5 Alternatives to the Traditional Fax Machine

Despite the undeniable migration towards cloud-based communication technologies, many organizations still cling ferociously to their fax machine. Businesses (especially those in older industries such as law firms and medical labs) see fax machines as efficient, secure, and reliable equipment that helps them get a document from point to point.

Without question, fax machines indeed enabled fast communication. But in the 21st century, why keep your bulky, noisy, and painfully-slow fax machine when there are already far better options available today?

Below, we take a look at some of the best alternative services to the traditional fax machine and how they can best serve your faxing needs.

Vonage Paperless Fax

Vonage offers an affordable fax solution for businesses. For only $14.99 per user/per month, users can send and receive faxes from their desktop or mobile (and eliminate the hassle of wasting paper, purchasing toner, or maintaining a clunky fax machine in the office).

This Paperless Fax features also offers convenience to employers and their staff, as each user can have individual fax numbers, meaning there’s no need to stand in line to fax something. Incoming faxes are also sent straight to the recipient’s email, making it easier to manage important documents from a single inbox.

RingCentral Fax

Another excellent internet faxing solution is RingCentral Fax. Bridging traditional faxing and modern, cost-effective internet communications, RingCentral Fax lets businesses send and receive faxes as emails from anywhere and from any internet-connected device. You can even choose to keep your existing number or get a new one.

The best thing about RingCentral Fax is that it moves beyond basic fax and comes with an array of great features. These include SMS fax alerts, online accounts, fax logs, secure incoming and outgoing faxes, and cloud storage integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, among others.

Businesses can also choose from four plans:

  • Fax 500 – starts at $7.99 per user/per month, with free 500 pages included monthly
  • Fax 1000 – starts at $12.99 per user/per month, with free 1000 pages included monthly
  • Fax 2500- starts $49.99 per user/ per month, with free 2500 pages included monthly
  • Fax Unlimited – starts at $39.9 per user/per month, with unlimited pages

VirtualPBX Online Fax

If you’re subscribed to a VirtualPBX plan, then you no longer have to worry about keeping bulky physical equipment because every VirtualPBX plan already has online fax capability. You can conveniently send and receive faxes from your account at no extra cost. Most plans let you send 100 fax pages every month at no cost (and only charges 5.9 cents for excess pages). Nevertheless, you can also customize it to increase your faxing capabilities.

Nextiva vFAX

Another excellent online faxing solution is Nextiva vFAX. Like other virtual faxing options, Nextiva lets users send and receive faxes from work, from home, or on the go through email. You can easily manage your faxes through their online portal that is accessible using any web browser. The best thing about Nextiva VFAX is you can take it on a 30-day free trial to find out if it’s a good fit for you.

They currently offer three plans:

  • Single user – starts $4.95/month, and includes 500 pages per month
  • Small business – starts at $12.95/month, and includes 1000 pages per month
  • Business pro – starts at $29.95/month, and includes 3000 pages per month

All three plans come with standard features such as Fax by Email, Fax Machine Support, Fax with Mobile Device, Access Fax Anywhere, Online Portal, and more.

Jive Virtual Fax

Jive also offers a virtual fax service that’s integrated on all Jive plans at no extra charge. Using this feature, you can quickly send and receive unlimited faxes, and view faxed documents straight from your inbox. To start sending and receiving faxes, you can simply set up an extension for it. Users can also configure fax settings in real time through Jive’s online portal.

No matter what plan you choose, if you are a small business or have a home office you should definitely considering upgrading to virtual fax!

Three Reasons Why Your Business Shouldn’t Use Skype

When it comes to the average guy’s VoIP, Skype is one of the brands that comes to mind. But when that average guy becomes the a business owner, Skype’s service doesn’t exactly measure up when compared to other VoIP providers that specialize in offering business class phone service.

What do you and your customers expect from your business phone system?

Before you consider Skype for your business, think about your telecommunications needs. Whether you are a small one-person firm or a large enterprise, there are three requirements that are an absolute must for your business:

#1. A high quality voice connection

Skype’s “standard” voice quality (available on their free and standard paid business package) is of a lower quality than most business customers require. There is also a High Definition (HD) quality voice option available for $5.50 per month per user, but even that does not match the quality provided by premium telecom providers. This alone might be enough of a reason for you to drop Skype as a viable option for your business.

#2. Keep your existing local phone numbers

You have spent money and time building equity in your business, getting your name (and phone number) familiar with your customers and industry. Can you imagine if you had to change your phone number? How much business would you lose? How many customer complaints would you receive? Having to change your phone number could be a disaster.

With Skype, you cannot transfer (known in VoIP as “port”) your existing phone number. This is a deal breaker for most (if not all) businesses.

#3. Toll Free Calling

Your customers expect to be able to call you on a toll free number like an 800, 888 or 877 number. From time to time, you may need additional toll free numbers; but with Skype, you cannot get them. This makes it tough for growing businesses that are trying to compete in today’s market place. However, most paid VoIP providers offer additional toll free numbers for a nominal fee, and can be added to your VoIP system immediately.

It seems clear that a business should not use Skype as their phone service provider simply based upon the reasons above. These are only three of the most basic ways in which Skype falls short of providing a quality and dependable phone system for your business.

Does Skype have any place in my business?

Skype does not meet the basic requirements a small business needs. Instead, it seems to fill more of a collaboration role for businesses, and falls short as far as business basics go. Paid VoIP providers, however, offer bundles of free features and extra add-ons (like toll free numbers, number porting, extra extensions, etc.) that can help any business be more efficient.

In the end, what you need for your business is a high quality phone system to handle your inbound and outbound calls, coupled with professional call handling and enterprise features. And Skype cannot compete with the value proposition offered by today’s Hosted VoIP providers.