Computer Fax Solutions

The world's last telegram is about to be sent in India. BSNL, the last state running telegraph service, just announced the end of an era in telecommunications. "We were incurring losses of over $23 million a year because [text messaging] and smartphones have rendered this service redundant," said BSNL's general manager Shamim Akhtar. For Australians, that era ended in 1993, when the Australian Post delivered the last lettergram in Melbourne. The world of telecommunications is rapidly changing as businesses are finally leaving the 20th century technology behind to become more mobile and responsive to customers.

In 1993, Australian business meant desktop workstations, land line fax machines, and email. Our changing times have now transformed that static business model into computing power on the go through laptops, tablets, and the increased power of mobile phones. The communications technology of the 21st century is defined by high speed broadband Internet, Wi-Fi, and cellular data packages.

For half a century, computers have been an absolute business necessity. Over that time, computers have greatly increased their processing speeds and broadened their usefulness through new software. In fact, the first computer to come to Western Australia was built for the main roads department. It could only do calculations to help build the Mitchell Freeway. The monstrosity was the size of a double wardrobe and cost over $60,000. The processing capacity was less than the free calculator you can get for opening a bank account today.

By the 1970's, desktop computers were everywhere running accounting software and compiling customer databases. We could print reports and make sales projections, but the computer was really just a fancy typewriter for most people. There was a good deal of talk that computers were a fad that would soon go away. All that talk ended when Australian computers started connecting to the Internet. Starting in 1988, a program extended the international research Internet to the Pacific Rim, courtesy of The University of Hawaii in coordination with NASA. A series of Internet conferences were set up to connect Australian networks to the North American and Asian. Within a few years there were millions of email, telnet and ftp accounts all over the world.

This was when something arrived that was described as a “killer app” at the time – The World Wide Web. The Internet was just email, message boards and ftp sites before, but the web made the digital world come alive with images, sound, video, and the now ubiquitous hyperlink.

Geoff Huston, the first manager of AARNET, the Australian Vice Chancellor's Committee network, said, “We saw this technology being as socially significant as the introduction of the printing press by redefining what information is and by rewriting the rules. It's not a static thing ... it's negotiable.”

That renegotiation of what is possible online continues today but a clearer picture of the future is emerging. 3D modeling and printing delivered over the web could soon replace the entire manufacturing industry. With the increasing speed of business, the vast savings in transaction costs set a new standard of efficiency for businesses around Australia.

Computers began as monstrosities the size of a small room with the power of a simple calculator. Now they have shrunk down to the palm of our hands and can handle detailed analysis and decision making functions. Your computer is your personal digital assistant which can handle administrative tasks like faxing.

How to Fax From Your Computer

In most operating systems, there is a built in program to allow your computer to send a fax for free over a dedicated fax line that you have installed. Here are some details on how a MS Windows machine handles faxing. Before you start, however, you will need some additional equipment.

First of all you need to verify that you have a fax modem. A fax modem allows your computer to communicate with other fax machines by way of a standard phone line. Most businesses have a dedicated line for their faxes so they can receive faxes anytime without missing out on customer calls. If you are not sure if your computer has a built-in fax modem, contact your IT help desk or a representative at the shop where you bought your computer. If you need to buy one, they are relatively inexpensive and can be added internally or externally. If you have an internal fax modem, it will plug into your computer motherboard, just like a video or sound card. Alternately, you can use one of your USB or serial ports to connect an external fax modem.

Some businesses have fax servers already set up on your company network. Check with your IT department to find out for certain. You won't need a fax modem if your network has a fax server.

Setting up a fax modem in Windows

  1. If you have a modem, make sure it is plugged into your phone line.
  2. Go to Start -> All Programs -> Windows Fax and Scan.
  3. Click on the Fax button on the bottom of your screen to the left.
  4. Look for New Fax on the next tool bar.
  5. This will launch a Fax Setup wizard that can walk you through the rest of the process.
  6. When you are ready, click Connect and start faxing.
  7. Setting up a fax server from your network
  8. First you must find out from your IT department the address of the fax server, such as \\businessnamefaxserver
  9. Go to Start -> All Programs -> Windows Fax and Scan.
  10. Click on the Fax button on the bottom of your screen to the left.
  11. Look for Fax Accounts on your Tools menu and click Add.
  12. This will launch the Fax Server Setup wizard, click
  13. Choose Connect to a fax server on my network and select your fax server from the list.

