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Digitization: Many companies continue to use fax machines

Digitization: Many companies continue to use fax machines
Digitization: Many companies continue to use fax machines

Faxing is still standard in many companies in Germany. However, there have long been more convenient and secure alternatives to the classic analogue communication.

A good three out of four companies in Germany (77 percent) still use a fax machine to transmit documents at least occasionally. This is the result of a representative survey conducted by the digital association Bitkom among companies with 20 or more employees. 604 companies were surveyed for the study.

A comparison shows, however, that fax usage is slowly but steadily declining: a year ago, 82 percent of the companies surveyed said they had not said goodbye to fax. In 2022, the figure was 88 percent, in 2020 it was 92 percent, and in 2018 it was even 95 percent.

The intensity of use is also continuously decreasing. A quarter of companies (25 percent) still use fax frequently or very frequently. In the previous year, however, 33 percent and in 2018 even 62 percent of companies sent faxes frequently or very frequently.

“Change is surprisingly slow”

However, the digital association believes that the change is not happening fast enough: “Although fax usage in German companies has been declining for years, the change is still happening surprisingly slowly – especially when you consider that there have long been more convenient and secure ways,” said Bitkom expert Daniil Heinze.

Alternatives to fax include digital signatures, the EDI standard or special email formats that also offer legally secure proof of delivery, he said. “For these more efficient and secure alternatives to replace long-established fax processes, there needs to be a willingness on all sides to question existing solutions and also to acquire new digital know-how.”

More than every second company considers faxing necessary for communication with authorities

Many companies have not yet gotten the message. 56 percent of companies that still use faxes say that this is unavoidable when communicating with authorities. 43 percent believe that faxes are safer than sending by post. 35 percent stick with faxes because they have well-functioning and established communication processes. 27 percent fax out of habit and 27 percent because they usually need proof of delivery.

For companies that cannot do without a fax machine, Bitkom expert Heinze recommends at least switching to digital fax machines that transmit data over the Internet rather than over telephone lines as was originally the case. “Compared to a standard email, a digital fax often offers an automatic confirmation of receipt, is less susceptible to forgery and is also suitable for legally secure communication.”

Source: Stern

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