Fax remains a key communication channel for many businesses. There is a ‘network effect’ that occurs when businesses use fax because the organisation they deal with also use fax. Faxes are also considered more secure than email, which is why they’re still used extensively in some industries where sensitive information needs to be transmitted, or the receiver needs to be certain that the information hasn’t been intercepted and altered before it gets to them.
Unfortunately, traditional faxing won’t remain sustainable or viable in the long term due to the phase-out of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). As the National Broadband Network (NBN) is rolled out, businesses will need to use alternative services based on internet protocol (IP) which means that analogue fax machines will no longer work. Workarounds, while possible, will add costs for businesses. This is on top of the costs already incurred by faxes including on-site hardware, a dedicated fax line, and consumables like electricity, paper, and toner. Recent business disruption caused by COVID-19 revealed another weakness of the analogue fax machine; it only works if someone is in the office to send and receive faxes in a timely manner. Otherwise, the business’s reputation could suffer due to late responses.
Small and medium businesses, many of which are still reeling from the changes they had to make quickly due to social isolation measures, need to prepare now for a future without analogue fax capabilities. While streamlined, future-proof communications channels like email and phone will remain essential, it’s neither feasible nor desirable to phase out always-on channels like fax. Therefore, businesses will need to consider an alternative to the traditional fax machine.
The answer lies in cloud-based fax services. This technology lets businesses send and receive faxes from anywhere using nothing more than a smart device, laptop, or desktop computer. There is no need for a dedicated machine or phone line, which reduces overhead costs and eliminates wasted resources. Using a mobile app, businesses can send and receive faxes using their existing fax number. Annual or monthly payment options can reduce costs even further by ensuring businesses only pay for the faxes they send and receive, rather than paying for an overall solution that may offer more capacity than they require (at a higher price). Unlike traditional fax machines, which deliver a busy signal when they’re receiving a fax, a cloud-based fax service can receive multiple faxes at the same time, so the line is never busy.
As well as cost reductions, businesses can be better equipped to let employees work from anywhere because the old concerns about being at the office to attend to the fax machine will no longer apply. This has the added benefit of increasing productivity as employees are able to send and receive faxes instantly, whether that be during a meeting or while conducting a site visit.
Businesses can sign up and start receiving eFaxes using their current fax number or obtain a new number in literally minutes, so there’s no disruption to customers or partners.
Given the ongoing need to remain responsive and contactable even when employees aren’t in the office, and the impending phase-out of analogue lines that serve traditional fax machines, small and medium businesses need to consider cloud-based fax solutions sooner rather than later.