Your Guide to Internet Faxing
The fax machine may have been around since 1843. The original patent, created by Alexander Bain, was to create electric printing over a telegraph with the use of synchronized pendulums. Bain and Frederick Bakewell worked on the early version of what we now know of as a fax machine.
In 1860 it was Giovanni Caselli and Napoleon who would launch the Pantelograph. This was a mechanism of sending images. The Pantelograph was patented in Paris before the telephone was patented here in America.
From Tele-photography to the Belinograph to the Teleautograph there have been improvements that have enhanced the way that we send images. By 1923 people were able to send signatures and photographs across a wire. By 1964 Xerox had come to being and introduced the Magnafax Telecopier. In 1980 Japan introduced the ITU G3 Fascimile Standard. In 1985 the first computer based fax machine was invented and it was named the GammaFax.
What is an Internet Fax?
An internet fax is the conversion of a document that you would fax to an email format that can be read from your inbox. This is especially helpful when faxing signed paperwork and copies of invoices. You can very easily have something that has one person's hand writing sent to your email.
How Does an Internet Fax Work?
To use an internet fax all you have to do is have a scanner and a subscription. With an internet fax service a phone number is assigned to your inbox. Someone scans in a file and then opts to send it to your number. The internet fax service receives the file, reformats it to an attachment and then you have it in your inbox.
One of the benefits of internet faxing is that you can use them in reverse to print faxes. You can send a document to a regular fax machine. The internet fax subscription service that you have will convert the file to a document and the fax machine will print it in a matter of seconds. This enables people who work off their phone or blackberry to print.
What are the Benefits to Sending an Internet Fax?
Besides being green and helping save the planet by using less paper, an internet fax is more secure. When you are working in a large office the chances that everyone has their own fax machine are small. The chance that everyone has their own email though is almost 100%. When you send an internet fax the email is only opened by the recipient. You don't have to worry about confidential information being spread around the office.
What Should I Look for in a "Good" Internet Fax Service?
When you are shopping around for an internet fax service you want to be sure to choose the one that will work the best for you and the needs of your business. Some of the things that you will want to look for in an internet fax service include:
- The number of faxes that you can send and receive a month
- Additional charge per fax sent or received over your limit
- Can you use your existing fax number
- Will the service work from a smart phone
What is the Privacy Level with Internet Faxing?
When you are sending a fax through a third party provider privacy can be an issue. You certainly do not want classified information to get out about you. One of the highest levels of privacy that becomes a factor when faxes are sent is in regards to medical records. Many physicians still use hand written charts. When they have to send this information to the insurance company or another physician, is it private?
Look for an internet fax service that is HIPAA compliant. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act protects your right to have secure and sealed medical records. A good internet fax provider will be HIPAA compliant. This means that the fax can be password protected and encrypted so that only the intended party can open the file.
How Much Does Internet Faxing Cost?
Internet faxing can range in price depending on the services you are looking for. You can expect to pay a setup fee and monthly fee. What you want to do before you sign with an internet fax service provider is estimate the number of faxes that you will send and receive. Many providers will charge a flat monthly fee, somewhere between $2 and $15. How many faxes will this cover?
Why Would I Need Internet Faxing?
Internet faxing can bring your business to the next level. When shopping for a provider, ask for a free trial. Many companies will offer this and you can see if there is a benefit for your company.