The year was 1964. Across America, families were hitting the road in their brand new Rambler Classic Cross Country station wagon. The Beatles made their historic debut on the Ed Sullivan show. Ford Motors introduced the now classic Mustang for the first time.
The Dow Jones Industrial average closed at the end of the year at 874, and the average cost of a new house was $13,050.
And technology was advancing at a rapid pace: BASIC (an early computer language) was invented by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz. The very first prototype for a plasma display monitor was invented, as was the introduction of the mouse for computers.
And, Xerox introduced LDX, the first commercialized version of the modern fax machine.
The last reference, the Xerox LDX, may seem out of place in a list of noteworthy memorabilia from 1964. But, considering that over the last 50 years millions of documents representing billions of dollars worth of business have been transferred via fax, it's not so hard to imagine the instrumental role the fax machine had in helping business move forward at the pace it did.
Is Fax Still Relevant?
For many years, fax, and the fax machine, were de riguer with regards to transacting business across boundaries, whether it be continent to continent or intra-city. With the growth of email and attached documents, many predicted the demise of the fax as a relevant tool for business. But, as many business owners today will attest, the almost certain demise of fax has turned out to be anything but. How is it after all these years, fax continues to be an important, some would argue — vital — part of the American business landscape?
The answer to this question can perhaps best be found in the responses of those who continue to rely on fax as an integral tool in transactional business.
Who Faxes Anymore?
Because fax easily supports transactional business — signatures on mortgages or contracts, hand-written notes on a legal document — certain industries continue to rely on fax as a vital business communications tool.
But one significant change has taken place with fax since the launch of the Xerox LDX in 1964 — the introduction of online fax, which eliminates the need for a fax machine. An online fax service enables you to send and received faxes via email, meaning you could be in a coffee shop anywhere a WiFi connection exists and send or receive a fax using your smartphone or tablet.
Online fax's mobile functionality and benefits continue to be heralded in paper-heavy business categories such as legal, real estate, medical, and finance. Below, references from a few business professionals who rely on fax everyday.
Kinlin Grover Real Estate
Laura Usher is a real estate sales partner at Kinlin Grover Real Estate, where she handles residential and resort sales. Laura is also the director of global sales for Canopy, LLC, an international real estate development company. Canopy is a green, eco-friendly company that practices sustainable building and currently has projects in Central America and the Caribbean. Usher relies on the eFax online service for her business.
Of online fax, Usher says “It’s just so much easier using eFax when I’m traveling because I can’t carry around a scanner or traditional fax machine. Before eFax I had to use traditional fax machines at hotels, which was always a huge pain.”
BioVex is a privately held biotechnology company based in Woburn, Massachusetts. The company also has an operational commercial scale manufacturing facility. It is developing a new class of potent biologics for the treatment of cancer and prevention of infectious disease. BioVex was acquired by Amgen. Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures, and delivers innovative human therapeutics.
Of her use of eFax, Susan Doleman, Associate Director at BioVex, says, “eFax has saved us money and time in terms of productivity. We have the benefit of communicating with people online without having a large fee.”
Liberty United Insurance Service Inc.
Sam Muradyan is the co-owner of Liberty United Insurance Service Inc., a North Hollywood, CA-based based company that provides insurance for family entertainment businesses. Liberty United Insurance Service Inc.’s customers include companies that rent chairs and jump-for-fun supplies for family functions. Other than the two owners, there are four insurance agents working for the company.
“An insurance business requires a ton of paperwork and shuffling through incoming faxes prevents me and my team from responding to prospects and clients," said Muradyan. “Since our business started using eFax two years ago, we can effectively sort through our faxes in our inboxes and instantly send faxes with a click of the mouse. In turn, we have been able to secure more sales as we can connect with our customers five to six times faster than using a traditional fax machine.”
Almost 50 years after the introduction of the first prototype of a fax machine, fax remains a relevant tool for businesses in the new millennium. But one thing has changed — with the introduction of online fax, companies can now cut the cord — and the cost — of a fax machine and realize the benefits of fax just about anywhere, anytime.
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