Fax has come a long way since its early roots. Thermal paper has gone the way of photostatic copies. Even the ubiquitous business fax machine is now an endangered species. What’s replacing it? Electronic transmission and storage in the cloud, of course.
The thing to do now is send and receive fax messages via email. At first glance, this seems like one step too many. Since email can send and receive messages just fine on its own, what do you need fax for?
Fax messaging is still a staple of many business processes. The term “fax” is short for “facsimile.” A facsimile means an exact copy of something. Think of fax machines as copiers that are hooked together over a telecommunications link. Whatever you load into one machine comes out as a copy on the other.
This is the value of fax messages. It’s a way of sending copies of business documents with original signatures and hand written notations across long distances. Fax was originally implemented as a replacement for messenger services and overnight mail. An exact copy of the original document has more business value than a message about what is in the document.
Many businesses still have and will keep their stand-alone fax machines. Home office users and smaller operations may use an “all-in-one” printer that doubles as a copier and fax machine. What about when you are away from the office? You can’t haul that beast in the back seat of the car, can you? The traditional workaround has been to visit an office supply store or other business that offers fax service to send or receive a message. Now you can skip all that and use your smartphone or laptop computer.
Yes, it is possible to cram a fax machine into your iPhone or Android smartphone. Well, in the form of an app, anyway. How does it do the scanning? With your phone’s camera. You simply take pictures of your document pages and then send them to the fax number of your choice. You can create a cover sheet right on the phone if you need one. At the other end, the document copy comes rolling out of the office fax machine with no one the wiser that you’ve done it all on your smartphone.
You can also receive fax messages on your smartphone. In fact, with any computer and a broadband connection you can both send and receive faxes from the office, the coffee shop or wherever you happen to be. You send faxes as email attachments. You also receive faxes as email attachments. The person or company sending you the fax dials a local or toll free phone number that is just for your faxes. Their machine sends out the fax message and you receive it as an email attachment.
Would you like the freedom and versatility of doing your business faxing via the Internet? If so, then you’ll be interested in a free 30 day trial of paperless faxing by email. The software you’ll need for your computers is free to download. Be sure to also get the smartphone app for the ultimate in mobile faxing.