Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why more people aren’t going green

For some reason I was under the impression that going green has become trendy and popular enough that most people have gotten on board. But I guess I was wrong.

According to research from GfK Roper Consulting, 60 percent of the people polled believe green products are too costly – six percent more than felt that way in 2006. In addition, 28 percent say they are “too busy” to do what it takes to become green. Hmmm.

Forgetting the implications of what would happen if the whole planet’s ecosystem collapsed – including the cost and time involved with trying to survive a James Cameron-like disaster – the fact is going green doesn’t always have to cost more and take more time. In fact, sometimes it can cost less and save time.

That’s certainly the case with MyFax. It eliminates an expensive piece of office equipment, the dedicated fax machine, saving both the initial cost and the challenge of safe disposal when it has finished its useful life. It also helps reduce paper costs – documents arrive electronically, so you only print what you choose to print. It saves on electricity too, since you don’t have to power a separate machine just for faxes. (For more on how MyFax helps conserve natural resources while saving you money, check out this site.)

As for those that think they’re too busy, MyFax lets you send and receive faxes through your email account, whether it’s on a PC, laptop, smart phone or other device. No more trying to track down a piece of paper, and no more having to go all the way back to the office to view or send an important fax. It’s a great way to save time while keeping the work flowing.

The bottom line is there are ways to both go green and save money and/or time. We’ve shown you ours. What are some of the ways you do it?

Friday, December 18, 2009

More money for small businesses

Looks like there is some good news for small businesses as we head into 2010. The U.S. Congress has approved an increase in funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) according to a New York Times article.

Part of that money will be used to hire more employees, which should hopefully speed the application and approval process. But there should also be more money available for loans at a lower cost. The government is also looking into continuing to guarantee 7(a) loans at 90 percent, which makes them a lot more palatable to local banks that are still reeling from the collapse of the loan market in 2008.

Running a small business can be financially challenging even in good economic times. In the current economy it’s downright nerve-wracking. These increases to the SBA, along with a continuation of the stimulus package (hopefully), should help ease some of the burden.

Have you taken advantage of an SBA loan yet, either a regular loan or one of the microloans they’re offering? If so, what has been your experience?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Students exhibit fax art in Baltimore

Bet you never knew faxing was an art form. Me either, until I saw this article about an exhibit currently running at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore.

They are showing drawings from several students that were sent to the museum by fax. Each week a different school is highlighted, so there is a wide range of art styles and drawings to view. The article says the program is there to encourage students to explore the relationship between technology and art, among other things.

Even more interesting is that the student exhibit is part of a larger program featuring fax artwork from Kay Rosen, Tauba Auerbach, Johannes Wohnseifer and Pierre Bismuth. Who knew there were so many artists working in the medium of faxing?

If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the student exhibit runs through December 20.

Which begs the question: have any of you ever seen or even participated in a fax art exhibit?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Surviving the 2009 holiday season

For many of us, the phrase “surviving the holiday season” means limiting weight gain to five pounds or fewer or shopping without getting pummeled by our fellow shoppers. For small business owners, though, there are some other, more serious considerations according to this post in the Mainstreet Business Journal.

One of the biggest is making sure customers don’t get so distracted with the holidays that they forget to pay their bills on time. Most people like to take a little time off around the holidays, and when they do they tend to lose track of the normal rhythm of the business.

Monitoring your receivables, and reminding customers about payment, becomes critical at this time of the year. After all, if you don’t receive payment before December 24, you probably won’t see it until after January 4, 2010.

Another good one is to involve your employees in what’s happening in the business. If they feel like they have more of a stake in it they’re likely to work a little harder and give a little more of themselves.

Something else you can do is find a way to reward employees even if you can’t pay regular bonuses. For most people the reward isn’t about the amount, it’s about appreciation and recognition of their efforts. Give each one an extra day, or even a half day, to go shopping or take care of other needs. Buy them a nice but inexpensive gift, or give each a plate of cookies with an apology that you couldn’t do more right now. Doing something, no matter how small, shows that you value their contribution. That goes a long way, especially in tough times.

What else do you think is important for businesses to do to survive the holiday season?

Friday, November 27, 2009

MyFax and my1voice pass the Bar

Well, maybe they didn’t actually pass the Bar exam. But this week both MyFax and my1voice were added to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) TechEZ site.

ABA’s technology evaluation and information site -- TechEZ ( helps lawyers make smart choices about technology so they get the best return on their technology investments.

Lawyers have to be in constant communication with their clients, opposing counsel and even bosses in larger firms. Yet they may spend more time out of the office than in it, visiting clients, taking depositions, attending court hearings, etc.

MyFax and my1voice both make it easier to stay in touch anywhere, anytime. MyFax does so by allowing professionals to send and receive faxes anywhere they can get an Internet connection. And my1voice offers features such as smart call forwarding of office calls to any phone they specify, and delivers voicemail messages to email.

If you know an ABA member, have them check out Tech EZ: Tech-Savvy Savings for ABA Members.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fax machines move up the list of endangered technologies

It’s not exactly a “save the whales” or American Bald Eagle alarm. But in an article in the Telegraph earlier this month Pixmania, the largest electronics retailer in Europe, released its top 10 list of endangered technologies. And guess what? The fax machine was number two on the list. (The DVD player was number one, by the way, so get ready to repurchase your video collection yet again.)

Now, notice they didn’t say “faxes.” Faxing itself is going stronger than ever. They said fax machines. They’re essentially looking at which products they don’t think they’re going to be selling anymore in their stores. In that context fax machines certainly make sense.

As the Telegraph article points out, there are better ways to send and receive faxes these days – smart phones being chief among them. If you’re reading this blog, you know that you can set MyFax to forward your faxes to any Internet-enabled device so you can send or receive faxes anywhere you can get an Internet connection. That sure beats having to run back to the office just to discover that your fax machine ran out of toner halfway through an important fax.

There were a couple of other interesting technologies on that list too. GPS devices made the list. Again, since you can now download maps to and get directions on your smart phone, who needs a whole separate device just to get from here to there?

So what do you think? Do you agree those technologies will be disappearing quickly? And more importantly, which technologies make your top ten list?

And so long, DVDs. We hardly knew ye.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Expanding the definition of “office”

Being as involved as we are in the world of small business, we hear about a lot of non-traditional offices. People convert their kids’ playroom at home into an office; they work completely out of their cars; some regularly hang out at restaurants with free wi-fi connections or rent a little space in the back of a store. But this story tops them all. One of the women profiled in it actually runs two online businesses out of a tent in Kenya.

