When faxing first hit the business market in the late 1970s it was ground-breaking. Suddenly, businesses around the world could send and receive documents safely, securely and far quicker than they ever could through a postal or courier system.
But then email arrived in a relatively short decade and a half and with it the ability for instant communications and a paperless office. With businesses conscious of their environmental impact, not to mention the all-important bottom line, the costly and now cumbersome fax machine started to look like a technological relic.
Ask the majority of employees in a large corporation what the switchboard number is and they can quote it by heart – ask them the fax number and the result is the complete opposite. They probably won’t even know where the fax machine is.
Yet there is a solid market for fax, which is still a very important method of communication in the business world, particularly in heavily regulated sectors and among companies which handle an inordinate amount of paperwork and are bound by any number of legalities.
For example, there are certain organisations, particularly in the legal, financial services, healthcare, construction and public sectors that require contracts to be printed out and physically signed. Email signatures are rarely legally binding, hence the need to print out a document and sign by hand.
Changing Face of Faxing
With businesses more time and cost pressured than ever before, faxing has had to move with the times. Since the mid 1990’s, it has been possible to send and receive faxes over email or online. Companies providing Internet faxing services are perhaps surprisingly reporting significant growth in this sector. Indeed, eFax now has over 11m customers across 49 countries – not such a dead form of communication as originally thought.
Wider Benefits of Internet Fax
Possibly one of the most important benefits for businesses using internet fax over traditional fax is that it brings down costs. No more paper, toner, additional dedicated phone line costs or investment in costly fax machines. This alone can save a small business in excess of £500 a year.
Furthermore, with a cloud-based fax service, small businesses can improve efficiency and boost productivity and bring products to the market faster because they have access to infrastructure that only large companies used to have. Internet faxing also allows messages and documents to be sent via a more reliable and secure network, with fast delivery confirmation.
Also, being able to sign a fax online using a digitised signature means businesses don’t have to print out, then sign and then scan in to return a document. Whether online, in an email or on an app, users simply drag and drop their signature stamp onto the document. And finally, keeping up with the pace of technological change, facsimiles can now be sent and received anywhere in the world through mobile devices.