Fax is reinvented for the digital age.
Traditional fax technology has been a mainstay of business communications for decades. It has served its purpose well, but, like all technology that has been developed, it has to adapt and evolve, or face becoming obsolete and counterproductive.
Sailing ships carried people from their first ventures onto the open seas and led to the development of global commerce, while sleeker clipper ships sliced through the oceans carrying exotic trade goods between the ports of the world. But sailing ships were doomed the day we began to put motors into boats. The efficiencies of the newer technology killed off sailing ships as vessels of commerce within 75 years.
The same fate looms for the ubiquitous fax machine hardware that transmits documents between dedicated machines through analog telephone lines. That technology is in crisis and is rapidly being replaced by internet fax technology, which has many compelling advantages.
Consider this example. Sara and Bob are small business competitors who, like most businesses in the world, rely heavily on faxes. They must now each send a fax and then get to an important appointment.
Sara, who uses traditional faxing technology, prints the document, goes to the printer, picks up the document, goes to the fax machine, puts the document in it, enters the phone number, and presses “Send.” She waits for the call to connect, and then waits for the document to transmit. She then waits for the fax machine to print out a confirmation of completion. But the transmission failed. So Sara repeats the entire process. This time it is successful. She hurries back to her desk, closes the document, and rushes out to the appointment. She arrives late.
Bob uses internet fax technology, so he has powerful, modern, and convenient options at his disposal. He can fax via email, transmit files from cloud storage, and send a fax over the internet with a desktop application. He can also send fax on his mobile device with a mobile app via internet or Wi-Fi. Bob can instantly see a confirmation from the device of his choice when the file(s) send, and he can keep moving; hopping onto the road and beating Sara to that important meeting.
While Sara and Bob are fictional characters, thousands of similar scenarios are going on around the world as you read this. In the competitive world of business, those who are stuck using legacy technology are bound to fail; the early adopters will succeed.
Disadvantages of traditional faxing
- Ongoing maintenance
Continual filling of machine with paper and toner. Routine maintenance of the machine. Fixing breakdowns and jams.
Cost of machine. Ongoing purchase of paper and toner. Electricity to run the machine. The physical space taken by the machine, paper, and toner. Cost of regular maintenance and repair.
Time spent to print, pick up print, walk to machine, type in number, wait for connection and send, wait for completion, wait for completion confirmation. Time spent to call sender to check if fax was sent.
Time spent waiting for faxes to send or arrive. One fax at a time—all other calls get busy signal. Can’t make or receive regular calls while fax in operation.
- No security
Confidential faxes are left on fax machine. Faxes get delivered to the wrong person. Everyone can see any fax.
- Transmission errors
Lost faxes, incomplete faxes, illegible faxes are moved to the permanent recycling bin of the past.
- Tied to physical machine
You used to be forced to go to a machine with the fax number to send or receive faxes. Now you can fax by email whenever and wherever you’re located.
Three basic advantages of internet faxing over traditional faxing
A cursory look at white papers on the subject reveals a plethora of advantages that internet faxing has over traditional faxing, but these can all be distilled into three basic advantages:
- Digital technology means worldwide operation
To fax from a computer or fax from email, just connect to the internet and you can send documents from anywhere: the office, home office, airports, or hotels. You can also receive faxes in email or via your online interface. You can even fax to email addresses.
- No installation or maintenance required
There’s no hardware to maintain. You will never contend with installing toner or paper again.
- No more waiting
Faxes are received 24/7 and are automatically routed to your email address or online account.
Arrival notifications are sent to your email, smartphone, desktop app, or tablet. No machine jams or breakdowns—faxes don’t have to be translated back to archaic hardware.
- Send faxes from any application as easily as printing
No need to print a copy just to fax it. Simply send fax from computer within open documents.
- Send and receive multiple faxes simultaneously
Faxes can be sent or received simultaneously and can be received when your devices are not even turned on.
- Comes with a local or toll-free number
Never get a busy signal and tie up lines, which makes it easier, and free, for people to send you a fax.
Be notified online, by email, or mobile of sent and received faxes.
- High resolution
Always send printer-quality, high-resolution documents.
- Activity tracking
Call logs track all incoming and outgoing faxes and store digital images of files for later access. Bill fax activity to proper accounts. Easily re-send faxes.
- No lost faxes
- No extra telephone line is required
A toll-free or local number is usually offered at no extra charge.
- No fax machine purchase
All technology is online, accessible through any internet-connected computer.
- No fax machine maintenance costs
Included pages-per-month keep fax costs down.
- Eliminates cost of supplies
No need to buy toner or paper. Faxes through email, computers, smart devices is paperless, and eco-friendly.
- No upgrade charges
- Documents remain private
The faxes are received directly in the email or online account of the user. No one else can access them. Documents are not printed out in a common area for others to see or pick up in error.
Documents are sent through safe, encrypted technology.
It is clear to anyone who compares traditional faxing to internet faxing that the latter offers compelling advantages and eliminates all of the disadvantages of the former. It cannot be said more simply than this: The use of internet faxing is a competitive advantage that delivers startling savings in costs, and significant improvements in efficiency and security over traditional faxing.
Traditional faxing technology is in the same position as was sailing ship technology 150 years ago—it works fine, but it simply cannot compete against the advantages of clearly better technology. Businesses that cling to the disadvantages of the old technology cannot compete, either.