That’s really taking anywhere, anytime to the extreme. But it does point out how having the right technologies at your disposal means you can operate your business how you want, when you want, and even where you want.

Toward the end of the article, they mention that one of the technologies that’s making things easier for small businesses is “cloud computing.” With cloud computing you don’t have to buy and maintain expensive software or hardware. You sign up for a service, then log in over the Internet (aka the “cloud”) to use it. All you need is a laptop or a smart phone and an Internet connection, which sure beats trying to find space for and maintaining a room full of servers. Especially if you’re working out of a tent in Kenya.

MyFax and my1voice are examples of cloud computing, by the way. Bet you didn’t realize you were right on top of a technology trend!

Small businesses are using the cloud for lots of things, including file storage, accounting, email, calendars, contact management and even desktop applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. How about you? What applications have you moved to the cloud?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Putting 400,000 subscribers into perspective

The other day, we celebrated the fact that MyFax now has surpassed the 400,000 subscriber mark. That means that a lot of people have recycled their fax machine, improved document management and now fax from their smartphones! Sometimes big numbers like that can be a little tough to comprehend, so I thought I would put it into a bit of context for you.

If you look at cities around the world, there are more MyFax subscribers than there are people in Manchester, UK; Bologna, Italy; Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, Israel; and Sevastopol, Ukraine. Not to mention Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota; Wichita, Kansas; and Honolulu, Hawaii. So basically, every man, woman and child in those cities could have a MyFax account and there would still be some unaccounted for.

Or what about years? If you go back 400,000 years in history, scientists believe Neanderthals were the highest evolved human ancestors. They didn’t have a written language, of course, so no need for faxes even if they could figure out the technology side.

Convert that 400,000 to miles, and you can circle the circumference of the earth more than 16 times. Of course, the view would get pretty boring after about the fifth time around.

In terms of dollars, with 400,000 of them you could pay cash for a nice Porsche Carrera GT. That car has a top speed of 205 mph and can go from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds.

Achieving this milestone is a great accomplishment, and we certainly wouldn’t have reached this level without valuable feedback from our customers. Rest assured we remember those accounts belong to 400,000 individuals, and we will continue to provide customer service as if each customer was the only one.

Friday, October 30, 2009

MyFax Enhancement: Fax from Windows Business Applications

We’re constantly reviewing customer feedback, looking for ways to improve MyFax, my1voice and Campaigner, so this week we were excited to announce the ability to fax from Windows business applications! The new, free feature is aPrint-to-Fax option included in the print menu of Windows XP, Vista and 7 applications. So now there’s no need to exit the application you’re working in to fax a document.

Our own VP of marketing, Steve Adams, recently commented that MyFax customers love the faxing option within Microsoft Office and MyFax users requested the feature be extended across all applications.

MyFax customers can download the print driver from MyFaxCentral. From there, faxes can be sent to multiple recipients. The option to add recipients directly from Outlook, and billing codes, are also available.

This is just another way we’re making MyFax a tool you can use with just a few clicks. Hope you like the new feature!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Social networks coming up small for small businesses

Are you using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote your small business? If not, apparently you’re not as far behind the curve as the so-called social media gurus would have you believe.

At least not according to the results of a new Citibank/GfK Roper survey. The owners of 500 businesses with 100 or fewer employees were interviewed regarding their use of social media, and the results were anything but a glowing endorsement. In fact, three-quarters of those interviewed said they haven’t found social media helpful for generating new business leads or expanding their businesses, and 86 percent said they haven’t used social networking sites for information or business advice.

That’s a pretty stark contrast to what we’re hearing in the media, where we’re often led to believe if you’re not taking advantage of social networking you’re hopelessly behind the times.

One point of speculation regarding the lack of success with social networking sites is that the small businesses may not have the manpower or the time to take advantage of them. Maybe. But it could also be that that’s not where their customers are.

Like any other form of advertising, social networking sites are tools. You have to use them intelligently in order for them to work. You don’t see a lot of ads for laundry detergent during football games, and you don’t see a lot of beer commercials on Lifetime.

So what has your experience been with social networks? Are you using Twitter, Facebook, etc.? And have they helped you either generate new business or increase business with current customers?

Friday, October 16, 2009

D’oh! Simpsons show one of the problems with fax machines

So there I am last week, watching The Simpsons 20th season premiere episode, when I hear Homer call out one of the problems with fax machines. After the movie company he’s working for (long story behind that) asks him if he got the changes to the script they sent over, he says “No! My stupid fax machine ran out of ink!”

That is definitely one of the problems with a fax machine. It can run out of ink, or toner, or paper. If that happens, you won’t receive the fax (or your fax to someone else won’t go through) until the problem is taken care of. It’s sort of the “for the want of a nail” scenario. You have an important document that has to get where it’s going right now, but because someone didn’t check on the machine it’s stuck in the nether world between sender and receiver.

That doesn’t happen with MyFax, because there’s no ink, toner or paper involved. Documents are sent and received electronically, so there’s nothing to be out of. About the only thing that can hold it up is if you have the wrong fax number – which is certainly a “D’oh!” moment. Even then, though, you receive a notification that it didn’t go through so you can fix the situation. Ah, if only Homer had known about MyFax.

What’s your fax horror story? Ever had a fax fail to come or go through because of something simple like a lack of toner or paper?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tips to Help Small Businesses Run In a More Organized and Productive Environment

Susan Ward, of recently wrote about the need for small businesses to be more organized and productive. Her post caught my eye because we often hear from small businesses that there aren’t enough hours in the day!

She says “Do you spend your day in a frenzy of activity and then wonder why you haven't accomplished much? Time management skills are especially important for small business people, who often find themselves performing many different jobs during the course of a single day.”

Some of her good tips include:

1) Realize that time management is a myth.
2) Find out where you're wasting time.
3) Create time management goals.
4) Implement a time management plan.
5) Use time management tools.
6) Prioritize ruthlessly.
7) Learn to delegate and/or outsource.

It seems like we could all use a few more organization and time management tricks up our sleeve. What daily business practices do you employ to keep your head on straight?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Small Businesses Jump on Green Technology Bandwagon

I was perusing the small business conversations on Twitter recently (@MyFax_) when I came across CDW’s new findings on green IT adoption. It looks like small to medium sized businesses will lead the pack in the next six months!According to the findings, 31 percent of small business IT decision makers say their companies plan to implement green IT initiatives in the next two years—more than any other corporate or government sector.

The nice thing about greening your small business technology is that you don’t need a CIO, or even an IT department, to make eco-friendly changes in the office. Are you surprised that small businesses are greening their technology faster than any other sector? What green changes has your business made?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pro Bono gets the fax straight for non-profit legal professionals

We are happy to announce that we’re now a sponsor of Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit organization that offers online tools to legal aid and pro bono attorneys.

