The Cockroach of Communications Technology

Cockroaches are well known for being big, ugly insects that many people hate. They’re also rather famous for their ability to survive almost any changes in their environment making them very difficult to get rid of. When it comes to the technology that we use to communicate with one another, the fax machine is the cockroach of communications technology. Invented in 1964, the fax machine became widely used in business by the late 1970s and at the time it was considered the quickest way of sending written documents quickly over long distances. But now the internet exists and with it many more superior alternatives to sending and reviving information.

So why does the fax machine still survive to this day? CNN recently took a look at why many businesses are still using the fax machine. The main reason is momentum. While there are digital alternatives to faxing, there is still no universally accepted standard between businesses. In the absence of that, faxing is still very much alive in finance, law, and especially healthcare. There is one other major comparative advantage to faxing and that is security. It is far easier to securely fax sensitive information than it is to securely send it over the internet. So even in this age of constantly changing communications technology, the fax machine still has its niche. And much like the cockroach it has found a way to survive.


It’s going to take more than Office Space to kill the fax machine.

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