Tuesday, 1 February 2011

To fax or not to fax

The fax machine has been sat in the corner of businesses large and small for what seems like a lifetime, spitting out and delivering important business documents at the touch of a button. What is more for doing this for a relative small amount of money - the price of a phone call.

Although the big lumbering fax machines have long gone, replaced by smaller multi-purpose machines, there are still a surprising number of business that still use the fax to send documents ranging from solicitors to banks.

With the advancement of technology faxing has moved on. You no longer need to have a machine sat in the corner of the office waiting to receive that all important document all you need is your computer, desktop of laptop or even your smart phone such as iPhone, iPad, Blackberry or Android device, waiting to receive or send your fax. In fact the fax has become part of the unified communications tool set.

Now instead of spending money on hardware, consumables and electricity the costs of sending a fax has been reduced to the cost of the call to the other fax machine.

Modern faxing solutions:

Today there are two main faxing solutions. These are the fax subscription services and hosted fax services and both these solutions offer business an alternative to having physical hardware in the office.

Fax subscription services uses software to send and receive faxes using your computers. Your business is allocated a number or numbers depending on requirements so that any faxes sent to the numbers can be forwarded to you where they can be read, stored or printed by the necessary software.

The alternative solution, a hosted service, utilises your email system and is often referred to as 'fax to e-mail'. The major benefits of this solution is that everyone in your business can send a fax. It works by sending an email or attachments to a unique address. Upon receipt of the email the service converts it to a fax and transmits it to the recipient in the normal way. Faxes sent to you are usually converted to a PDF file and sent to the email addresses specified.

The costs of faxing today:

Starting from as little as £5.00 per month for a subscription service makes it a viable solution for a small/medium sized business.

Fax to email services offer better value and ROI. This becomes more apparent when more people need to be able to send and receive faxes. Depending upon your business requirements it may better to pay a monthly subscription charge to include a certain number of faxes as part of the subscription. Alternatively it may be better to use a pay as you go service, plenty of options are available

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