Since transmitting confidential documents is a daily occurrence for legal professionals, we look forward to working with Pro Bono’s members in the legal profession. We hear from lawyers all the time about how internet faxing boosts efficiency, streamlines workflow, improves productivity and saves money with a secure and reliable alternative to fax machines and fax servers.

Non-profits in search of faxing capabilities can visit: or

Friday, September 18, 2009

Need to keep private info private? Use MyFax Central

Not too long ago I was re-reading the case study we did on MyFax customer Ruby Moon Investigations. It’s a private detective agency in Aurora, Colorado that performs a variety of investigations. Some are just interviewing witnesses to crimes on behalf of a lawyer, or tracking down a long-lost relative.

One of the reasons owner and chief investigator Tan Smyth says she uses MyFax to deliver the results is that it’s more secure than email. At first I was a bit confused since most people have their faxes delivered to their email, which means if someone else can view your email they can also view your faxes. Then it hit me – MyFaxCentral!

MyFaxCentral is the online component to the MyFax service. You can send, receive, view and store faxes there for a year without them ever hitting your email inbox. And since there’s no software to download, you can take advantage of MyFaxCentral without anyone else knowing you have an account.

So if you’re expecting some private information and want to be sure it stays private, having it faxed to your MyFax account and viewing it at MyFaxCentral is the way to do it.

What other types of businesses require transmission of sensitive documents?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Small businesses using online tools to boost the bottom line

USA Today’s Byron Acohido wrote an article this week about small businesses turning to online subscription software (also known as software-as-a-service or SaaS) to improve office efficiencies.

Acohido writes, “Scarce credit and soft consumer spending are compelling small-business owners to look more closely at using the Internet to improve the bottom line. AMI-Partners' survey of 3,600 small and midsize business in 11 countries found 44% of U.S. firms were interested in renting software-as-a-service in the second quarter of 2009, double a year earlier.”

Geoffrey Bock, senior analyst at the Gilbane Group, likens the awakening of small business to these online services to the embrace of the telephone as an essential work tool in the 1920s.

The MyFax customer base is made up of these entrepreneurs and small businesses who already value tools accessible online. More than 15,000 new customers subscribe to MyFax each month. Kudos to MyFax users for being ahead of the curve!

What innovative strategies are you considering or using to cut expenses and increase profitability?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Make your small biz appear big

We were pleased to see Lisa Sims’ recent Atlanta Small Business Examiner article “Four Ways to Make Your Small Business Appear Big”. She points out some easy ways SMB’s can avoid looking like a small fish in a big pond.

We advocate the same thing here at Protus. Simple technology modifications can go a long way in making a small business appear like a big player. Forget smudgy faxes and a phone system that doesn’t route calls to the appropriate person. Tools like MyFax and my1voice assure the communications you’re sending and receiving are just as professional and reliable as corporations with IT departments.

What gives you a big company impression on a small company budget?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How SMB’s Can Look Larger Than Life

Sometimes when you’re a small company it can feel like the whole world is against you. Prospects are unsure of you, vendors treat you like yesterday’s cat litter, and potential employees look at you with a wary eye.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Karen Post at Oddpodz recently posted four suggestions on how to deal with being small, and turn disadvantages into advantages. The only thing I’d add is remember that business communications technology like MyFax, my1voice and Campaigner can also help you get past the “too small” syndrome by making you look larger than life. Since they’re services instead of technology you install, they can also save you hours of frustration by removing the need to manage them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MyFax Podcast #2: Giving Office Technology a “Green” Makeover

“Going green” often has a costly connotation associated with it. But when it comes to examining everyday technology in the office, going green can be easy, and positively impact the bottom line by saving money.

In our second podcast, MyFax Product Marketing Director Luc Vezina chats with president Charlie Szoradi about simple ways businesses can “green” their office technology. Lowering power consumption and paper reduction are easier than you might think!

What simple modifications have you made to green your office operations?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

100 Free Customizable Fax Cover Sheets Now Available for Download

This week we announced a new free resource: 100 free fax cover sheets available at

Cover pages distinguish who you are and to whom you are sending a fax. It’s also a good way to brand yourself with your company logo, website and contact information. This is an easy and free way to add value to your brand without hiring a graphics department or using valuable company letterhead.

The cover pages are available in Microsoft Word format and can be edited and customized. The formats run the gamut - from business to urgent and even fun. There are also cover pages for industries including accounting, bookkeeping, construction, education, finance, legal, medical, nonprofit and real estate. If you are looking for something else, let us know here and we’ll see what we can whip up!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

In case you’re on Jeopardy! and the topic is “faxing”…

Came across this site today as I was doing some competitive research for MyFax and just had to share. It’s a cartoon called “The secret life of the fax machine” that shows both the history and mechanics of faxing. It’s chock full of trivia and explanations about aspects of how fax machines work that you probably never knew. I know I didn’t.

Here’s a good example. Ask most people when the fax machine was invented and they’ll probably tell you “sometime in the 1980s.” ANNNGGGHH! That answer is incorrect. According to the cartoon, the first fax machine was patented in 1843, and the first commercial use was in 1865, going between Paris and Lyon, France. (That venture failed, by the way, as no one at that time seemed to have any business that required that type of urgency.)

The “modern” information is a little outdated since it focuses on the mechanics of old thermal paper fax machines and doesn’t mention the option of Internet faxing at all. Still, if you like watching the History or Discovery channels it’s worth a look. Especially on the off-chance you are ever a contestant on Jeopardy! and one of the topics is faxing.

Anyone care to speculate what information was being sent on those early faxes?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Secure Your Mortgage Rate and Your Personal Information

According to Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, “Newly released housing indicators contain positive signs that the worst may be behind us.” And the National Association of Realtors just announced sales of existing homes rose more than expected in June, so the race to secure a great rate is on, but how secure is the financial information you’re providing?

Remember to securely submit sensitive financial information when applying for your loan. Consider MyFax if you’re sending personal information and signed documents.

MyFax, the world’s fastest-growing Internet fax service, protects against prying eyes around a common area fax machine. When users send a document to a fax machine, it sits there until the person it’s intended for picks it up, or the document is delivered. In the meantime, anyone walking by can see what’s in it. With MyFax, the documents are sent directly to the email of the receiver, maintaining the ultimate level of privacy for financial information.

