There are those who say that with e-mail prevalence, fax is dead ï¿½ but we
say fax has merely evolved in keeping with the technological times. Internet
fax is fast becoming a popular method of transmitting documents to fax
machines that retain the look of the original document, including any
graphics. An advantage that fax has over e-mail is that faxes are still
considered legally-binding documents. You canï¿½t for example e-mail mortgage
papers over to your attorney or even sign documents, scan them into your
computer and e-mail the scanned image. Well you could, but technically itï¿½s
not a legally binding document. Venaliï¿½s Internet Fax Desktop Solutions is
one of the leading Internet fax offerings that features e-mail-to-fax,
fax-to-e-mail, and even Web-to-fax capabilities.
First we tested fax-to-e-mail. We simple sent a fax the old fashioned way
(a fax machine) to our Venali fax number and ï¿½voila!ï¿½ the fax appeared in
our inbox just a few moments later in TIF format (PDF also supported). Next,
we tested e-mail-to-fax. Whatï¿½s nice about the Venali solution is you donï¿½t
require a special fax printer driver or a proprietary client. Instead, you
simply use your e-mail client as your faxing interface. This is great for IT
administrators that may have to deploy the Venali solution on hundreds of
desktops since no installation is required. In any event, all we had to do
to send a fax was type ï¿½<fax number>@venali.netï¿½ in the To: field, attach a
document or simply type a message in the body of the e-mail, and finally
click the e-mail ï¿½Sendï¿½ button. The e-mail is routed to Venaliï¿½s
highly-scalable and redundant network where the fax is first rendered and
then sent out to its destination. Venali supports most document formats
including MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat PDF, Plain Text,
RTF, TIFF (Groups 3 and 4), Adobe Postscript (Apple Laser Writer Plus),
HTML, ASCII Files, PCL5, VSD, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, PCX, DCX, and compressed
documents/attachments (Win Zip). We should also mention that due to Venaliï¿½s
highly scalable network, you never have to worry about your fax number being
busy, even if multiple faxes are being sent to your fax number!
Venali supports Office 2003 integration to allow users to send faxes from
any office application by selecting ï¿½File ï¿½> Send to ï¿½> Recipient Using
Internet Fax Serviceï¿½. We tested this feature and it works quite well. We
simply used this ï¿½File, Send to...ï¿½ feature and our e-mail client popped up
allowing us to type in the recipient fax number, add a cover sheet, etc.
Another option is Venaliï¿½s Internet Fax for Windows ï¿½ a plug-in for the
Microsoft fax service, that allows you to use the Microsoft fax client (the
printer driver that is part of this) along with the Venali Network for fax
delivery. Job submission is done via XML over HTTP. Venali Account
Management Center which is browser-based provides real-time monitoring and
reporting for both administration and users to view fax traffic online. You
can search for faxes by number, by area code, by date range, and more.
Other features include: Integration with Office Document Imaging (and the
built in OCR engine), full tablet PC support, cost calculation within the
Outlook fax send screen and automatic ï¿½junkfaxï¿½ filter support. Venali has
collected over three million junk faxes to build their junkfax filter. They
told us itï¿½s a patent pending technology that evaluates if a fax is spam.
Received faxes that are identified as spam are then marked as such and local
rules or local spam filters are used to deal with them (like auto-delete,
move to special folder, and the like).
ï¿½ Send faxes privately and securely to multiple recipients as an e-mail.
ï¿½ Security fax tokens ensure the validity and authentication of each
ï¿½ Calculate the cost of sending your fax.
ï¿½ Eliminate the hassles of manual fax such as printing and scanning
ï¿½ Confidential and urgent documents are delivered securely in your e-mail
inbox for personal and easy access.
ï¿½ Receive multiple faxes simultaneously ï¿½ your inbound number is never busy.
ï¿½ Select an individual inbound fax number from 175+ locations to receive
faxes directly into your inbox as an e-mail.
ï¿½ Messages are stored in your e-mail client for convenient access.
ï¿½ Web-based Management and Reporting Tools.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Our only suggestion would be to have easier mass-faxing support. Sure, we
could use Microsoft Wordï¿½s mail-merge feature and then write some VBA
macros, but we feel there should be something more intuitive and easier to
Venali offers enterprises the opportunity to sign-up for services with a
free 30-day evaluation account, so it certainly doesnï¿½t hurt to try it out.
Overall, TMC Labs was quite pleased with Venaliï¿½s solution which was not
only very easy to use but it has some pretty powerful features and we would
not hesitate to recommend it.
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