we even bothering?
It feels almost obligatory to include a fax number in the company’s contact details, but there doesn’t seem to be any real need for this – we’re just doing it for the sake of it, and because everybody else does. The fact that we’d happily use a “pretend” fax number that actually converts everything to e-mail just seems to prove this.
Maybe I’m lacking in imagination, but if we aren’t asking anyone to send things to us by fax, it’s kind of hard to envisage situations where somebody would need or want to send faxes to us. Other than spam, of course.
Even if there might be rare occasions where for some reason we need to be sent the image of a piece of paper, how likely is it that fax would be someone’s preferred or only option (rather than, for example, scanning and e-mailing the document, or sending a copy by post)?
Maybe there are some countries with specific issues over what forms of communication are legally binding, or where bandwidth or technology constraints somehow conspire to make fax useful. Maybe there are some individuals who have access to fax facilities and like fax, but don’t have or don’t like email.
As it happens, at one point I did know someone who had a cheap fax machine as their home’s only working piece of telephony equipment, so you couldn’t phone them, you could only fax them, and if you were lucky they’d eventually notice and fax you back – but that was a decade ago, and these days even they have a proper phone that you can phone, and an email address too.
None of the above scenarios seem likely to impact this particular company. In any case, at worst we can always deal with exceptional cases individually as they arise. I can’t see anything that comes close to us needing to publish a fax number for general use.
So I’m wondering if this is just our own particular situation, or if I’ve missed something, or if fax really is now a relic of history that nobody need worry about any more.
Is there anybody out there that still likes fax? Any industries where it’s still how things are done? Any IT or otherwise “modern” companies that insist on faxes for signed contracts and the like? And most of all, is it acceptable for a high-tech IT company to not publish a fax number – or does anyone see a reason why it’s still necessary?
I’d like to think that the internet, email, image processing, legislation and business attitudes have all advanced to the point of rendering fax completely obsolete, but I dare say somebody out there will know otherwise… in the meantime our company isn’t going to be getting a fax number unless and until we find a specific need for one.