For those who only occasionally fax, MyFax also offers a free service. MyFax Free allows users to transmit two faxes per day of up to 10 pages without going through the fuss of setting up an account or providing a credit card number. Good luck securely obtaining those rates!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What’s your “can’t live without” technology?

I recently found a new blog: Small Business Center which has a section dedicated to technology. The author writes, “For many professionals, work is a place to go. However for a growing number of professionals work is really what you DO. Not where you are or where you go. When I think of my backpack - it has just about everything I need to be “at work” - wherever I am.” His list includes a laptop with a video camera, wireless broadband and a flip video camera. I wonder if Internet faxing is on his mobile device.

What technology do you always have with you while working?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best Industries (and Tools!) for Starting a New Business

I came across Inc. Magazine’s “The Best Industries for Starting a New Business Right Now” slide show the other day and was happy to see a handful of industries like healthcare, consulting, accounting and green construction on the list. We’ve found those industries are among those that rely heavily on faxing.

Even MyFax’s industry is included on the list: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Since MyFax is available online and doesn’t require any software downloads, it falls under the SaaS category. According to Inc., “Although software spending is expected to increase just 5 percent through 2013, the software-as-a-service niche is forecast to expand by nearly 20 percent annually over the same period, as companies continue to see the benefits of on-demand, flexible applications, according to Gartner, a market-research firm.”

We hope your business is weathering the economic storm. What industry are you in and what Web-based tool helped you start your business?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Business Communications: Back to the Basics

I just learned that Freedom from Fear of Public Speaking Week was July 1-7. Stress and wellness specialist Beverly Beuermann-King has some good public speaking tips: keep it to a few good points, don’t expect perfection and keep the caffeine to a minimum as it’s an additional stressor. If you want people to know about your business, you have to communicate. Speaking is a very effective way to promote your business. Promoting your expertise is a way to build trust and long-term relationships.

Protus, the provider of MyFax, my1voice and Campaigner is all about small business communications. Whether face-to-face or via technologies like phones, faxing and email marketing, one of our goals is to work with small businesses to grow and prosper. What are some of the unique ways you communicate with your customers and clients? What works? What doesn’t?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Our First Podcast! Real Estate Pro Uses MyFax to Gain Edge in Tough Economy

We’re so excited to share the first of many podcasts we’ll be conducting with our Director, Product Marketing and various customers. We hope to inform, educate and give you a peek inside MyFax.

Our first podcast features how Chris Prescott of Coldwell Banker, who uses MyFax to streamline his real estate business operations.

Listen, and let us know what you think of our first run at a podcast, and what topics you’d like to see covered in the future!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Heart of MyFax

Typically we use this blog to share tips and tricks about MyFax and small business communications. Today I’d like to do something a bit different and give you a personal look at all of us at MyFax and at our company Protus.

I am really proud of the people I work with. We provide great products. We all get great satisfaction from hearing this from our customers. But at MyFax, this isn’t all we live for. Our company has chosen to work with the Canadian Cancer Society and its Relay for Life program. We’ve been involved for the past five years, donating time, money and as of this year, sponsorships. This year we raised over $30,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

We began fundraising several weeks prior to the annual 12-hour relay at the Nepean Sportsplex on June 12, 2009. The company raffled off retreats with executives. We paid to throw pies at our bosses and watch the accounting department shave their heads. We had a lot of fun voting with loose change on daily opinion polls that often pitted one department against another. And we held silent auctions, a garage sale, cook-offs and all sorts of other food-related fundraising. As a result, Protus raised the most funds as a team, totaling nearly $150 per employee. In fact my co-worker Pat Risdon raised the most money by an individual for the Ottawa-Nepean community.

Personally, something really struck me this year as we celebrated our efforts at our picnic. Protus has retained its personal approach and commitment to this annual event. This effort started from humble beginnings based on a very personal journey of one employee. Despite our growing size, everyone still embraces the company’s charity of choice as their own. I am really honored to be a part of this professional family. There truly is a heart behind the company.

Relay For Life is a celebration of survival, a tribute to the lives of loved ones and an opportunity to fight back in the battle against cancer. Teams of 10 take turns running, walking or strolling around the track in this non-competitive 12-hour relay. Taking part in this heart-warming event creates a strong community of people striving to reach a common goal – to beat cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society is the largest charitable funder of cancer research in Canada. The funds raised by Relay For Life are used to support life-saving research, provide information on cancer prevention and to offer support services to those living with cancer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Want to reach your doctor? Try faxing!

I originally heard this fact from a customer of ours, but since then I’ve heard it from other sources as well: doctors don’t like to give out their email addresses. They don’t like to give them to hospitals. And they don’t like to give them to patients.

The reason is they’re afraid their inboxes would be inundated with email on a wide variety of subjects – most of which are of no interest to them. For example, it may be good to know that the hospital they’re associated with now has healthier choices in the cafeteria, but they don’t want to see it in their inbox. Same with the change in their pharmaceutical representative – they’ll find that out during the next sales call.

But what happens if they need to receive information on a patient being referred to them? It’s certainly important to know the patient’s history, any medications they’re already taking, any preliminary diagnoses, etc.

Most likely they’re going to receive that information via fax. It’s just the way many doctors prefer to work.

What that means to you is that doctors (or their office staff) check faxes more frequently, and with more interest, than they check email. So if you need to get some information to your doctor, or you want to make sure a message gets the attention it deserves, forget email and instead send a fax. Otherwise your message may do what most of us often do at the doctor’s office – sit around waiting forever.

Have any of you tried contacting your doctor via fax? And if you’re a doctor, has this been your experience too?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The most popular ways for businesses to grow green

Saw this post today while poking around the Internet doing a little research. It quotes a survey performed by looking at what the most popular environmentally-related jobs are. While surveying, they also asked the companies surveyed what green programs they have been latching onto in the last year. A whopping 70 % of those polled said they had taken some measures to go green in the last 12 months.

The top 2 green initiatives had to do with paper use. First was recycling. Of the companies surveyed, 50% said they were now recycling. Right behind that was using less paper, at 45 %.

Now, there’s no doubt that using less paper is a better measure than recycling. After all, there is an environmental “cost” to the recycling process. Put into simple terms, it’s better not to have to print a fax (as with MyFax) than to print it on a fax machine and then recycle the paper. But either is preferable to your faxes winding up in a landfill.

Number 4on the list, by the way, was powering down computers at the end of the day, which 30% of the companies said they’d started doing. That’s one of those cases where convenience and environmental responsibility kind of fight each other.

