How can I save money sending my faxes over the Internet? Nicole, Honolulu, HI
Lots of ways, Nicole. In fact, fax-over-IP (FoIP) is all about saving money. The obvious ways include: 1) Intra-company faxing: If your organization has an internal, IP-based LAN, WAN, or VPN, then, by transmitting all internal faxes over this transmission medium, your intra-company fax transmissions are, in essence free. This is an excellent way to better leverage your existing IP infrastructure and expense; 2) International fax transmissions to and from countries that have not privatized their PTT or deregulated their telecommunications industry: By using the Internet, a VPN or a service bureau, you can bypass conventional international transmission and settlement fees. But there are many other ways to save money with FoIP systems and services. For example, installing a fax server (or using a fax service) that permits remote viewing of faxes through a web browser saves all the time, money, and aggravation involved in manually forwarding faxes to folks on the road. Using fax-to-e-mail/e-mail-to-fax conversion lets you migrate folks towards the standard environment of e-mail without expensive re-training this will ultimately pay off in smoother convergence of workflows and infrastructure.
What is the best way to pick a fax service bureau? Haskell, San Diego, CA
First, define your needs: Fax broadcasting, point-to-point international faxing, fax-to-e-mail, etc. Then look for a bureau that specializes in what you need. Though every bureau offers fax broadcasting, some specialize in it. Price is important, but dont concentrate solely on it. Available services and features are more important. And, always, ask for references.
I want to install a LAN Fax server. Which is best? Adele, Palm City, FL
Just like picking a service bureau, first define your needs. Is the server for a workgroup of 25 or a company of 1,000? How many desktops will be enabled? What is your average daily fax traffic and does it spike seasonally? What features do your employees and administrator(s) need? With these questions answered, you can begin your search. Most LAN Fax servers have the same feature sets, so dont fixate on check-boxes. Look also at installation, training, and support issues and again, ask for references.
Whats the biggest drawback with the free fax and free fax-to-email services? Lois, Margate, NJ
These services, like eFax.com and MessageClick.com, are excellent and I recommend them. The only drawback I can think of is that they may not be appropriate for large organizations. I havent seen any Fortune 500 company order 10,000 DIDs and reprint employee business cards with their newly acquired free fax numbers. (Often, large organizations look for an in-house approach.) What I have seen are Fortune 500 employees who sign-up for these services and give out the fax number when appropriate. I dont think that breaks any rules. Try it... youll like it!
Whats the status of color fax? Ed, Dallas, TX
My first answer was dead. But since Ive learned to never say never, lets just say dormant. The trouble with color fax is critical mass. To receive a fax in color, the sender must have the same software or color fax machine that you do. With over 100 million machines and millions of desktops NOT color-fax enabled, it would take a miracle plus ten years to reverse the situation. The last company I knew of that offered a $59.00 retail, color fax software package is long since defunct. And I know of no similar effort today.
Are intelligent fax boards (Brooktrout, Dialogic, NMS) really worth the extra money? Remi, Tucson, AZ
Absolutely! Over time, intelligent fax boards do pay for themselves, in hard-dollar fax transmission savings, over Class 1 and 2 modems. They are tested against the hundreds of variations of the T.30 fax protocol. Therefore, they connect much more frequently than modems and they transmit at the fastest speed possible. Also, their hand shaking, connect times, and disconnect times are faster. Many are approved by PTTs around the world, so if your faxing is international, intelligence is an imperative.
For more information, most of the manufacturers have white papers on this specific topic, available on their websites.
Got a question? Though I cant answer everyone, Ill do my best to help you.
Maury is managing partner of The Kauffman Group an enhanced fax technology and services analysis and consulting firm. He can be reached via phone at 856-651-1651 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also really likes fax, 856-651-1652.