Online-fax basics by John Sung Kim
Sending faxes over the internet really just means that while traditional faxes send text as images, the combination of an internet fax service such as RingCentral’s with Adobe PDF Software means that those faxes can be read as text. For law offices and other businesses where compliance and record-keeping are essential, this provides a way to not only save money on faxes but store documents and contracts as digital files.
Internet Fax Functionality
In a traditional fax, the data sent over the telephone line is not recordable. Once a fax is sent, there’s no way to resend it unless it lives in the short-term memory of the fax machine itself (which are notoriously low-power machines).
With internet-based fax, the data sent is over the internet – so faxed documents and images can be stored permanently and automatically in an email inbox or folder. What I particularly like about RingCentral’s Online Fax Service is that they’re also a virtual phone system provider. I can see a record of all the faxes ever sent or received. That alone is a big deal for any small law firm or sales team that relies on getting faxed contracts.
And if notoriously unreliable fax machines and transmissions are at best 95% successful, while internet faxing is 99.9% reliable, online faxing should eliminate the phrase, “Did you get that fax?”
Adobe Acrobat Functionality
Because faxes are sent and received as images, one didn’t have the ability to send a fax and then edit it (or store it) as a Word document on a computer. Sounds ridiculous, but think about it – it’s true. It wasn’t until Adobe Acrobat (and only recent versions started to do this very well) that one could one take an internet-based fax transmission (basically a picture of a document) and quickly decode it back into text to be saved as a Microsoft Word document. (They would probably prefer you to save it as an Adobe PDF doc, but still – they’re both good and work just fine).
Did I mention that online faxing saves paper and is better for the environment?
(*I should disclose here that RingCentral hired me to write for them, but we do use RingCentral in our offices as our primary PBX).
Originally published Nov 02, 2009, updated Aug 12, 2020