The reason a lot of people leave their computers on at the end of the day is they don’t want to wait for them to boot up the next morning. We as a society don’t have much patience, and waiting a minute or more for a computer to come seems like an eternity. Yet energy is being wasted every second a computer is running with no one in front of it. All you really need to do to help the planet is get into work one minute earlier, let the computer boot up, and get a cup of coffee or say hi to your co-workers. Is that really so hard?

Of course, anyone who’s even considering turning off their computers at the end of the day to save energy really ought to be looking at replacing their fax machines too. Because they have to be ready to receive at any time, fax machines are always drawing power – 24/7/365. It may not be a lot at a given minute, but over time it adds up.

A MyFax account allows you to eliminate the machine entirely. You send and receive faxes through another device that’s already on – such as that computer you’re powering down at night. As a bonus you also won’t be tossing another machine (and its toxic materials) into the waste stream.

When you really think about it, a MyFax account allows you to comply with 3 of the top 4 most popular green measures. That’s a pretty good deal. Sorry, you’ll have to figure out the lights on your own.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Faxing is still a core technology in healthcare

Here’s something that may surprise you: Despite the impression we’re often given by Hollywood, most doctors and hospitals aren’t using ultra-sophisticated electronic systems with really cool, colorful images to document, manage and share patient information. They’re still using handwritten notes, the phone and faxes.

That’s a fact that is reinforced in this post from The Health Care Blog. In it, author Margarlit Gur-Arie says that doctors currently transfer data everyday using common tools like the phone and fax. While there has been a lot of talk about moving to electronic health records (EHR), so far there’s more talk than movement in a lot of quarters. And a lot of skepticism.

The extensive use of faxing is certainly a reality at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Medical Center. According to MyFax customer Sujit Kar, IT manager for business development and marketing at MUSC, the Medical Center processes 50,000 inbound fax pages and another 10,000 outbound fax pages each month. When you do the math, it adds up to nearly three quarters of a million faxed pages each year!

That’s a lot of information to manage, especially given the stringent requirements of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Mishandling just one of those faxed pages could put MUSC Medical Center at risk of a HIPAA violation, which wouldn’t be good for anyone. In fact, reducing HIPAA violations is one of the major reasons MUSC Medical Center got rid of its fax machines and switched to MyFax. You can read more about it here.

Perhaps someday reality will measure up to Hollywood. Until that time, it’s good to know there are alternatives like MyFax that can protect your information and make the whole process more efficient.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Taxes and Faxes

Yikes! For those of us who dread doing our taxes (and thus put it off as long as we can), it’s coming down to crunch time. The US deadline is April 15, so the pressure is on.

That’s where MyFax comes in handy. If you already have a MyFax account, you can use it to fax over your documents to your tax preparer’s fax machine – a device most still use regularly. A quick fax will get the document(s) in his or her hands so your taxes can be filed on time. Incidentally, faxes are generally considered to be more secure than email anyway!

What if you don’t have a MyFax account? That’s a good reason to try MyFax Free, the no-cost version that allows you to send two faxes of up to 10 pages each per day. Remember, the IRS looks on tardiness about the same way as your third grade teacher did. Get your taxes done now and you won’t have to worry about them for another year. Hopefully!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Out in the Midwest is the city I love best – MyFax is speaking at HIMSS in Chicago!

MyFax’s Director of Global Sales, Dinesh Kandanchatha, will be a featured speaker at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference to be held in Chicago April 4-8. HIMSS is the healthcare industry's membership organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare.

MyFax will also exhibit at the conference and if you’re there please stop by booth #675 and say hello.

Following are details for the event:

What: New Solutions: Fax Evolution for Healthcare IT
IT Healthcare managers are looking to target shrinking healthcare dollars towards mission fulfillment and privacy protection instead of administrative costs. Fax machines and servers sit front and center in this debate. The case will be presented on how a leading hospital evolved their faxing infrastructure significantly reducing their technology costs while enhancing their positions on electronic medical records, patient privacy, and legislative compliance.

When: Sunday, April 5, 4:15 PM - 5:00 PM
Where: McCormick Center, New Solutions, Room 5049

Oh and can anyone name the musical I referenced in the title? Bonus point if you can tell me who played the title role(s)–hint hint- in the movie!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Making Earth Hour last the whole year ‘round

This past weekend was Earth Hour, the annual event sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation where everyone around the world is asked to turn off their lights for one hour to show their support for the planet. While the actual results varied, the point wasn’t really to hit a specific number. It was to get people thinking about ways they can reduce their own carbon footprint and environmental impact on the Earth.

I guess the first question I have is did you participate? Assuming you knew it was going on (due to all the media coverage about it), did you actually turn off your lights at 8:30 PM Saturday night? And if you did, did you leave them off or turn them back on at 9:30? I did participate, and felt pretty good about it.

Still, Earth Hour was largely symbolic. People like events, and being part of a global movement. So my other question is what changes will you make to carry forward the “spirit” of Earth Hour throughout the year?

Hopefully one is to think about your use of lights overall. The easiest change you can make is to follow your Mom’s yells to turn off the lights when you leave a room. While Mom was probably more interested in saving on the family electric bill than saving the planet, it works for both.

You can also think about whether you need to turn on the lights at all – or which lights you turn on. If you’re working or playing in a room with ample natural sunlight, why not leave the lights off? Switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) can also help.

Of course, electricity consumption isn’t just about lights. Another easy thing you can do is turn off your computer when you’re done using it. Sure, it might take an extra minute or so while the computer boots up, but you’ll be making another contribution to the planet. I just saw an article that says half of all office workers still leave their computers powered up when they leave work. Shutting them down is an easy way to help save the planet. You can always get your morning coffee while it boots up.

Then there’s the fax machine. It’s constantly consuming power 24/7, even when it’s not doing anything. In fact, the US EPA says fax machines are the biggest power-wasters among all office equipment, even referring to them as “energy vampires.” Replacing fax machines with a green technology such as MyFax Internet fax service can have a positive effect not only on energy consumption but also on paper consumption and e-waste.

The point is, there are lots of little things we all can do to carry forth the spirit of Earth Hour. If enough of us do enough of them, those little things will add up to a significant impact. Best of all, doing them is pretty painless.

Friday, March 27, 2009

MyFax Introduces Winter ’09 Enhancements

Yesterday we announced our latest enhancements, which include several new features that we feel provide customers with increased productivity. Many of these features are based on MyFax customer feedback representing businesses of every size.

The new MyFax release includes the ability to save commonly faxed documents within MyFaxCentral, (our web-interface). Additionally, contacts to whom a fax is sent can be automatically added to the Contact Book, a feature similar to many email programs. Both of these features save MyFax customers time and increase productivity. Another time-saving feature, intended for customers with larger MyFax deployments, is the ability for account administrators to search and efficiently find users.

