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Panasonic To Launch World’s First Fully Paperless Fax Machine, But Why?

2 Jan 2009 | | 4 Comments

According to a report on CrunchGear, Panasonic intend to launch the world’s first fully paperless fax machine in Japan on January 23, 2009.

Just like sending emails on a cell phone, users can use the built-in keypad to type messages.

Alternatively, it’s possible to send documents saved in Word or other formats without having to use a PC. All fax messages can be read and forwarded through a built-in screen without having to print them on paper first.

I’m all for any effort that contributes to a paperless office, but this seems a little bit odd to me. It might be the worlds first paperless fax machine, but it certainly isn’t the first product to let you send and receive faxes electronically, without a single piece of paper involved at any stage.

There are in fact many existing online services, that have been around for a decade or more, that let you send and receive faxes electronically.

As an example, for the past 6+ years we’ve been using a service from jConnect that lets you send and receive faxes using your email account. We find the service so useful – a physical fax machine seems very 80’s doesn’t it? Not to mention inefficient – that we’ve previously written about this service on our companies blog.

As you can see, I don’t quite understand why anyone would build a paperless fax machine when there are already better solutions available, but perhaps there is a part of the puzzle that I’m missing?

Update: The  paperless fax machine is copping quite a bit of ridicule — as it should — but some of the comments I’m reading along the lines of “who on earth uses a fax machine these days?” seem a little uninformed. Who uses fax machines? Schools, corporations and Government departments to name a few. How many of these institutions let you “email” in your application forms or required documentation? Not many — you can either fax or use mail (the slow kind).

For a lot of people fax-to-fax is dead, but email-to-fax and fax-to-email is alive and kicking. That’s not necessarily the way I want it, but it’s the way things are for now.

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4 Comments »

  • Gerri said:

    This concept is generally called e-mail.

  • Rowan Hanna said:

    Indeed. It’s re-inventing the wheel perhaps.

  • vineeth said:

    sir,
    by using a paperless fax machine how its possible to
    sign the docoment and send it back

  • 916 Networks said:

    Faxing electronically is NOT email, nor is it reinventing the wheel.

    Email is electronic to electronic and assumes the document being sent is already electronic.

    There are certain industries that use paper fax to transmit documents – so the sender is sending paper fax, but we choose to receive electronically via email. This is the difference.

    There are also loan and fianancial documents that must be faxed, they cannot be emailed (even if the document is password protected). Banks and other financial institutions do this for security reasons, and we have no control over their processes and systems.

    Therefore this technology is quite useful!

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