Fax machines have been around in the business community for decades. They are a great way to transmit printed information from one location to another. By simply placing a paper document in one machine, the document is copied and transmitted to another machine elsewhere in the world. However, today there are newer, more advanced ways to send printed information from one place to another - with the invention of the Internet comes updated, electronic technology like internet fax.
A traditional facsimile machine was considered the quickest method documents could be sent from place to place prior to the invention of email. A fax machine is basically composed of two devices - a copier and a modem. First, the copier takes an electronic picture of a document. The modem then sends the photograph over phone lines to other modems. The modem on the recipient's fax machine receives the image and prints the image on paper. One downside to traditional faxes is that they require paper from both the sender and the receiver.
Compare this to today's modern computer setup. Replacing the copier is a scanner, which takes the electronic image and saves it directly to a computer. No paper required. Using this method is more advanced and all the necessary equipment is at your finger tips. Similarly, an Internet fax allows the user to send documents electronically. Still some businesses may desire to have both a hard copy and electronic document. Faxing over the Internet creates a single solution for both formats.
It is a software program, generally on a third-party server. To send a fax you first connect to the provider's website or accesses their software locally on your computer. Scanned or typed documents are attached. Then with just a couple of clicks the documents are printed on the recipient's fax machine.
Receiving an Internet fax is easy and efficient. The fax number you get from the fax provider will receive faxes just like a traditional fax. However, instead of a piece of paper, the fax can be received electronically as an email or retrieved online. It commonly works like this - first, there will be an email from the Internet fax provider indicating that a fax has been received. The documents faxed will show up as attachments on the email. Then, the documents can either be printed, or merely viewed online. There are a variety of online fax services that cater to the needs of your business.
Either for a large business with dozens of phone lines and dozens of faxes or for a small entrepreneur, an Internet fax is an ideal method to send and receive documents. All correspondence comes to a single, or multiple email addresses. It saves both time and paper that would normally be required for a traditional fax machine. A business could even setup an Internet fax using a mobile phone and a high-speed internet connection, eliminating the need for a telephone landline. The benefit is simplicity.
Internet faxes do have another significant benefit over traditional faxes when it comes to storage. In the traditional method, paper faxes have to be stored in bins or cabinets, taking up a large amount of space, and could also be difficult to sort through when referring back to. Internet faxes can be stored on a hard drive, just like any other electronic documents. In terms of physical space, there is simply no comparison. Even if backup is required, electronic storage requires a microscopic footprint when compared to hard copy paper storage.
Internet fax exists because traditional fax machines are largely too slow and not cost effective enough to be used by businesses. It also brings the benefits of the internet's instant communication to an old business practice. Faxing over the Internet is a bridge between the paper driven business of the past, and the paperless electronic business of the future.