RingCentral Takes Fax Online, Makes it Mobile

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

RingCentral Takes Fax Online, Makes it Mobile

If you’re like me—someone who’s used to the speed and ease of email—faxing documents can seem like an unbearable hassle. Create document. Print document. Look up phone number. Walk to fax machine. Feed paper into fax machine, dial number. Listen to chirpy tones. Wait for fax to send. Wait for confirmation to print.
The situation often isn’t much better on the receiving end. In that case, I have to make sure the fax machine is on, the phone line is free, paper and toner are topped off. Then, I have to make sure I’m present when fax comes in, or risk having to go hunting around the office to see if someone accidentally picked up the fax I was expecting.
Surely there must be a better way. Turns out, actually, that there is: faxing has now gone online. I recently when I had a chance to try out RingCentral Fax that online fax is lot more like email and a lot less like fax, than you might expect (although Web-based fax services do, of course, send to and receive from traditional fax machines).
I also found out that, compared to the price of maintaining and using a traditional fax machine, online fax is actually very affordable. How affordable? For RingCentral Fax, an annual service plan is available for $49.99 per month, which gives you 2,500 ‘free’ pages (that comes out to 1.9 cents per page; it’s 3.9 cents per page thereafter). You also get free fax software for sending and receiving faxes right on your computer, and free transfer of an existing 800 number.
That seems like a pretty good deal for a small business, the market RingCentral aims for with its fax service.
I gave RingCentral Fax a whirl and found it easy to use, with a familiar, email-like Web interface for sending and receiving faxes (can also send/receive using included desktop software, and send from within Office apps). One feature I definitely appreciated was a choice of 13 different cover page styles (I went with Contempo).
I was also really impressed by the fact that you can import contacts to your Web account from a .csv file (in most cases, you can export email client contacts to a .csv file, meaning you could port your entire Outlook address book to RingCentral Fax).
It took about five minutes for my test fax to send, be received on the other end, and for confirmation to come back. I really liked the fact that confirmation is automatic, so I didn’t have to stand around waiting for a receipt to print. I got up to get a drink of water, and when I came back I had been notified of fax being sent three ways: email notification, alert in the Call Controller menu, and as an Inbox message in my RingCentral online account. I didn’t have to wonder if the fax was sent; the system let me know.
What does all this have to do with mobility, though? Well, although I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet for myself, my contact at RingCentral told me that the service isn’t just intended for use with a desktop computer. It also lets you receive faxes on your PDA or smartphone, and get text alerts on your mobile or PDA when new faxes come in. RingCentral additionally lets you set up a toll free or local fax number, so you can send and receive faxes to and from any computer in the world. That means you don’t have to wait till you get back to the office to fax; you could take care of business right from your laptop.
Overall, this being my first experience with online fax, I was duly impressed with RingCentral Fax. You can read my full review of the product here. Give it a whirl for yourself with a free trial: http://www.ringcentral.com/fax.

Feedback for RingCentral Takes Fax Online, Makes it Mobile

1 Comment

I, too, use RingCentral's Virtual PBX (for a non-Internet business) and it's worked well for me in spades. I have yet to try out the faxing though, thanks for the tip.