I received a call this morning from a small business owner complaining that their fax machine had sprung to life at 3am because of a fax we had sent. I thought the comment was a joke but it turns out that they do not have a fax machine in their business. Instead their home phone is also a fax machine and it’s on the nightstand in their bedroom. Our automated fax software was working through a list of 5,000 numbers and it happened to be 3am when it got to theirs. Ten, maybe fifteen, years ago I got calls like this – when fax machines were less prevalent. But today? I’m stunned.

Given the low cost of fax machines and their value to any business it never occurred to us that a machine we were calling in the current campaign would be in a bedroom. Okay, lesson learned.

This experience has highlighted to me the divide between businesses which do have a fax machine at the shop as well as broadband and all manner of other business assistance tools compared to those with a fax machine at home and probably no broadband and other tools. My initial reaction after the call this morning was to judge the business harshly for not keeping up. Now, I wonder how many others are living in a communication backwater and what impact this will have on their businesses. Business today is a speed game and without access to current technology and high speed connections it is only natural that you will get left behind. Getting that message to people with fax machines in their bedrooms without offending is a challenge.

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