Looking for an alternative to your company fax machine? In this article, we’ll explore digital faxing as an alternative to traditional faxing, seeing how the two stack up against one another in 2020.
What Is Digital Faxing?
Digital faxing is, as the name subtly implies, the digitization of traditional faxing. Faxing the old school way involves scanning a piece of paper through a fax machine, which records the image of that piece of paper, sends it to a desired fax machine far away, which then prints out an identical copy of a piece of paper.
If you’ve ever used email, a flash drive, or even sent a text message, you can probably piece together how digital faxing works. In essence, it involves scanning a piece of paper, typically with a smartphone camera, and turning it into a digital file. You can even skip the scanning part if you already have a digital copy of the paper. You then send this paper to your desired recipient(s) through email, cloud sharing, AirDrop, or any other number of methods.
What separates digital faxing from conventional file sharing, however, is digital faxing services. These are apps and services designed to help businesses replace their fax machines, while services like email were only intended to replace traditional mail. Digital faxing services are usually more secure and efficient for online faxing than email, making them the ideal online faxing solution.
Digital Faxing vs Traditional Faxing: Which Is Right For You?
When considering making the switch from traditional faxing to digital faxing, there are several factors to consider. Is this going to increase your costs? How difficult will it be to train your employees to use digital faxing? And which service is the easier of the two?
Below, we’ve broken down a few of the main concerns most businesses have when looking at digital faxing. Let’s start with the price.
The first factor to consider (and the first one that will come to most people’s minds) is the cost comparison between digital and traditional faxing. In the department, digital faxing is the clear winner. You only have to pay for the online faxing service, which makes it an extremely lean expense.
Fax machines, on the other hand, have loads of direct and indirect costs that can cost anywhere between hundreds and thousands each year, depending on how often you fax documents. The most immediate cost is that of sending a fax, which is usually charged the same way that a phone call is charged. This means you have to pay for every fax you send, and you pay more depending on how far away the destination is.
But there are other associated costs as well. This includes maintenance for the machine, like repairs and toner replacements. Compare this to the flat, low rate of most digital faxing services, and the question of cost becomes clear.
Once again, digital faxing takes the cake in the speed department, though not as easily as it does in the cost department. The average fax machine takes around thirty seconds to a minute to send a single document, which is substantially slower than digital faxing, which happens nearly instantly.
However, thirty seconds isn’t too long to wait for a fax to arrive, especially since speed isn’t a huge requirement when sending a fax. And when you compare the time it takes to open a digital faxing app, take a photo of the doc, and send it, the speed difference becomes less noticeable.
Where traditional faxing starts to fall apart in the speed department is when you look at sending multiple documents at once. By the speeds we just listed above, it can take up to five minutes to send just five documents through a fax machine. Using a digital faxing, though, allows you to send documents as quickly as you can hit the “Send” button.
Organization is something that might not be initially considered when comparing these two modes of faxing, but it’s worth keeping in mind. If you’re a small business, you may not have much trouble organizing incoming and outgoing fax machine documents in a filing cabinet.
Larger businesses, however, more than likely have a tough time keeping up with all of the documents they receive via fax. You can receive multiple faxes at a time, causing things to get mixed up, have multiple fax machines that receive different types of documents, and so on. Even if you manage to keep everything straight at first, finding documents later on can prove to be difficult.
With digital faxing, all of your incoming and outgoing documents are, well, digital! This means you and everyone else in the office can access a digital archive of documents, searching through and sorting them with ease. Again, digital faxing is the winner in this category.
Security is another category where the winning form of faxing is a little bit tougher to determine. Internet faxing services can implement features like encryption, which isn’t really possible with traditional faxing. On the other hand, keeping paper records prevents documents from ever being retrieved through hacking.
Security is just one of those areas where its effectiveness comes down to your practices and policies. Online faxing has the advantage of built-in security, but with the right measures and discipline, paper faxes can be secure as well. In this category, we’ll leave it to your personal preference.
We saved convenience for last not because it isn’t important, but because you probably don’t need us to tell you that online faxing is incredibly convenient. Anyone in your office can do it from any device and with any document. It’s easy to learn and never needs repairs or refills. Like most things that have an app alternative, digital faxing simply can’t be beaten in terms of convenience.
Although fax machines were a revolutionary technology when they first hit the market, they’ve rapidly become a clunky and unnecessary piece of hardware. You can easily supplement a fax machine with digital faxing services like iFax App to help you save money while improving your productivity.