Though e-mail and mobile devices have entered the communications fray, office machine suppliers report that faxes remain a part of the American workplace."Fax is still being used, just in a different device than the old stand-alone devices as before," said Greg Fazio of Royal Office Equipment of Chattanooga on Lee Parkway Drive. He has been in office equipment field since the 1970s.
More people are buying multifunctional devices that do faxing, copying and other tasks, he said.
At large office supply chains, there is still a high demand for fax services, store representatives added.
"Our hypothesis is that as more customers move from land-lines at home to mobile phones, they need a convenient way to send faxes," Amy Shanler of Staples Copy & Print Centers said. "Even in the digital age with e-mail, nothing can replace a personal signature on timely and legal documents."
OfficeMax representative Jennifer Rook said there is a continued demand at their locations because it requires little assistance from the user or expertise to provide a hard copy.
Advances in technology are prompting a growth in the market, while helping companies and their bottom line.
Research by Davidson Consulting in Sturgis, Mich., indicates that the FoIP server market, which are fax phone calls over the Internet as opposed to telephones, will have a 19.6 percent compound annual growth rate through 2013.
"Companies are saving a lot of money by putting fax in over the Internet because they can use router ports," Peter Davidson of the consulting firm said. "They don't need to use telephone lines and fax phone calls are free from one spot in the network to another."
According to the company's market research, the growth will be primarily spurred by fax machines that print, fax and scan.
* Japan has the most fax machines per person than any other nation.
* Two hundred and ten billion pieces of paper are used to send faxes in the U.S. each year.
* Four trees are required annually to meet the needs of fax machines within one large American company.
* Alexander Bain is credited with inventing the fax machine, patented in England in 1843.
Sources: faxinternationally.com, nationmaster.com, faxpipe.com