|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Although email and electronic document sharing services have reduced the importance of fax machines significantly in most small businesses, faxing still plays an important role in several industries, and many companies have at least an occasional need to send or receive information via fax.
But rather than having to invest money in a dedicated fax machine (and phone line) that is only used periodically, a number of mobile faxing services and applications allow small-business owners to send and receive information via fax by using their mobile devices.
In addition to saving money, mobile fax services can also increase productivity by allowing small business owners on the run to share documents using their smartphones or tablets.
The most immediate benefit mobile fax services offer to small businesses is the direct cost savings from not using a dedicated fax machine in your office, including a phone line, electricity, toner and paper.
Even in industries that use fax machines to exchange documents on a routine basis, such as attorneys, real estate agents and some others, costs and efficiency improves when companies switch from dedicated fax machines to cloud-based or mobile fax services.
Another advantage of mobile faxing is convenience. Because a mobile fax is sent or received directly on your mobile device, there’s no need to use a dedicated fax machine or wait until you return to the office. If you’re working remotely, you can send or receive a fax from nearly anywhere. Instead of heading to a hotel business center or copy services store, you can send or receive a message directly from a mobile device.
In addition, a mobile fax is typically more secure than having a paper fax sitting in a machine tray waiting for someone to pick it up. Because the message arrives securely on your device, you don’t have to worry about someone else reading a printed faxed message before you have a chance to see it.
Sending Mobile Faxes
Approaches to fax technology vary among fax services, so it’s important to spend time comparing applications before selecting one. Some services are outbound only, and depend on users uploading documents from a storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
To use these services, you simply select a document, enter the telephone number, and compose a brief cover page message. The document is then uploaded and transmitted via the Internet to the recipient’s fax machine (or service).
With some services, you can use your smartphone’s internal camera to photograph a document and prepare it for fax transmission. The camera essentially acts as a scanner, digitizing the document so it can be sent over wireless data networks and delivered to your intended recipient.
Some services also allow you to receive incoming faxes directly on your mobile device. Incoming fax may appear with in the application’s viewer screen, or as an attachment in your email inbox.
Most mobile faxing applications are available for free, and provide a gateway to services require monthly or per-document fees.
Regardless of the technology approach, mobile faxing services offer an affordable and efficient alternative to sending or receiving documents with a dedicated fax machine, and may be a more convenient and cost-effective approach to faxing for small businesses that only need faxing services occasionally.