With the proliferation of e-mail, some have trumpeted the death of the fax, but it is still a thriving industry.
Many industries, especially small businesses, still rely heavily on faxing to transmit private information and to enable mobility among travelers.
Some small business workers, such as real estate agents, insurance brokers, lawyers, and salespeople send and receive many pages every day.
Others may only use the fax machine occasionally. Either way, though, faxes do get used.
The problem is that while small business owners and their employees could be anywhere on a given day, the traditional fax machine is always back at the home office, making the documents inaccessible until they return. Then there’s the problem of busy signals.
If the timing is wrong, or the fax machine receiver accidentally gets knocked off the hook on the way out, it could be hours before an important fax is received and that’s only if the person on the other end doesn’t give up trying to send the fax first.
Internet faxing, which can solve all these problems, allows users to send and receive faxes via their e-mail account anywhere they can get an Internet connection – at home, at a customer location, or even at the local Starbucks. They can also download received faxes directly from a secure server if they don’t have e-mail access.
The advantages, however, also go well beyond the initial sending or receiving.
Steve Adams, Vice President of Marketing for MyFax (www.myfax.com), a provider of Internet faxing services for individual home users, small businesses, and large corporations believes this media channel will actually grow more effective in coming years.
Users can set up their account to have the same fax sent to multiple team members, so everyone stays up on the latest information.
For example, JoAnne McKinney, a real estate broker with Realty World, John Horton & Associates in Austin, Texas has every fax sent to herself, her assistant, and her partner at the same time.
Clean copies of these faxes can be forwarded by any one of them to the 27 or so people typically involved in a real estate transaction, along with a note stating what action needs to be taken. In addition, all recipients can preview inbound faxes so they know instantly which require immediate attention and which can wait until later.
Because the documents comes in electronically, small business personnel can carry their faxes with them on their laptops, Blackberries, etc. The faxes can even be stored in folders for easy reference in or out of the office.
And, since they’re electronic there’s no danger of an important fax accidentally being thrown out. In fact, a good Internet fax service will keep a safety copy stored on their server for a month in case the user accidentally deletes the fax.
Finally, there’s the cost factor. To set up a fax machine you first have to purchase the machine, and then have the phone company set up a second line. Then there’s the upkeep – monthly phone line charges, paper, toner, etc. Compare that to an Internet fax service, where you pay as little as $10 per month total for all that mobility, and it’s an easy decision.