At many companies, faxing contributes to high telecommunication bills. Because charges are based on the duration and distance of the call, costs can add up fast. Just like long-distance calling via the internet, faxing over the Internet slashes expenses. E-mail-to-fax gateway services allow you to send faxes this way.
For example, FaxSav's (http://www.faxsav.com) FaxLauncher Pro allows users to send faxes via the Internet from any Windows application; documents are delivered to receiving fax machines just as if faxed from a standard fax machine. There's a $29.95 activation fee and a $4.95-per-user monthly service fee.
Another e-mail-to-fax gateway service to consider is JFAX. Unlike other gateways, JFAX offers a receive-only fax-to-e-mail service. Establishing a JFAX number allows users to receive faxes and voice mail messages via e-mail. This may eliminate your need for a fax machine while allowing you to pool your incoming communications so they're easier to manage. Service is currently limited to approximately 50 cities worldwide. You can sign up for JFAX through its Web site (http://www.jfax.com) or by calling (888) GET-JFAX. A private phone/fax number costs $12.50 per month (plus a one-time $15 setup fee).
The same problems that occur with Internet voice communications can also apply to faxing. If time is of the essence, be aware that Internet faxes can be subject to long delays--so you won't want to use Internet faxing services for high-priority documents.
It's important to recognize the limitations of these technologies and make adjustments. For instance, because sales calls require the highest level of professionalism, don't use Internet telephony for them and risk poor voice quality. Cutting costs is key, but don't compromise credibility. Try out these services with a small workgroup. If they're useful to your business, you can implement them on a larger scale as they become more widespread.
Nathan Muller, firstname.lastname@example.org