When you make the switch to cloud-based communication solutions, you do it with an eye to the future. But that shouldn't mean you ignore the past. The fax was a vital tool for business communication for many years, and there are still organizations that rely heavily on it. If you don’t have a way to send and receive fax messages, you miss out on crucial business communications.

You know the cost of broken communication with clients, customers and partners. You’re probably already looking for an easy solution to send and receive fax without the burden of an extra bulky and undependable machine.

Here’s how to integrate fax with your unified messaging system.

Unified Communication and Fax Integration

Let’s take a look at the technology that powers the integration between unified messaging and faxing. How can fax and unified messaging come together to enhance your communications?

What Is Fax?

In case you’re too young to remember, facsimile, or “fax” as it’s more commonly referred to, is a system where pages are scanned into a fax machine on one end. They are then transmitted over a line to another location with a dedicated fax number of its own.

Traditionally, this is done through a telephone line. Upon document arrival to the recipient, a printer or fax machine delivers a copy of the document(s). The quality of the printout is variable. At one time, the fax was a notably popular and useful way to move documents from one location to another. Times change and with the advent of the internet, the technology fell out of favor.

But fax has never completely disappeared.

What Is Unified Messaging?

Simply put, a unified messaging service (UMS) is a system whereby many types of communication such as voice, text and fax can be accessed from a single mailbox. UMS can either be accessed by email, phone or cross-device app. Today, this is, by far, a more popular solution than fax.

Among other things, it allows you to:

  • Listen to your voicemails from any device
  • Access fax through email
  • Connect your communication accounts to receive all messages in one dashboard

Fax Through a Unified Communications Service

So how does a unified communications service implement a fax system? When you send a fax over IP instead of a phone line, the image data is transmitted as packets through the public internet. By using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) instead of the public phone network, you save money on long-distance charges.

In addition, the integrity of the system is maintained as the data is transmitted from within the unified communications dashboard.

Fax via Email

Yes, you can send a fax via email. While there are still consumers using the fax-to-fax service, it's more likely that you’ll use email to send a fax. In fact, email-to-fax is more convenient, faster and more reliable.

If your company already has a unified messaging system, a document can easily be faxed directly to an email address. In that instance, an alert pops up via the email interface and all you need to do is click the link in the email.

Alternatively, log in to your UC dashboard and the fax will be there for you to print or download. If you want to send a fax, then you simply log in, type in the fax number, attach the document or file and send it off to the customer.

Faxing has never been easier with unified messaging.

Key Benefits of Using Unified Messaging for Fax

There are many solid reasons why you should consider moving all faxing operations into your unified messaging system. In this way, a fax system works alongside your instant messaging, voicemail, ring groups, virtual office meetings and all the other aspects of a trusted unified messaging setup.

Here are a few of the main points to consider for integrating fax into your UMS:

  • No document size ceilings: With UMS, there are no fax size limits. You can also send several documents in the same fax. All you need to do is add multiple attachments.
  • Easily customizable: Create a customized fax cover sheet with your branding, details and company information.
  • No fax amount limits: Send and receive an unlimited number of online faxes.
  • Unlimited archive abilities: View, share, download or delete sent and received faxes—all from the same dashboard.
  • Simple integration with email: Email incorporation allows you to click a link to instantly view, print or save your fax.
  • Real-time monitoring: Track your fax status in real time. You can always see whether a fax is pending, failed or sent.
  • Inter-device operability: You can access, send and receive documents from nearly any device, anywhere in the world.

The advantages of integrated faxing capabilities in your unified messaging platform are notable and abundant. In short, this is the most convenient, fastest and most reliable option to send and receive fax messages.

[*Start Knowledge Box.]

Know the Limitations of Using Fax With VoIP

While the benefits are plentiful, every option has disadvantages. There are industrywide limitations to using fax via VoIP. And it's crucial that you are aware of them. The limitations are technology-based. These are:

Nothing Is Foolproof

Several VoIP companies, including 8x8, use the T.38 standard for sending faxes over the internet. Although this standard promises “heightened reliability,” that is open to interpretation. Delivery rates are generally better with VoIP than traditional fax. Still, 100% reliability can’t be maintained with any technology.

Your Connection Counts

When sending and receiving fax over VoIP, a high-speed internet connection is crucial. So even though technology allows access to your communications from nearly anywhere in the world, you will need a good WiFi connection to leverage it.

If you must run your operations using a slow (satellite, dial-up, etc.) internet provider, you will not experience the speed and dependability the system boasts.

Your Viewing Device Must Have PDF-Reading Capabilities

A VoIP fax system will, in nearly every instance, convert your document into PDF format for easy delivery. You need to be aware of this and ensure that your device is PDF-capable. Most modern devices come standard with a PDF reader, so this isn’t normally an issue.

But if you happen to be working with a device from the late ’90s, you can run into issues. The solution is to either upgrade your hardware or update your software before you can reap the rewards of fax via unified messaging.

[*End Knowledge Box.]

Integrate Unified Messaging With Fax via 8x8

At the end of the day, there is simply no reason to treat faxing differently from your other messaging functions. It may be an out-of-date technology, but it is simple to integrate faxing into your streamlined, user-friendly VoIP system.

Monitor and manage your system with no fuss or hassle.

8x8 Unified Messaging Features

8x8 is a leader in unified communications. Here are some of the amazing features that you can leverage today:

  • Cloud-based technology: Host your communications in the cloud to keep your server space-free for other business operations. Access your documents and messages from anywhere.
  • Integration with existing communication channels: Move between your favorite channels easily from one dashboard. Integrate a call center or social media messages.
  • Scalable: The platform is designed with small businesses in mind. As your organization evolves, so will your communication strategy. The system will grow with your business and expand with you every step of the way.
  • Easy to operate: The solution is quick to launch and simple to navigate. Customize your home screen with the tools you use most and streamline your operations.
  • Cost-effective: With 8x8’s technology, you can save 50% or more on costs. Increase your cash flow and free your finances so you can use part of your communication budget somewhere else.
  • Team messaging: Enable your team to communicate easily with the built-in team messaging system. Internal and external communications can be kept separate but accessed in one place.
  • Web conferencing: Use web conferencing tools to cast organization-wide meetings with up to 100 participants. Combine them with your unified messaging strategy.
  • Exceptional customer service: Communicate with your customers and clients anytime, anywhere without opening multiple apps, websites and platforms to make it happen.

Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Unified Communications platform, your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

Related Topics

Unified Communications

Unified Messaging

Unified Messaging Architecture

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