Companies go "Office Space" on fax machines and switch to e fax services.Mar. 26, 2008
Today the looming potential recession is putting pressure on businesses to reduce overhead. The good news is that there are a lot of technologies. My dad always had to be the first to have the newest gadget. He was the first of his friends to buy a mobile phone. You would get arrested today if you tried to take that phone through airport security. It was a large backpack with an antenna, a huge battery and a phone, hardly "mobile" by today's standards. It looks like something the president might use to launch a missile attack on Scalbekistanibad, but all it was good for was 30 minutes of talk time. However, just like other 80's icons such as women's shoulder pads or the Twist-O-Flex watch band, the backpack cell phone is no more. For 1/3 the cost of my dad's backpack cell phone, I purchased a blackberry with a 36 hour battery life, push email and gps navigation. In fact, cell phone technology has gotten so good that an increasing segment of the population has eliminated their home phones entirely. So what is the deal with fax machines?
Fax machines really caught on in the 1980's along with the backpack cell phone and the beeper. At the time, they were great. My dad loved his fax machine. We never went on vacation without it. He would have reports faxed to him every day. However, just because the fax machine was a great tool in 1982 does not mean it should permanently be considered mandatory office equipment. First of all, fax machines require a dedicated fax line, which can cost up to $50 per month. Furthermore, since they rely on traditional telephone technology, the line has to be available in order to send or receive information, which means busy signals are an issue. Second, you have to buy a fax machine, which costs from $50-$500 or more. Finally, you have to maintain your fax machine. If it runs out of paper or toner then you might not receive your fax.
Emails are better than faxes. You can send the same email to as many people as you want for free;you can send secure pdf files with signatures or word possessor files that can be edited; emails are easier to forward than faxes-furthermore, the forwarded copy doesn't lose resolution like faxes do; and perhaps most importantly, you don't have to be physically located next to a machine plugged into a specific location to send or receive an email.
Unfortunately, until the business community decides to put the fax machine out to pasture, it will be important for businesses to be able to send and receive faxes. Fortunately, there's a bridge that leads from Future City across the Internet River strait to Old Waysville and it's called an e fax service. E fax (also known as e fax, internet fax, email fax, online fax or digital fax) utilizes an e fax service provider to convert a facsimile transmission into a digital file that can be received via email and visa versa. Fax-Compare.com, a website that reviews and compares different e fax services, has defined the "market standard" for an e fax service to be $10 per month for 300 pages, with no start up fee, a 30 day free trial and overage pages for $0.10 per page or less. Six months of service fees will cost less than a 1982 vintage fax machine on ebay and that's without factoring in the cost of a dedicated fax line.
E fax service subscribers can send and receive faxes from the golf course on a pda and the old codger who insists on receiving a fax instead of an email will assume that the sender is diligently working in the office.
For additional information regarding online fax services, visit FaxCompare.com
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