That's all there is to it, but there are obviously some disadvantages. First of all there is the extra equipment you may need to buy and set up. Secondly, if there is a problem due to the complexity of the Fax Wizard set up, you may incur additional expenses from IT support. If there is a compatibility issue, you may see decreased performance on your computer and the fax software could fail. Finally, you will need to use your phone line, so if it is not a dedicated line, you will need to switch it on and off, which could result in missed calls and a less professional image.

Another more efficient alternative is to use a web-based online fax service like eFax. With eFax, you don't need any additional hardware or software. You use your existing email to send and receive faxes, even those that are too large for your email server because they are being delivered over the cloud through the eFax data center. You won't tie up a phone line and you can send and receive multiple faxes at the same time. Once you start using your computer as a fax, you will see how much time you have wasted standing in front of a fax machine.

Faxing from Your Computer = Flexibility

Two of the main reasons companies sign up for eFax are the immediate savings in time along with better use of resources. Faxing directly from a computer allows workers to get more done in a day by saving trips to the fax machine or requiring administrative staff to take care of it when they have time. Now your company can put the power of sending and receiving faxes in the hands of more employees. An incremental cost of adding more fax lines goes down to near zero with eFax. That means that each worker could use their computer as a fax with their own fax number.

eFax vs. the Traditional Fax Machine

Being able to use your computer as a fax removes several steps in the faxing process. This makes it easier to fax a variety of document types without printing them first. With eFax you receive directly into your email inbox. Customers and suppliers can send you documents which can then be updated on your computer and sent out, completely eliminating the wasted paper. With a traditional fax machine, when documents arrive, they have to be filled out by hand. This not only looks less professional, it can introduce errors into the data or require scanning into an Optical Character Reader (OCR) for completion. OCR's aren't 100 percent reliable either, depending on the quality of the fax.

Consider three other great benefits that a traditional fax just can't match:

  1. You can send very large files in an instant, even complex reports, videos, high resolution images, and sales presentations.
  2. We offer free online storage of all the faxes you send in our secure database that is searchable by keywords. Never worry about shredding old faxes or misfiling’s again.
  3. Because faxes arrive in your inbox, you can set up alerts for important faxes or automatically routing to the right department email box.

Traditional fax machines connected to a dedicated landline are resource intensive, require maintenance and take too much time during the business day. Consider the amount of time it takes to print a document, go to the fax machine, wait for it to finish, and deal with annoyances like misdials or busy signals. Over a month this adds up to a significant amount of wasted man-hours. It puts productivity on hold compared to workers who simply fax multiple documents directly from their computers or mobile phones.

Faxes remain one technology that continues to be absolutely essential for complex sales, governmental bids, and supply chain management. It may be the only way to contact busy executives who receive hundreds of calls and emails every week. Now you can stay in contact by fax wherever you are – at your desk, at home or even from the floor of an important conference.

Get your Free Trial of eFax and Start Saving Now

What could your business achieve with more time and lower expenses? Don't wonder, find out with fax over email. You can reserve a fax number from among thousands of local fax numbers around the world. Receive faxes at up to 5 email addresses with a FREE 30-day trial of eFax. Learn why eFax has become the #1 Internet fax service provider in the world, saving time and money for more than 11 million people in 49 countries.

Sign up for eFax and immediately you can start:

  • Saving time by sending and receiving multiple faxes right from your desk or on the road
  • Saving the environment by using less paper and printer cartridges
  • Lowering your expenses by eliminating your monthly charges for a dedicated fax line
  • Opening up new markets with local numbers around Australia and abroad
  • Keeping better track of your faxes with lifetime online storage and a searchable database of your faxes with your eFax® account
  • Getting back to work without dealing with busy signals, paper jams or confirmation slips

Improve the efficiency of your computer systems and take advantage of cloud-based software. At home, in the office or on the road, your fax is ready when you are with eFax. What will you do with all the extra time and money you'll be saving?


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