Still Using a Fax Machine? Here’s Why You no Longer Need it
The fax machine is fast becoming one of those relics of a bygone office system. It’s something we’re used to, and we don’t question its presence. It’s like the office equivalent of a fob watch – benign but ultimately useless. So consider why, when everything else has gone digital, should you have a fax machine at all?
Virtual faxing is a more business friendly alternative
A virtual fax system is a far better alternative to the outdated clunky fax machine. Internet faxing gives you the same service provided by a traditional fax machine, but with added features and lower costs.
A virtual fax works this way – you set up an account and choose a fax number. This number then takes incoming faxes and converts the fax to email. Outgoing faxes are also sent as emails. You can use your laptop, smartphone or tablet to send and receive faxes, meaning you can be doing business while on the go.
With an option to insert a digital signature on documents, there’s also no longer any need to print out documents in order to sign them and send them back – you can do it all online.
From the recipient’s perspective, your fax number is a valid phone number, and if they’re using a traditional fax machine they’ll receive your fax as a printed document. However, you can receive their documents via email as attached PDFs or TIFs.
Online faxing saves on costs and resources
Online faxes are a far better option than traditional fax machine for a number of reasons. They’re paperless and don’t have all the associated costs with a physical machine. For instance, you’re not paying for repairs and maintenance, or ink or toner.
If you add up these basic costs per month they are quite substantial. On the old fax machine, when there’s a failure for the fax to go through you have pages of error reports printed. This doesn’t happen on an online system. Nor does your business suffer with the logjam of people wanting to use the fax machines. With an account from eFax, you can set up multiple users who can all send and receive faxes at the same time.
Bonus features with eFax
A virtual fax account from eFax also has the capacity to file share and store data.
So you can upload very large image-packed documents, which are then accessed by recipients via a link and can be easily downloaded. No more clogging up email servers! Your eFax account will also securely archive all your faxes, for easy access at any time.
Greater mobility from the virtual fax
Because you can send or receive faxes from any device with an internet connection, virtual faxing means you can be much more mobile. You’re not tied to the office, because the fax machine is in your bag. Overseas business trips become easier – with no more expensive hotel faxing.
Making the changeover to an online system for faxing instantly streamlines your business processes, giving you greater flexibility and mobility as well as saving on resources and costs. That unwieldy fax machine in your office is on borrowed time!
Fax Machine Alternative
The patent for the first fax machine was granted to Alexander Bain on the 27th of May, 1943. Bain is often hailed as the ‘father of fax’, as he developed the first machine to send an image over a wire. However, Bain is not the only person who contributed to the development of the modern-day fax machine.
In 1848, inventor Frederick Bakewell improved the image quality of Bain’s original fax machine, creating a device known as an ‘image telegraph’. While both Bain and Bakewell contributed to faxing, neither of their machines were commercially viable – as the machines were unable to synchronise the actions of fax machines in different locations.
This problem was solved by the 1863 invention of the ‘pantelegraph’ by Giovanni Caselli. Unlike earlier iterations of the fax machine, the pantelegraph used a clock to synchronise the sending and receiving fax machines. The pantelegraph was later improved by Leon Foucault, creating the fax machines we have today.
Faxing technology took another major shift in 1997 when the public gained access to online faxing technology. While earlier iterations of fax machines relied on fax lines, online faxing transmits faxes via the internet. This makes online faxing safer, cheaper and faster than traditional faxing.
Online faxing is a more efficient and business-friendly alternative to the traditional fax machine. The differences between fax machines and online faxing are evident in their transmission mode, the type of machine required to fax, and each faxing technology’s capabilities.
Firstly, traditional fax machines transmit faxes via the analog fax line network, while online faxing transmits faxes via the internet. Traditional faxing also requires a fax machine or a multifunction printer with the capacity to fax. In contrast, online faxing services like eFax can transmit faxes from any internet-connected device – including mobile phones, tablets and computers. It is also possible to connect your online faxing service to your email, meaning you can send faxes directly from your inbox.
Finally, traditional faxing and online faxing have different capabilities. Traditional fax machines can only transmit a single fax per fax line, while online faxing services can simultaneously handle large volumes of faxes. Online fax service eFax can even transmit files up to 3GB, as well as non-fax-files like PDFs and JPEGs.
Online fax services like eFax offer businesses huge benefits, as they allow people to add signatures to faxes, change the file type of attachments, fax via email and store faxes with automatic cloud-based storage. This boosts the productivity and efficiency of any workplace that regularly uses fax.
Online faxing, or ‘internet faxing’, makes it possible to fax without a fax machine – as online faxing systems like eFax transmit faxes via the internet instead of over analog fax lines. To send a fax online with eFax, follow these steps.
- Sign up for eFax’s free 30-day trial and redeem your free online fax number. You may select a number from any country or city.
- Navigate to the eFax portal and sign in.
- Click ‘new fax’.
- Type in the fax number of your recipient. Make sure you include their full fax number, including their country code and area code. For example, a recipient in Melbourne would have the country code ‘+61’ and the area code ‘3’, meaning their fax number would be ‘613XXXXXXXX’.
- Fill in the subject field and enter a name in the ‘attention’ field.
- Click ‘attachments’ and attach up to 10 files.
- Fill in the ‘message’ box. This will become your fax cover sheet.
- Press ‘send fax’.
In total, eFax’s 30-day free trial allows you to send and receive up to 400 faxes. It also entitles you to a free fax number and full access to eFax’s catalogue of faxing features. This includes large file transfer, fax via email, cloud-based fax storage and access to eFax’s digital signature function.
In 2021, a fax machine is no longer necessary for faxing. Before the invention of the internet, faxes were transmitted between fax machines using analog PSTN/ ISDN fax lines. This system was expensive and inefficient, as each fax number required its own corresponding fax line. Today, the internet can transmit faxes far more efficiently, as online faxing services can transmit thousands of faxes all around the world simultaneously.
While the widespread adoption of the internet gave us other ways to transmit messages, faxing is still essential for many people and businesses for four reasons. First, online faxing services like eFax can transmit faxes up to 3GB in size, which exceeds most email and instant chat providers’ capability. Second, online faxing is a safe way to send confidential documents, as online faxing services encrypt faxes with Transport Layer Security (TLS). Third, online faxing is ideal for sending faxes internationally, as it takes only minutes to transmit and fax. Finally, online faxing gives people the capability to send and receive large volumes of documents on the go, making it a game-changer for mobile businesses.