Today, Verum’s crystal ball found a piece of news on fax machines. Verum thought, “Fax machines? What are they? And how to use them?”

You see, Verum belonged to a generation that never really used fax machines. To send text messages, she either used an email or a text message – but not a fax machine. But to understand the news, Verum first needed to know more about these communication machines that had once been so important.

She said, “Orak, what are fax machines?”

“The fax machine was invented by Scotsman Alex Bain around 1842. But it was Italian inventor, Giovanni Caselli, who built the first commercial fax machine. Simply put, it’s a machine used to send documents via telephone lines,” said Orak.

He added, “To send a fax, you need a machine to send it and a machine to receive it. The first machine scans the paper and converts its content into bits. These bits are transferred via a phone line to another fax machine. This machine makes a copy of the original text from the bits and prints it. Though nowadays, the fax machine isn’t in much use.”

“Oh, I see,” said Verum, “My crystal ball tells me it is still used in certain sectors such as hospitals. Fax machines are used to access and transfer patient records.”

“I don’t think that’s very efficient,” said Orak.

“You’re right!” said Verum, “During the pandemic, the number of patients admitted in hospitals increased. Transferring the patient records, test results, and so on of such a large number of people using fax machines turned out to be difficult.”

“What happened?” said Orak.

“Take, for instance, New Brunswick, a province in Canada,” said Verum, “The more the number of bits in fax, the longer it takes for it to be sent and received. With so many faxes to be sent and received, the fax lines in New Brunswick bottlenecked. About 1,500 patients had to wait for days to know whether they had tested positive for Covid-19 or not.”

“Oh, no,” said Orak, “I think the pandemic might put an end to the old technology.”