How to add the WestFax API into your enterprise application

You have your enterprise application coded but you need to be able to send faxes occasionally. Sure, you could just generate a PDF, Print it off and then fax it. But with just a few lines of code you can integrate faxing into your application. Here are some simple instructions to get your application fax enabled. In this article we will show you how to send a fax.

Here is what you need:

  1. We will assume you are using a relatively modern development framework. PHP, React, .Net, etc…
  2. We recommend you use a tool like Postman (Free and available on all platforms) to test your API’s and generate the code.
  3. Developer API account. Easy to sign up and get started immediately.

The WestFax API is comprised of a large set of methods that are exposed using a RESTful interface. Data can be interchanged in a number of formats including JSON and XML. Additionally, WestFax offers SOAP and RPC bindings that are described elsewhere. For the purposes of this demo the REST interface with JSON encoding is used.

  1. Get the sample code for Postman. Link here.
  2. Click Download or Fork it to your local repo.
  3. Once you have the local files you should see two Json Files: WestFaxApi_Postman_collection.json and WestFaxApiEnvironment.postman_environment.json
  4. Open Postman and create a new Request. You can call it whatever you want to call it but we will use WestFax.
  5. Now go click the File -> Import command.
  6. Drag or select  the two Json Files from the code you downloaded earlier and click import.
  7. You will see it quickly import and you will have 23 requests in your new WestFax Collection.
  8. Now look at the top right corner of postman. You should see a drop down and an “eye” icon and a gear icon.
    Select the Dropdown to select “WestFaxApiEnvironment” and then click the Eye icon.
  9. You will now see a bunch of pre-defined variables. You will want to change these by clicking Edit.
  10. Change the default values to the ones you received when you signed up for API access.
  11. Now let’s go test to make sure we are connecting ok and getting a response from the server. On the left menu under “23 requests” select the “Security_Ping”. Go ahead and click the blue “SEND” button.
  12. You should see something like this come back from the API. If not please feel free to contact us for support.
  13. Now let’s try to send a fax. If you have an incoming number attached to your account you can use that or any other fax number. You can also use the well known HP Faxback test number at 1-888-473-2963. They will fax you back that they received your fax usually within 5 minutes.
  14. So click the Fax_SendFax method on the left and you will see this for your Body setup.
  15. The {{Orange}} values are filled in from the config you already set so you can ignore those. The values you need to set are the Numbers1, Files0 fields. The rest are optional and you can unclick them if you want. Although adding a FeedbackEmail value is useful to get confirmation of the fax sending. Once you set all these variables go ahead and click send.
  16. You should see a result code of True and a hash string with the confirmation code.
  17. Ok, so here is a neat trick that Postman give us. You can get all your code done for you. Just click the button “Code”. It’s kind of buried near the Send button next to cookies.
  18. Now when you click code you will get formatted code for almost any programming language you may need:

Success! As you can see it’s not hard at all to add Faxing to your Enterprise application. If you have questions or need more help please reach out to us at 800-473-6208 or contact us via email.

 

When you fax machine dies… How to get digital quick!

So the old fax machine bit the dust. What to do now? Do you run to the store to buy a replacement or maybe this is a great time to go digital finally.

First things first. We need to make sure you are still able to receive faxes.

  1. Sign up for a free trial for online faxing. Pick any number because it won’t matter once you port your number.
  2. Contact your phone provider (the company you are paying for your fax land line) and have them forward your number to the new fax number.
  3. Fill out a Port request form and have your online fax provider port your old fax number to the online service.

Porting your number is pretty quick. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two. Now all of your faxing is in the cloud and you can cancel your land-line, get rid of your old fax machine (remember to dispose of it greenly) and enjoy the flexibility, security and reliability of your online fax service.

WestFax offers a 10 day free trial so give it a try. We are positive you will never go back to a fax machine again.

 

4 Reasons to you need an online fax service

If you have worked in an office that utilizes faxes we all have that love / hate with our fax machines. Whether it is a trusty old machine that never fails or some fancy copier integrated fax that, despite it being brand new, still suffers failures and odd error codes and at times you want to bash it to pieces out in the parking lot during a smoke break. We have been there.

It might be time to move on to something better. Online Faxing.

Here are 3 reasons it makes sense to make the switch:

  1. Money. plain and simple. Fax machines need toner, paper, occasional replacement and a dedicated phone line. This adds up depending on your usage. $100’s a month just to keep that machine working.
  2. Security. A physical fax machine can be a security risk as anyone with access to it can see incoming and outgoing faxes. Online faxing is much more secure and faxes can be specifically routed to any individual or group that needs it.
  3. Convenience and availability. Being able to send / receive and manage faxes using any computer or mobile device makes managing your faxing much easier. No longer are you bound to the office. One can receive and send a fax from any device.
  4. Enhanced workflow. With online faxing such as WestFax you can route incoming faxes to certain individuals or group email boxes. With the FaxForward functionality you can allow anyone in your organization to send a fax as easily as sending and email. No more having to fill out cover letters and printing off documents. Just attach the document in the email and send it. Easy and no need to deal with busy signals or hardware issues.

