Beyond Paper: The Evolution of Fax in a Digital World

Beyond Paper: The Evolution of Fax in a Digital World

Most organizations aspire to achieve the goal of becoming paperless. This objective involves reducing paper usage to save resources, money, and time. Even if a 100% paper-free office is not feasible, significant progress can still be made towards this objective. Understanding fax evolution will be the first step in becoming a paperless office.

The Evolution of Fax in a Digital World

Here are the key moments in the history of the fax transition:

  • Alexander Bain invented the first fax machine on May 27, 1843, when he applied for and received British Patent #9745 for an “electric printing telegraph.” This invention marked the initiation of using electronic signals to scan and reproduce documents remotely. However, despite its potential, the business community did not recognize the need for such instant communication, leading to its limited popularity.
  • In 1948, Western Union introduced the first desktop fax machine, which revolutionized the technology’s adoption due to its portability and versatility for use in various locations.
  • In 1985, Hank Magnuski, the founder of GammaLink, developed the first computer fax interface known as GammaFax. This groundbreaking invention set the standard for today’s online fax technology in offices.
  • 2021 – The creation of the top Fax app. If you need a fax iPhone, then you have only one right choice for modern communication. The Fax from iPhone mobile app is a leader in the digital world due to its ability to protect data with a code, as well as fast and secure data transfer.

Benefits of a Paperless Office

#1 Avoid wasting time and money

Paperless environments in the digital age offer numerous benefits. One crucial advantage is the time saved for employees. Gone are the days of printing and manual searches for filed documents. With digital storage, it only takes seconds to store and a quick computer search to retrieve. The significant reduction in employee hours spent on mundane tasks is noteworthy.

#2 No distance restrictions

Cloud-based storage offers an additional benefit of seamless access across different locations, proving to be highly advantageous in multinational corporations. For instance, if a team member in London needs to retrieve a document from a colleague in Australia, the time difference becomes irrelevant. Through the implementation of a paperless office, the London employee can effortlessly log into the company’s cloud storage, locate the file, and begin working on it promptly.

#3 Disposal and scanning becomes easier

To proceed further, begin by discarding obsolete content, including outdated memos and manuals. It is crucial to exercise caution to avoid disposing of anything of value. Seeking guidance from accountants and lawyers to determine what should be retained is prudent. The remaining documents will then require scanning, which may be time-consuming initially. Utilizing a scanner equipped with OCR software will enable automatic scanning into searchable PDF or Word files. Additionally, ensure that all documents are dated and organized for easy retrieval.

#4 Environment protection

There are undeniable environmental benefits as well. The average company processes over 10,000 pieces of paper annually, which is equivalent to a small tree. However, recycling paper can significantly mitigate these environmental losses, especially when companies have strict recycling policies and replant trees. Therefore, there’s no need to feel guilty about using paper for printing, particularly when efforts are made to reduce its usage. Some companies find that paper is superior in specific situations, such as lawyers avoiding digital annotations, companies preferring physical signage, or individuals analyzing complex documents. Although reducing paper usage offers significant advantages for most companies, transitioning to a paperless state is a gradual process that requires careful thought, patience, and time.

#5 Strengthen the security

Going paperless can enhance security measures as well. Companies must ensure data encryption and store it in a private cloud or data server to restrict access. Unlike physical files, digital files are safeguarded from fire damage or burglary. Security is a complex topic, with varying viewpoints. Some companies may choose to secure sensitive data in paper format in secure vaults to protect against hackers. Determining the appropriate policies for each organization requires careful consideration.

#6 Save space

Paper files that accumulate over time necessitate filing cabinets and dedicated rooms. Paperless offices, on the other hand, tend to be more cost-effective as they free up space and eliminate the need for on-site storage facilities. Additionally, they offer savings on ink, toner, and postage. Research estimates an average annual cost of around USD 120 per employee. For a large organization with 500 employees, transitioning to paperless processes can result in an annual saving of USD 56,500.

#7 Temporary storage is much more cost-efficient

Scanned documents should be transferred to an offsite storage unit for a month, or two, to account for potential uploading errors. Once the storage period ends, the documents can be securely shredded. Discarding extensive records carelessly could inadvertently benefit competitors. Employing a specialist shredding company ensures the destruction of sensitive information. Encourage a gradual transition to a paperless environment by removing paper-related conveniences.

Companies should eliminate printers and fax machines while providing dual-monitor setups for efficient document viewing. Staff members should be encouraged to opt for paperless billing, enabling the email transmission of invoices and receipts instead of physical mailing. While it may be useful to have printing capabilities within the building, access to such tools should be limited.


Digital fax is the final nail in the coffin of paper offices. Now there is simply no reason to keep everything on paper if it can be done digitally. Having all the necessary communication tools to transfer, store and process data makes a paperless office a priority for all types of businesses.