A few weeks ago, for the events company Mass Events Labs, Inc. that I co-founded with Doug Gold, I decided to agree to an annual contract for some IT services. We do business with a lot of different companies, all of which have an interesting (and somewhat analog) way of doing business in this digital day and age. When you've finally agreed (via telephone or e-mail) on the parameters of the contract, they send you a PDF file that you're expected to open, print, sign and fax back. The provider of the IT services that we contracted with was no different. They wanted a fax.
I guess I can forgive the caterers and venues that force us to do business in this way. Just using PDFs is pretty high tech for them. But technology companies? Come to think of it, I haven't done business with a single company in my life that gives me some way of digitally signing a contract or an agreement. They all want a fax. The problem? I don't own a fax machine. Never have. Maybe I'm an idealist. But it just seems as though needing a fax when I'm pretty sure all the technology I'll ever need is sitting in my lap is so, ......well...., so backwards. Especially for IT services outfits. Especially for ones that claim to be modern, at that.
So, when this IT services outfit asked for a fax and I said I didn't have a fax machine, the person I was dealing with said "How about a scanner?" Nope. Don't have one of those either. But then it occurred to me that as far as PCs go, scanners are no different than digital cameras. They're both imaging devices! So, I asked the guy "How about if I take a digital photograph and send that to you?" Via e-mail, he wrote "The standard way customers return order forms is either by faxing, or emailing scanned copies. I checked with our compliance team and they said they would review the digital photograph, but there is a high probability that we will still need a fax copy."
So, I've sent the digital photographs. I'm curious to see what happens. But I'm not sure why a digital photograph would be out-of-compliance where a scanned image is considered in-compliance. Is there any difference between the two image types from a compliance point of view? Anybody know?