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Will Paper Become Obsolete?

Image: Will Paper Become Obsolete?

It is no breaking news that more and more we are becoming electronic. Paper is not an obsolete medium as of now, however many believe that an electronically dominated world is not far on the horizon. Although many protest, heading towards a paperless future could be a positive thing, being more efficient and making offices look more professional.

One of the most obvious positive elements of paper becoming less, or never, used is the impact this will have on helping the environment (see our green blog post). In addition to this, it is also more efficient. Wouldn’t you prefer to carry a single, or couple of devices around with you instead of dozens of documents? It also looks more professional, your tablet may not actually have an organised filing system, but stumbling into a board room with a jumble of papers looks a lot worse! However, in the event of a power outage there could potentially be colossal issues with getting important emergency information when necessary.

US companies spend more than $120 billion on printed forms a year, most of which are outdate themselves within 3 months’ time. It might seem the more economically friendly route for businesses in the moment, but buying tablets could turn out to be much more cost effective in the long run.

Many see paper becoming obsolete as being inevitable and that the trend of the last decade will merely continue. But, paper has fought through other forms of media coming and going such as VCR’s, floppy disks and still come out on top. By enduring this, there is clearly a key reason why we still need paper in the work place. Research from Mashable, shows that the average US office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year! It may becoming less widely used, but nowhere near obselete!

One of these reasons may be that many business records have to be kept in paper form. The Data Protection Act 1998 requests this, although some records can also be digital under this act. Eventually this is likely to change with all documents and receipts being able to be kept electronically. This change is already starting to happen with the DVLA scrapping the paper part of the driving license, making it digital, in a similar to how car tax now is.  Keeping a hard copy of documents ensures that information is unlikely to ever be lost. Some people believe that storing and sharing documents electronically is more secure. 

Tablets are being seen as the kind of device that will be the next generation of paper. As of now, some businesses choose not to provide tablets as compared to supplying paper it is a lot more costly. However, as paper becomes more out-dated, tablets will become less expensive and the price of paper will rise. Paper, unlike tablets, does not need power, charging or a sign up to access it.

Many argue that documents may become digital but cash will remain in paper form.  It is clear to conclude that the better the technology and the more it improves, the less reliant we are going to become. Although we need paper in society at the moment, and it is still commonly used in businesses and the office environment, the future of paper is unknown and the likelihood is another medium that technological devices will engulf.

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