I don’t often write blogs about software but every now and then a company stands out and deserves to be recognized. This time I came across two great companies and products in a single project.
Over the past couple of weeks we began to transition from an online fax service to a fax machine and a fax server in our office. We had had problems getting our faxes from time-to-time so we either had to find a new online service or bring it back in-house. The goals were to remain paperless, retain functionality, and have no increase in cost.
The Brother 7820N can be used as a traditional paper fax machine or a paperless fax using Brother’s PC-FAX software. We had an old laptop so we loaded it with a fresh copy of Windows XP Pro, PC-FAX, and we had a nice little paperless fax server up and running. Remain Paperless, Check!
With an online fax service you typically get your emails via email in PDF format. We were able purchase Follow Me Fax which can convert the TIF format from the Brother into a PDF and send it out via email. We soon discovered that the TIFs produced by the Brother fax machine have a flaw that prevents the PDF engine in Follow Me Fax from producing a PDF file.
EDocFile, the software developer, was responsive and we were able to troubleshoot the issue. While they could not solve the ability to make PDF issues (it’s a Brother issue), they did update Follow Me Fax to deal with the odd files names produced by the Brother fax machine. The good news is we are able to forward the emails as multi-page TIF files.
The only downside to TIF files was that we would not be able to view faxes on our iPhones. We’re mobile quite a bit and the ability to view faxes on the road was a capability we wanted to retain.
In my quest for a solution, I came across Fax Reader by SmallTalk Consulting. Fax Reader is an application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod that was designed to read multi-page TIF files. I quickly purchased a copy on iTunes and installed it on my iPhone.
I had problems getting it to work and dropped the developer an email at 2 in the morning. I was really surprised to get a response within a few minutes. We exchanged emails and determined that I had failed to allow Location Services to be active in the software. I made one quick change to the Location Services settings and we were up and running. Retain Functionality, Check!
We will be terminating the online fax service saving about $15 a month. We’re porting the number to our fax machine in the office at a cost of $2 per month. Follow Me Fax was $99 and Fax Reader was $3.99. We were able to reduce our costs by $13 a month with an upfront investment of $103. The project pays for itself in 8 months. No Increase in Cost, Check.
The developer of Fax Reader has given me five Promo Codes for a free thirty-day trial. Email me if you would like one of them.