MyFax sends and receives faxes using an email account, removing the need for a dedicated phone line and fax machine. The service, which fully integrates with Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus Notes and ACT!, enables users to manage their fax communication and corresponding document management work flow more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional fax servers or fax machines, regardless of physical location.

“These new enhancements make MyFax even more intuitive to use,” said Joseph Nour, CEO of Protus, the provider of MyFax. “We rely extensively on customer feedback for product improvements, and do our best to make sure we give our customers what they want. These enhancements are the latest example of that philosophy in action.”

The top new customer inspired features and enhancements include the ability to:
· Save frequently faxed documents for easy retrieval
· Automatically add new recipients to the Contact Book
· Retrieve context sensitive help at MyFaxCentral
· More efficiently locate users with search functionality on the Admin page
· Generate enhanced activity reports for enterprise customers allowing admins to generate reports by billing code

MyFax offers an uncomplicated price structure. The basic service is $10/month, includes 100 outbound and 200 inbound faxes and one year of fax storage. There is no setup fee and no hidden charges. MyFax pricing is based on usage.

MyFax recently earned its fourth straight #1 ranking Gold Award from TopTenREVIEWS, an Internet publisher of expert technology and entertainment reviews seen by millions of consumers.

Have an enhancement idea for MyFax? I’d love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interesting article on small business and technology

I saw this article the other day on bMighty talking about how technology helps small businesses become more innovative than the larger companies. If you haven’t read it yet it’s really worth a look.

The author, Fredric Paul, was referring to a study that is part of Intuit’s Future of Small Business series. Yes it’s that Intuit – the company that brought you QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Quicken, among other products.

In his article, Paul said that while he liked what Intuit had to say, he didn’t think they put enough emphasis on what technology can do for small businesses. In his mind, technology helps level the playing field between large, well-established businesses and small business. Specifically, he said that technology innovations are now giving small businesses the same tools that once were only available to large businesses. Hmmm, where I have heard that before?

You know we believe that here. It’s our whole reason for being, really. MyFax, my1voice, and Campaigner all make it easier for small businesses to communicate with customers, prospects, business partners, and others, improving efficiency while helping them show a more professional face. They do all of that while being conscious of the budget challenges facing small businesses, too.

One other point I really liked in the article was the statement that technology can actually help small businesses more than large enterprises, because small businesses don’t already have huge investments in legacy hardware and software. When they find a better mousetrap, they can move quickly to take advantage of it.

Your small business may not have the fame and fortune of the large enterprise just yet. But it doesn’t mean you can’t operate that way. There are all kinds of technologies out there that can help you lower your costs, increase your margins, satisfy your customers’ needs, and generally run your business with the best of them. The economy aside, there’s never been a better time to be a small business.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do the neighbors have to know our business?

When I was a kid, we had these neighbors – we’ll call them the Jeffersons – who had a tendency to get into loud arguments. Many of the arguments took place on Saturday mornings in the spring and early summer, when people weren’t quite used to the fact that the windows were now open all the time.

It could be quite entertaining – almost as good as your average Saturday morning cartoon, and sometimes better. They’d be yelling and screaming at each other over some trivial thing or another until finally someone – usually Mrs. Jefferson – would realize what was happening and would shout, “Keep your voice down! Do the neighbors have to know our business?” Then the voices would get a lot more muffled, and we kids would have to find some other way to amuse ourselves, safe in the knowledge that the show would be on again next week.

I’m not sure what made me think of the Jeffersons today. Maybe it was the sweet scent of spring coming in through a window that hasn't been opened in a long time. But thinking about Mrs. Jefferson’s admonition to keep their voices down does remind me of one of the many ways an Internet fax service like MyFax is better than a fax machine.

When you have your latest test results with the doctor’s handwritten notes, or your application for a loan, faxed to a machine in your place of business, that information can wind up sitting in a public area until you pick it up or someone delivers it to you. After all, most fax machines sit where anyone can see what’s on them. Is that really where you want that confidential information to be?

With MyFax, received documents go directly to an individual email account, not a fax machine in a public area. It allows confidential information to remain confidential, helping you keep your business away from the prying eyes of others. Keep in mind that it’s hard to resist learning juicy little tidbits about your co-workers – and even harder to resist sharing what you’ve learned with others. MyFax helps your co-workers avoid both temptations while helping you maintain your privacy.

You may not be able to keep from being the fodder of office gossip forever, but you don’t have to help it along either. Remember the words of Mrs. Jefferson – your co-workers don’t have to know your business. MyFax will help you keep their noses out of it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MyFax Introduces MyFax Free

MyFax now has a new free service for business and individual users who need to send a fax only occasionally. MyFax Free allows users to transmit two faxes per day of up to 10 pages without going through the fuss of setting up an account or providing a credit card number.
“In these difficult economic times, every penny counts,” said Joseph Nour, CEO of Protus, provider of MyFax and MyFax Free. “Yet whether you’re starting a business or ensuring your company is running efficiently you don’t want to give up value. We are committed to offering an option that delivers full quality while easing the cost burden for our users.”

MyFax, the winner of the prestigious Gold Award from “TopTenREVIEWS,” an Internet publisher of expert technology and entertainment reviews used by millions of consumers, is now offering a convenient, no-obligation version of the service. With an Internet connection, users can:
- Send up to two faxes per day
- Fax two 10-page documents plus cover sheet
- Transmit a fax for free to 41 countries around the world
- Use the most popular image and document file types including Microsoft Word, PDF and 175 other file formats
- Use the service without setting up an account
- Avoid using a credit card as there is no cost outlay or monthly service fee

MyFax Free allows users to send faxes electronically via a Web browser. This method helps reduce office expenses by reducing paper use and eliminating the need for a fax machine, toner and dedicated fax line. It also helps organizations reduce energy consumption. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists fax machines at the top of office equipment considered “energy vampires” – equipment that continually consumes power, whether it is in use or not.

In addition to being rated the No. 1 Internet fax service by TopTenREVIEWS in January, MyFax was named a finalist in the Customer Service Management Team of the Year and the Customer Service Department of the Year categories in the third annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

For more information about MyFax Free visit

Friday, March 13, 2009

Can your fax machine do this? #1

Maybe it’s just the latest round of snow making me realize how far away spring really is. Maybe it was watching that pet tricks show the other night. Whatever it is, I had an idea for a new series of posts. I’m calling it “Can your fax machine do this?” In each one, I’m going to lay out something you can do with an Internet fax service, and then ask the title question. Seems like it should be fun. Let me know what you think.

