It's hard to believe the fax machine is still here

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It's hard to believe the fax machine is still here

While we live in the era of email, scanners and a plethora of online communications media that the humble fax machine is still around.

It seems ridiculous that we still print documents for transmission. When was the last time you saw a typewriter being used in an office?

We got thinking about this after reading a recent blog post on the GFI site says that there are about 125 million fax machines in use around the world with almost six million more purchased annually.

Microsoft recently suggested six ways your small business could save money with disposing of the fax machine and replacing it with an online fax service. Getting rid of your fax machine something we suggested some time ago. And it's not that hard to do assuming you have a reliable internet connection.

One of the best things about the work I do is that I get to chat with lots of different small business owners and learn from what they do and share what I learn with them. Many businesses, large and small, have found ways to abandon the fax machine – but still retain a fax service.

This is the key – there are some businesses like banks and law firms that still need a fax machine as paper documents carry a different level of authenticity. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep a fax machine.

There are two ways to keep faxing but reduce your business expenditure from faxing.

  1. Look at online fax services that can send and receive faxes for you. These work by allowing you to email documents to the service for outgoing faxes or receiving and forwarding incoming faxes to your email.
  2. If you run your own email system using Microsoft Exchange or something similar, there are email to fax gateways that let you use your email system for sending and receiving faxes.

The benefits of both these solutions are reasonably easy to calculate. There's no need to print documents so you're saving on paper, printer consumable and power and you don’t have a fax machine so there's a reduced cost for equipment, maintenance and power.

All of this might sound difficult but we've already covered some of the different services and how you can switch to online faxing and even keep your old fax number.

So, what's stopping you from turning off the fax machine and moving to an online system? 

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