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Future Vision: What Fax Will Look Like in the Year 2020

July 21, 2014

 By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Many people, me included, enjoy science fiction because it shows us a glimpse of what the future might look like. We can then plan ahead and keep our eyes open for when the technology becomes reality.

While I may not be a William Gibson or an Isaac Asimov, here’s a look at fax technology in the year 2020.

First, it will be digital and use the Internet instead of analog phone lines. Faxes will be sent from computers or even mobile devices, and incoming faxes will go right to tablets and appropriate wearable devices such as Google Glass.

The difference between fax and email will seem almost nonexistent. Instead of fax, email, PDF, text messages and Microsoft (News - Alert) Word documents, there will just be one unified communications stream. Faxes will be a part of this stream.

For businesses, servers in the cloud will automatically route faxes to the right employee based on what’s written on the fax. There will be no more lost faxes or standing by a fax machine waiting for an incoming fax.

Faxes will be searchable. Just like email, workers will be able to type a quick search and find all relevant faxes. These search results will combine with documents of other types, including email and computer files.

Security concerns will be a thing of the past. Unlike traditional fax technology, this new breed of fax will have the same security that is used to protect credit card information and bank transfers.

Equipment upgrades will be a thing of the past. Instead of having to buy new equipment, businesses will be able to retrofit their existing fax machines to work with these new technologies and features. For the startup or forward-thinking business, faxing also will move to the cloud and there won’t even be a fax machine at all in the office.

The most interesting thing about this prediction of fax in the year 2020 is that all of these elements already exist today. This is fax in 2020, but for the savvy business it also can be fax in 2014. We have the technology.

More accurately, FaxSIPit and fax-over-IP (FoIP) providers like them have the technology. Many businesses are using the same fax technology they were sending faxes with 15 years ago, but smart businesses are already faxing like it was 2020. Getting them there are services such as FaxSIPit, which delivers cutting edge fax solutions today.

The future is an exciting place. But so is the present. 

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