While it’s usually only one person who gets his/her face plastered on the billboards, the sides of cars, and the sign holder in shopping carts, real estate agents often work in teams. While that’s good in a lot of ways, it also presents a challenge: How do you keep everyone on the team up to speed with the latest developments on a transaction? Especially when a fair percentage of the information is being faxed?

If you’re using an Internet fax service such as MyFax, it’s not that difficult because you can usually have several email addresses receive the same fax at the same time. MyFax, for example, allows you to have the same fax sent to five email addresses.

So let’s say you’re a real estate agent and you have a partner and an assistant. If you receive a fax on a machine while you’re out of the office, hopefully your assistant will see it and let you know. But depending on the contents, it still may have to wait until you can get back and see it, or you may have to have your assistant re-fax it to you, which will basically turn it into hieroglyphics. You may then also have to get it in the hands of your partner, creating more potential delays and confusion.

With a MyFax account, however, all three of you can receive the same fax at the same time, even if all three of you are out of the office. As long as you can get an Internet connection you can check your email or log in to MyFaxCentral to see your latest faxes, no matter where you are. You can even forward a fax to someone else if needed. It’s all so clean and simple!

Which begs the title question: Can your fax machine do this? I don’t think so. It’s just one of the many reasons why it’s time to ditch the fax machine and get yourself an Internet fax service account.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fun things to do with faxes

Most articles or posts about faxing (including mine, I’m afraid) tend to look at serious business issues. They talk about increasing productivity, complying with HIPAA or SOX regulations, saving the planet and other heavy-duty topics.

Perhaps I’m just in a whimsical mood today, but I can’t help thinking of the immortal words of the latest iteration of the Joker: “Why so serious?” Faxing isn’t just for business. There are a lot of uses that would fall into the category of fun, too. Here are a few examples.

You can fax recipes from mother to daughter or son instead of having to re-type them. Either recipes out of an old cookbook that’s on a shelf in the kitchen, or perhaps a handwritten recipe that’s been in the family for generations. The nice thing is, if they’re received on MyFax the recipient can store and organize them for quick future reference.

You can participate in office or personal pools more easily. Whether it’s what day Sarah will have the baby or a sports pool (such as the Super Bowl or the NCAA’s March Madness), faxing makes it easy to get your hand-generated picks in.

You can amuse your co-workers. Remember that scene in The Office where Jim sends a fax to Dwight, pretending it’s Dwight from the future telling himself to leave the office immediately or something bad will happen? Odds are you won’t actually get anyone to react like that. But you can break up the day a little and illicit a few laughs.

You can draw an explanation of how something works and send it to the person who’s just not getting it as you explain it over the phone. Sure, you could draw it on the computer and email it too, but unless you do it a lot it’s hard to draw something freehand on a computer. Most of the time it looks like you had too much coffee.

You can fax the floor plans to your new house to an out-of-state friend or relative, either to keep them informed or so you can show how much better you’re doing than he/she is. Everybody has different motivations.

What are your thoughts? How else can you use faxing for fun?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Simple ways to reduce small business expenses

It’s funny how complicated people can make things sometimes. They’ll create elaborate plans that require a lot of work and effort to carry out when often there are simple answers right in front of them.

Take cost-cutting. We all know the economy is tough right now, and everyone is trying to save money wherever they can. Yet many people are missing the most obvious stuff.

Take the lights, for example. When you were young your mom or dad probably told you to turn off the lights when you left a room. Well, that’s still good advice today – especially in conference rooms and other common areas. If no one’s in there, turn off the lights. If there is natural daylight coming in from a window and you can see well enough, turn off the lights. If you’re going out to lunch and your office has a switch, turn off the lights. Every time you do it you’re saving a little money. Do it often enough and it will add up.

The next time you need office supplies, try heading to Sam’s Club, Costco or another warehouse club instead of the local office supply store. You can save some significant cash on your consumable supplies by buying there. Just be sure you need as many of a given item as the clubs will sell you. Paying for eight plastic “in-boxes” and using only one is a waste of money, no matter how much money you saved. On the other hand, if you know other small business owners maybe you can pool your purchasing needs, helping all of you reduce your costs.

Switching from a fax machine to an Internet fax service such as MyFax helps in several ways. It cuts the up-front cost of the machine. It cuts the cost of supplies such as paper and toner. It cuts the phone costs since you don’t need a second phone line. (Don’t forget you pay for maintenance on that second phone line as well as the service.) It cuts your power consumption since you don’t need to have a separate machine that’s left on just in case you receive a fax. And it also cuts some other, less obvious costs, such as file cabinets to store the faxes, space to put the file cabinets in, and the gas you use going to and from the office just to check on your faxes. Add all that up and your savings can be significant.

Finally, try renegotiating the cost of some of the goods and services you’re paying for each month. Remember that you’re not the only business that’s concerned about the economy. Even the big companies are focused on keeping business wherever and however they can. It takes some courage to ask, and you may still be told “no.” But if that’s the answer, you’re no worse off than you were before you asked. If the answer is yes, though, you’re ahead of the game.

Remember, a plan doesn’t have to be elaborate to be good. Do enough of the simple things and you’ll make it through these tough times.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

MyFax wins Gold Award for the Fourth Year in a Row!

That's right, we are very pleased to announce that for the fourth straight year TopTenREVIEWS has named MyFax as their Gold Award winner for Top Internet Fax Service!

Established in 2003, TopTenREVIEWS, an Internet publisher of expert expert product reviews for software and web services conducted performance reviews of more than a dozen competing Internet fax services, before awarding MyFax its “Gold” or No. 1 ranking.

TopTenREVIEWS says MyFax “beats out the competition by offering up to 300 faxed pages per month for $10. In addition, those that prefer Mozilla Firefox can now use this service.”

Moreover, the publisher finds MyFax out performing others by including a “high level of compatibility with many document formats and web browsers. It also accommodates those that need a high level of security with SSL encryption and additional data encryption devices.”

Winning a Gold Award for the fourth straight year “is accomplished through great interaction with and feedback from our thousands of customers,” says Joseph Nour, our CEO. “TopTenREVIEWS contacted us through our live chat service and said our customer service was helpful and quick to respond. Implementing enhancements based on user feedback combined with an excellent customer support team continues to make MyFax a winner.”

Read the full review

Friday, February 06, 2009

MyFax – the backup plan for lawyers moving too fast

In the infamous “perfect world,” lettuce would taste like chocolate, children (and some adults) would come with volume controls, and we’d never rush out of the office leaving important papers behind.

Of course, we all live in the real world where none of that is true. I mean, does anyone really like the taste of lettuce versus tolerate it?

