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The Benefits of Efax - Enhance Your Online Business with This Tool




This discussion focuses on some of the benefits of efax and how it can bring positive changes to your online business. The invention of the e-fax concept is arguably one of the most overlooked innovations within the Internet capacity. I am not so sure if the technology is just not widely used (yet), or is it that many are just unaware of its benefits and the conveniences it offers? I know that many are not even aware of the concept of efax, let alone learning more about it.

Efax is short for “electronic fax”. It is the process by which you can send and receive faxes directly on your computer through an efax service provider. Typically, you have your own dedicate fax number that allows others to send you faxes that you receive in PDF format directly on your computer. The number doesn’t look any different than a regular 7 digit fax or phone number. You can then save the file on your computer, print it, and view it at any time as you wish without needing an Internet connection.

You do need Internet however when sending and receiving efaxes. This is because the technology relies on a server that receives information sent to your personal fax number. The server then relays the information to your email address and you receive the fax in the form of an email. Simplistically speaking, here is how it works:
  • Sender sends a fax to you using your dedicated e-fax number. The sender can send you a fax using their computer or a regular fax machine it does not matter


  • Documents sent to your number are sent to a server that your efax number is attached to


  • The server has your email address on file and knows that all documents received on your efax number must be forwarded to your personal email address


  • An automated email is sent to your email inbox where you can access the efax as an attachment

Using the same technology, with an efax system you can send faxes using your computer. You simply need the document you want to fax on your computer as a text or image file. Using a dedicated fax program on your computer, you can send the document to a fax number (regular or efax) and the document travels through the Internet to get to its recipient. Similarly you can type up a document in your dedicated efax program and send the document to a fax number if the recipient does not have an email address.

There are some efax programs that either only send or receive faxes, and there are programs that allow you to do both. Determine what your needs are and make sure you understand the service you are paying for before entering into an agreement with an efax provider.

There are email programs as well that allow you to send an email as a fax as well but many of these do not have the ability to receive a fax. To receive a fax, the program needs a dedicated e-fax number and a server where the number relays the information so that your email program can retrieve it. Lotus Notes is a good example of an email program that allows you to send faxes from your computer. I had no idea about this until recently as I was toying with my laptop and “walla” I discovered Magic.



More privacy

You can be assured that your fax is not just laying around in some sent or received basket. All e-fax transactions are done online and all confirmations are retained online as well. I had a colleague at work who once fat fingered a confidential fax over to someone. Just 2 days later he was fired from work. Now this can also happen with e-faxes but chances are with an e-fax only one person will have access to the sent fax as opposed to the fax sitting around in a received basket waiting for someone to pick it up while the whole world is having a look at it in the mean time.



Cost efficient

Many efax providers can get you started for just $9.99 a month. If you conduct a lot of international activity, think about the money you could be saving by sending and receiving free faxes to and from other countries. Forget International activity, just think about the expenses involved with a physical fax machine. First you invest in a machine that will cost you over $100 most likely, then you constantly feed it ink cartridges and paper. Not to mention your machine will become outdated and break one day and then you will have to spend another $100 or so to get a new one.



Flexible

With an efax you don’t need to be tied down to a physical location. You can access your fax at home, your friend’s home, your hotel, office and pretty much anywhere you have Internet. If you carry a handheld device like a Blackberry, you pretty much carry around your fax machine too.



Retention of important documents

Your efax can serve as a scanning tool as well. If you come across documents that you want a copy off but do not want the physical paperwork, you can simply fax over the document to yourself and you will have it in your email program. You can then download the file to your desktop and you won’t need Internet the next time you want to access the document. Further, since all faxes (sent or received) are done electronically, you will always have the option to save all your faxes as electronic files. Each file takes up very little space as if it is not there to begin with.



The Two Best eFax Programs?

I used the GoDaddy eFax program a lot. It was very good but for my purposes the tool had some restrictions that I did not like. The two best and most flexible eFax programs I have experienced are MyFax and MetroFax. I personally use MyFax and love its flexibility. I also found it to be a very economical tool.

There is no limit to technological advancement. Pretty soon we will be able to send physical goods remotely with the blink of an eye :-)








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