The mid-20th century technology of "xerography" that led to copy machines also led to the development of faxes in the 1960s. By the 1980s, faxes were everywhere, and when the price point dipped below $100, fax machines became commodity items that even made it into the home. The Internet "changed everything," of course, and soon enough the virtual world offered up fax service minus the machine. Most history texts will record that Web-based faxing debuted in June 1997 with InternetPaper, a service that made it possible to send documents from PCs to any fax machine on the planet.
Internet faxing grew quickly, and although fax machine sales fell, they never completely dried up. Still, traditional fax machines continue to be replaced by the more effective, less costly Web-based fax services. The major features of faxing have been retained for an efficient transition, so users still get assigned a "fax number" in the form of an 10-digit "phone number." Routed through their computers-PCs, Macintoshes, Linux boxes, any kind at all-the appropriate software or Web form will use this number to send and receive faxes for the user.
The major thrust of technological progress has been to make communication faster, cheaper, more widespread and more accessible. As computers have gotten faster and smarter, the benefits have spread from government and industry, the first beneficiaries of the Internet, to everyone with a dial-up or broadband account. Of particular importance to those in the "mobile workforce"-real estate and insurance agents, salespeople, construction workers, contractors and others-the new Internet faxing methods make for a truly mobile office.
This near-universal accessibility makes it possible to conduct normal, everyday business operations on the road or out of the office. No longer is time wasted waiting for a document to arrive to an office-bound fax machine, but Internet faxing offers even more advantages for professionals that normally operate outside of an office. With Internet faxing, one can say "goodbye" to busy signals, roller jams, toner replacement and paper trays. There is no maintenance required, and copies are received in clean, original conditions. They are easily forwarded, copied, archived or converted into editable text for other uses.
Online benefits in an online world
Many businesses operate exclusively, or almost exclusively, online. In fact, the entire momentum of technological progress is toward less machinery and more "virtual" versions of office equipment and its various products. Because of this, the future of faxing most likely lies with increasingly sophisticated communications technology and computers, not with better standalone contraptions. Internet faxing is a natural partner for businesses that want to build on the low-cost functionality of the Internet.
One additional benefit is that saving money will also help save the environment. It used to be that growing businesses and large corporations favored Internet faxing simply for its cost-effectiveness. While this is still a selling point, the environmental benefits of moving to computer-based, machine-less faxing are big-and they are also "quantifiable," meaning that businesses from the one-person office to the Fortune 500 can actually put a number on the amount of savings they realize.
Simpler, better, cheaper-and green
Internet faxing means fewer phone lines, fax machines, supplies, toner and paper use, along with lower electricity charges and maintenance costs. Internet faxing, of course, is a paperless system unless you need a hard copy, which is easy enough to print if you want one. These are additional ways that the future of faxing makes communication both convenient and affordable. Also, since Internet faxing services were initially designed for big business, there is enough "depth" and "robustness" to satisfy small businesses and individual users, as well.
On the corporate front, tough economic times mean companies have to endure many different hardships, and solve more and more financial problems, just to continue in business. Staying competitive means cutting costs as much as possible, and Internet fax services help companies maintain their edge by providing high-quality communications that are affordable, efficient and fast. As a paperless technology, Internet faxing is by definition a "green" and "eco-friendly" solution. It?s not just the reduced power demands and the elimination of toner and consumables. It also means there are no toner packages or paper boxes to add to the landfill.
The future?s looking good
On the whole, Internet faxing is dramatically better for our environment, and the future of faxing will have a positive effect on the future of the planet. There is no waste, no need for any special chemical disposal and no stack of paper being eaten up by unsolicited faxes selling lunch baskets or pet food. E-mail spam is part of the computer era, but at least it only wastes a few seconds, rather than a few cents? worth of paper and electricity.
Internet faxing in entering its second decade, and has already started to transform the future of faxing. Traditional fax machines are certainly not obsolete yet, but being less dependable, less convenient and more costly than Internet fax services, their presence will continue to diminish. Machines are far slower and infinitely more costly to maintain than online services, which are available for very low cost (even free for limited use). Internet faxing is quickly becoming the trustworthy way to send and receive important documents. It is safe to say that the future of faxing will parallel the progress in computers, Internet technology and communications systems-and that means it will get faster, better, less expensive and more dependable all the time. Metro Hi Speed is a leader inonline fax solutions for any sized business. Less expensive and more reliable than traditional fax services - you'll enjoy the convenience and well as the cost. Visit us today for more information on our small business andcorporate fax solutions.