Dinesh Kandanchatha, just returned from speaking at LegalTech New York 2009. He’s heard the stories about lawyers rushing out of the office without important documents, too. It can certainly be embarrassing to show up at a customer’s or partner’s location without the handout you prepared. But it can be a lot more than embarrassing for lawyers. It can be unrecoverable.

Think about it. They spend days preparing their cases – doing research, writing notes in the margins of printouts, maybe even preparing diagrams. Then they grab the wrong folder on their way out the door and suddenly all that work is lost. And unlike the rest of us, who simply have to admit our mistake and beg to reschedule, a lawyer either has to stand in front of a judge and ask for a continuance – never easy under these circumstances, and understanding it could be denied – or wing it. If he/she is lucky, someone from the office can run the papers over during the trial.

Of course, that’s not an issue if the law firm is using MyFax. As long as the courtroom or a nearby area has Internet access or the attorney has a PDA, he/she can call back to the office and have the missing notes faxed over instantly. They’ll show up in all their glory as an attachment, complete with all the handwritten additions. Which means the lawyer will be in a better position to win his/her case.

It’s easy to get overtaken by events sometimes. Fortunately, MyFax makes a great backup plan.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MyFax’s Dinesh Kandanchatha to Speak at LegalTech New York 2009

There is exciting news for us to report that MyFax’s own Dinesh Kandanchatha, will be speaking at LegalTech New York 2009 next week.

Dinesh’s presentation covers how Internet faxing allows confidential documents that require official signatures and rapid transmission to be sent quickly and securely without the need for additional hardware.

What: Dinesh Kandanchatha’s presentation, Addition by Subtraction: Learn How Top Legal Firms are Leveraging Virtual/Digital Fax Technology for Business Rationalization in an Economic Downturn
When: Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Where: LegalTech New York 2009 at the New York Hilton Hotel
Time: 1:30 – 3:30 pm. EST

Dinesh is responsible for leading our global sales initiatives while ensuring customer satisfaction is exceeded and remains unparalleled. His breadth of knowledge extends across all Protus product lines including MyFax, virtual phone service my1voice and email marketing tool Campaigner. Dinesh’s extensive experience includes more than ten years in technical, sales and marketing management. He has an MBA from University of Ottawa and is currently pursuing his Masters in Law from the University of London in Corporate finance and Intellectual property.

Stop by and say hello if you’re at the show.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Faxes to Go

This article, written by Steve Adams, recently appeared in Arizona Homebuilder Magazine.

One of the fun things about watching movies made more than 10 years ago is seeing how the world has changed since the movie premiered. When Beetlejuice runs his TV ad in the movie of the same name, he flashes an "800" number but there's no mention of a website as there would be today. In 1975's "Three Days of the Condor," there isn't a desktop computer in sight despite the fact that Robert Redford works for the tech-savvy CIA. In black and white movies from the 1940s, office workers still contact the operator to make a simple phone call.

Perhaps the most notable thing about many "movie" offices, however, is the way everyone who works for the company works from the building all day, every day. They arrive in the morning at their lush offices, work their 9 to 5 days there and then head home to their families or out for cocktails with their colleagues.
The world has certainly changed since then. We have always been a mobile society outside of work but now that inclination permeates the workplace as well. The central office has given way to mobile workers who work from home, and the mantra of "hiring talent where it lives" rather than relying on proximity to the office is quickly becoming core practice.

Technology has enabled this far more distributed workforce. Cheap and abundant mobile phones have made workers reachable just about anywhere in North America, and the Internet and email have extended that reach to just about anywhere in the world. Yet, in the midst of it all, like a bug in a salt shaker, is the immobile fax machine.

The Fax Dilemma
Before you start thinking it doesn't matter because faxing has gone the way of the company phone operator, you should know that, according to analyst group, IDC, there were more faxed pages in 2007 than in any previous year. Despite email, texting, IMs and all other technological marvels of our age, faxing still remains the communications medium of choice for contracts, work orders and any other paperwork that requires signatures or handwritten notes. In fact, in industries such as building and construction, it is still the primary means of sending official documents.

Hence, the dilemma: The building industry workforce is mobile, but the means of communication is not. This means that non office-based workers who need to read, send or respond to faxes either have to make a special trip to the office to pick them up, have documents re-faxed to them from the central office to another location or have someone else read the faxes to them and then dictate responses. None of which is very conducive to efficiency.

Internet fax service is the option that is bringing this older but still necessary practice into the present and in line with mobile business practices. An internet fax service gives users the capability of sending and receiving faxes wherever they happen to be as long as they an Internet connection.
If a homebuilder is off-site for the day and using a traditional fax machine, the paperwork is sent to the central office where it must wait until he returns at the end of a busy day. If there is a problem, the amended fax is sent back and the process starts again. Depending on the complexity, an entire day or even two could be lost.

With an internet fax service, however, the homebuilder or other mobile staff member receives an email notification and preview on his or her Blackberry. He can then quickly look over the fax, write up any changes or amendments as a cover note, forward them to an assistant, and have the entire process completed in minutes. It's a big advantage that saves time and helps drive efficiency-which drives revenue.

Internet fax services are simple to use. The user signs up online and is assigned either a local or toll-free telephone number. Once you're up and running, you can send and receive faxes through your email account, a secure online server or both. As long as you have an Internet connection, your fax capabilities are operational whether you're at home, on a job site or stopping for coffee.

Benefits and Options
Some companies try to work around the static nature of the fax machine by sending faxes from or having them sent to a local quick print shop or other service supplier. At a typical rate of $3 per page, that can add up. If you send or receive more than a few pages per month, an internet fax service will usually cost less. And there's no waiting in line while three people ahead of you try to decide what color paper to use for their lost dog flyers.

Different services offer different types of internet faxing options. For example, some allow you to have the same fax sent to multiple email accounts. This is great for people who are working as part of a team or with an administrative assistant (virtual or otherwise) because everyone involved can receive the fax without additional forwarding. Receiving email notifications allows you to know instantly when a fax has arrived, and having a preview option means you can look at the fax quickly to determine its contents and decide whether it needs to be opened immediately or can wait until later.

Another great option is online storage of sent and received faxes. This feature is ideal for users who suddenly need to access an older fax or who lose their original electronic copy without making a backup. Of course, receiving faxes electronically also means you can easily carry every fax with you on your laptop, so the information you need is always at your fingertips.

In our increasingly mobile and geographically distributed society, it just doesn't make sense to have all you important faxes tied to a single location. When you're looking at your next fax solution, simply say, "I'll take mine to go."