Change is hard for some – maybe the mass majority. How many people in business or just plain everyday peeps, actually use (dare I say ‘prefer’) a real-life – taking up space in your space – fax machine?
How many people these days even *think* about faxing in the traditional sense, when all you need is a printer/scanner (or any number of other peripherals that will allow scanning to PDF), an Internet connection and email program? An interesting fact is, that the Japanese (who are as high-tech as can be) seem to hold on to their fax machines (and cassette tapes of all things) like some long lost relic or something. Check out this Quora article: Why does the fax continue to be commonly used in Japan…
I’ll tell you.
- Law offices
- Government agencies
- Insurance companies
- Medical practices and hospitals
They seem to have this ‘hard-wired’, innate need to have that piece of paper in their possession. Don’t they realize that if they really need that piece of paper to take up space in a ginormous cabinet in their file room(s), all they need to do is print it out from their computer or email??!! What gives?
Maybe it’s the ol’ ‘matter of trust? How ’bout just you’re basic run-of-the-mill FEAR?
- Hard copies. (don’t we need to get rid of excess paper usage?) Some folks and entities just have this OCD thing going on. If you can see it, it’s real.
- Convention. People tend to trust the conventional (fast becoming retro) telephone company. Yeah, in many ways it’s more secure. But I’m sure some smarty pants programmer genius somewhere is working on this.
- Security. It’s much harder to hack the telephone lines (hacking computers is relatively easy) True dat.
- Fax machines play a central role in filing Freedom of Information Act Requests in the US of A (whaaaa?)
- Habit. Using a fax machine is a familiar habit. Like slipping on your fav bunny slippers after a hard day at the office. A warm cozy that some folks just can’t seem to let go of.
I know, I know. There seems to be an unending need/want going on between faxing via Internet and faxing via an actual stand alone machine. Maybe it boils down to wanting to save the environment – or not. But I regress. That’s a whole ‘nuther topic.
I do realize that in some parts of the country, Internet access is spotty or non-existent, whereas a phone line is always there – seems like. However, I daresay that won’t always be the case. I’m not saying that there are no good reasons to use a fax machine, but you’re talking to a bit of a geek here. I absolutely LOVE technology and when something new comes out or gets discovered – I’m all over it. Especially if I feel it will make my life easier and maybe a bit simpler.
Despite the fact that faxing via the Internet is something of a poetic invention, and I really have a hard time understanding why anyone or any entity would not utilize this genius thing, I guess we’ll just have to be patient and let the machine die out in it’s own time. There is no doubt in mind, that faxing via a machine will, at some point not in the too distant future, become obsolete. It will be sent to the archives like the telegram and the Pony Express. What about the US Postal Service…? Hmmm… that’s a thought. Foder yet again for another story.
Anyway, part of the point of this article, is to tell you what my research brought forth when I (one who doesn’t fax much) was searching for something that would work for me. Economics, budget, and convenience were key in my search.
I came across some really great services and, some not so great. The variety and number of companies that offer Internet fax services can be a bit overwhelming.
As I stated above, I was looking for a service that is economical, yet professional and convenient. The only time I seem to need to fax something, is when I sign a new client. I usually scan and send my contracts and any other information via email. As far as I am concerned, it’s the only way to go.
Damn your eyes Mr. Bain. Alexander Bain & Early Fax Developments
A cynical and kinda funny take on Fax machines: So Why Won’t the Fax Machine Just Die Already?
I occasionally need to fax when I’m working on a personal matter, but on the average, my fax usage/needage is minimal. It just doesn’t make sense to pay upwards of $15/mo. for something I only use once and a while.
Here are some ‘Top Rated’ services I came across. Some of them offer the DocuSign service as well:
- InterFAX: $12.95/mo with a ‘one-time setup fee of $12.95 (additional pages at $0.15/page)
- FaxBurner: (like a burner phone – use it once, throw it away) Free service, get a fax number for 24 hours
- Nextiva vFax: 500 pages/mo for $8.95/mo. if you go month to month, $4.95/mo. if you pay for a year in advance or $59.40, Free 30 Day Trial
- eFax: 30 day free trial, $16.95/mo with a $16.95 set up fee
- HelloFax: Free if you only want to receive at a 5 pages/mo., 30 day free trial for their cheapest program at $9.99/mo for 300 pages send/receive
- SRFax: This is the one I chose. $3.29/mo for 25 pages send/receive, $0.10/page for each additional page, save $0.29/mo. if you pay for 1 year
As I mentioned, there are SOOOOO many Internet fax services out there. You just get to a point where you have to narrow it down to maybe half a dozen and pick one. So far, for someone who uses fax services very sporadically, SRFax.com is phenomenal. And you can do all the stuff you need to with this service.
- Send and receive faxes from any device or location
- Schedule outgoing faxes for up to 50 recipients at a time
- Use your existing email account, mobile device, or our web application
- Unlimited storage
- Integration of Internet Fax API in your application
- Private & secure — password protection, SSL & PGP encryption
- Access to the SRFax Printer Driver
- Access to the SRFax Downloader
I must have spent half a day at least – all totaled – researching this topic, and from what I found, this is the most economical package available. If you’re like me and only need to fax occasionally, you should check this one out. I have no affiliation with this company other than the fact I use their service.
Let me know what you think. I relish comments and points of view.