Fax • Last Updated 5/9/2024

Why Fax is here to stay

If you think fax has been left in the '90s, think again. Here, we explore why fax still has a place in a digital world.


By Fiona McDonnell

Telnyx Programmable Fax API - Feature Image

So, fax. We know what you’re thinking, “Why am I still using fax?” or if you’re of a certain age you might even be wondering “what is fax?”. We don’t blame you for thinking the humble fax machine has been left in the dark ages, it gets a pretty bad rep. But we’re here to tell you that while fax may not be the most exciting technology out there, it still plays a central role in the communications arsenal of many corporations.

So while fax is perceived as an obsolete technology, the numbers tell a different story. There are currently 43 million fax machines in use across the globe, and approximately 17 billion faxes are sent annually. A number of outlets have actually reported that there is an increase in the number of faxes being sent each year, proving that this technology is not going down without a fight.

Telnyx Programmable Fax

At Telnyx, we're not giving up on fax. Instead, we've brought fax into 2021. Telnyx Programmable Fax allows users to programmatically send and manage faxes over the Telnyx network, sitting at the intersection of the old and new.

With our global, private network customers can leverage our fax platform to deliver reliable, secure communication- without the fax machine. Like other cloud-based fax solutions, Telnyx fax can further enhance the security of faxed documents by eliminating the risk of lost, misplaced, or misfiled paper faxes that can occur with fax machines.

So how did this happen? How has a technology that was seemingly dead and gone persisted into 2021, and is showing no signs of going anywhere any time soon. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Stick with what you know

Perhaps the biggest reason fax is still around is the reluctance of certain industries to choose alternate technologies over the fax machine that they know and love. Fax is most heavily used in the healthcare and legal industries, which haven’t adopted email in the same way that they did fax.

But that’s not all. For those of us who are more technically challenged, or just don’t want to move with the times, fax is a great option. It’s single interface means that it’s easy for practitioners to share data with colleagues without having to worry about learning how to use new software.

2. Security

Fax is a notoriously secure technology. It uses the telephone network to transmit documents and requires peer-to-peer direct connectivity prior to transmission of data. This means that nothing gets transmitted until the outbound fax transmission has a secure and direct connection with the receiving fax device.

3. Shortcomings with new technologies

As we have moved into the 21st Century, there have been many monetary incentives, for the healthcare industry in particular, to move away from fax to electronic records.

However, instead of fixing the problem, this resulted in companies creating systems that were incompatible with competitors, but also with fax. In healthcare, this became a headache for physicians who often rely on collaboration with colleagues in different offices and hospitals to do their day job. If you can’t share information with colleagues because of an incompatible system, what do you do? Many turned back to the fax machine.

There’s also the reality that fax is often a lot cheaper than buying, installing and paying a licence fee for advanced software that can’t communicate with everyone.

How do I send my first fax?

Getting started with our fax API couldn’t be easier. Sign up to our Mission Control Portal so you can try out the API today. You’ll find quickstart guides and tutorials in our developer center and some helpful videos on receiving and sending faxes in our resource center.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for or need more help, feel free to reach out to a member of our support team. They’re available 24/7/365 through the Slack channel or the portal.

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