Fax to email services were once thought of as a novelty, especially before email became an absolute business necessity. These days, however, fax to email services are expanding rapidly in popularity, and they're quickly replacing traditional fax machines as a tool for modern businesses.
A fax to email service works similarly to traditional email. Received faxes are converted to common computer document types, usually PDF (which can be set up as read-only and password protected, effectively making fax to email even more secure than private fax machines), and sent to a user's email account. Messages can be sent to standard fax machines, and there's no way to tell a fax sent via the Internet from a fax sent via traditional methods.
There are several reasons that fax to email services are seen as better systems, and why traditional fax machines may be headed for extinction. These reasons are directly related to the distinct, specialized advantages offered by fax to email.
The convenience of fax to email systems is one of the major factors. Fax to email services are considered much more convenient by their users, as they work through simple email interfaces. Workers that have never used a fax machine before can easily use electronic fax systems, since the format is so simple and recognizable. Multiple faxes can be received and sent out simultaneously via the same digital "line," eliminating cancelled faxes and greatly reducing miscommunication with clients and business associates.
Fax to email services also make it easier to find and organize faxes, plus standard documents can be easily searched for keywords and phrases. Modern index search features of operating systems like Windows 7 and Mac OS X can be used to instantly pull up all faxes that meet certain criteria. This eliminates the need for costly physical document storage, and makes a business more efficient by allowing all of the faxes from a certain client, order, or date to be accessed instantly.
That's not the only way that fax to email services are more cost effective than traditional fax machines. They actually cost less to operate, owing to their lower power needs. As email fax services don't have any hardware or moving parts, they don't require maintenance. The convenience of the services means that businesses become more efficient, and individual employees become more productive.
Compared to other new technologies, fax to email services have extremely low installation and training costs. There's no downtime while an email fax system is installed, since it's set up digitally and immediately. Within a day or two, most small businesses will completely adjust to using an email fax service, and many larger businesses can make the switch in just a week or so. The low cost of investment and high cost effectiveness of email fax is one of the main reasons that it's catching on so quickly, and why traditional fax machines are falling behind.
Email fax services are more environmentally friendly, which is becoming an increasingly important trait. The services use absolutely no printer ink or toner, and require no maintenance. However, it's always possible to print out a received fax when it becomes necessary, such as when documents need to be signed or displayed in meetings. Even so, the resources saved by fax to email systems are immense. Email based systems require less energy to operate, and many businesses have used them to completely eliminate paper waste and reduce their carbon footprints.
Ecologically friendly companies benefit from a good public image, higher sales, better employee morale, and even tax benefits. Going green can be extremely profitable, and it's a responsible, necessary step to competing on a global stage in the 21st century.
There are hundreds of potential advantages of fax to email systems, and there are very few (if any) disadvantages compared to traditional fax machines. As a convenient, cost-effective, and ecologically friendly alternative to the big boxy machines of the 90s, fax to email systems are gaining a lot of recognition from businesses in a variety of industries.
They seem to be a natural progression of technology, and a tremendous way to save money while adding efficiency and organization to the sometimes cluttered world of business documents. Traditional fax may remain a staple at certain companies; however, as email fax services begin to pick up steam and replace them, actual fax machines will likely become outdated relics quite quickly.