Regardless of the reason your fax machine will eventually break and the time and money spent on paper, ink and the landline cost

5 Benefits of Cloud Fax for medical offices

How can you be sure that patient records are secure? Is someone monitoring the fax machine 24/7? HIPAA requirements are clear and fines for non-compliance are steep. Fax is still the best way to securely transfer patient records, but not with a traditional fax machine. Smart medical offices managers are making the switch to cloud based fax solutions and it’s easier than you may think.

5 Time Saving Tools for your phone to maximize productivity.

We are a mobile addicted population and we have no intent on trying to change  that habit but we do have some ideas to optimize your use of the portable computer you carry around with you all day.

Here are 5 time saving tools for your smartphone.

Forest

For those people that pick up their phone every-time it bings, bleeps or squawks comes a tool that rewards you if you stay off it. You set a timer (usually 25 minutes aka Pomodoro technique) and if you leave it alone your virtual tree grows. After a week you can see your “Forest” of trees and see your Forest of productivity visualized by all the trees. This writer personally enjoyed this app and found it a little addicting to leave the phone alone.


WestFax Mobile Fax

Sometimes you just need to receive a fax. Faxing is still alive and well, particularly in the world of medicine. HIPAA laws require your doctor to use a secure document transport method to send your medical records. Fax is the answer. But not the old thermal paper type of fax. WestFax provides a mobile app that allows you to send, receive and store your medical records securely from your smartphone. Just download the app in the Google Play or App store.


Scanbot

This tool can be used with the WestFax Mobile app to capture documents, clean them up, crop them and make them into documents that can be faxed. Just point and click and the app will import the document and give you something you send via email or fax.


Google Keep

This little app just sneaks it’s way onto your phone the last few years. It’s surprising minimalist for a Google app and it looks like something they just bought, branded and released to the world. If you need to take a quick note, make a list or jot down an idea this app is perfect. You just open it and start typing. It organizes it like post it notes all laid out and easy to access. It’s simplicity is it’s best feature.


Buffer

Social media used to be a small passive activity usually performed by the intern or whoever had time. In recent years Social media can and will make or break a company. Organizations now hire an Social media staff to handle these functions but not all businesses can afford a full time social media manager. Buffer is a tool that enables a small business to create a large number of social media posts and schedule them over the week on a schedule. This allows a small business to spend an hour or two and get all the social media done and forget about it until next week.

5 Benefits of Cloud Fax for medical offices

How can you be sure that patient records are secure? Is someone monitoring the fax machine 24/7? HIPAA requirements are clear and fines for non-compliance are steep. Fax is still the best way to securely transfer patient records, but not with a traditional fax machine. Smart medical offices managers are making the switch to cloud based fax solutions and it’s easier than you may think.

5 Benefits of Cloud Fax for Medical Offices.

The fax machine as an office appliance is outdated, unsecure and a complete waste of time and money. How can you be sure that patient records are secure? Is someone monitoring the fax machine 24/7? HIPAA requirements are clear and fines for non-compliance are steep. Fax is still the best way to securely transfer patient records, but not with a traditional fax machine. Smart medical offices managers are making the switch to cloud based fax solutions and it’s easier than you may think.

Here are 5 benefits of making the switch today.

  1. Get rid of that old phone line. With the introduction of VoIP based phone systems the orphaned fax line has become an expensive proposition. Many phone carriers don’t even offer a suitable solution for your fax machine. If they do offer a standalone telephone line the technology used makes sending and receiving fax very difficult. The time wasted chasing down faxes that don’t go through can make you crazy.
  2. Cloud based fax solutions are much more secure. You only print the records you need, if you even need to print them at all. The ePHI documents you send are receive are stored securely waiting for you when you need them. Notifications can be sent via e-mail so you know when a fax is received.
  3. HIPAA compliance is much easier. If you do a HIPAA compliance audit you’ll find your unattended fax machine may put you in some serious hot water. Can the night time cleaning crew view your inbound faxes?
  4. Storage. Most cloud based fax providers offer document storage that enables you to refer back to patient records or integrate with your practice management software. This is a huge benefit for busy medical practices.
  5. Mobile apps. Imagine viewing a secure patient record on the golf course or at your child’s sporting event. Cloud fax providers usually have mobile apps that allow you to do just that.

Now is the time to make the switch. WestFax offers a 60 day FREE trial.
 Sign up today!

The IRS uses fax because it’s secure.

The IRS gets flack for a lot of reasons but one recent article regarding the IRS use of fax machines is misleading. Yes, everyone knows that old physical fax machines are dated and the migration of many legacy machines to newer Fax to Email services are commonplace but the IRS still utilizes fax technology because it just works and is more secure. Whereas emails can get stuck in spam filters or never make it there because of a mistyped email address, fax provides a confirmation and security that email cannot easily mimic.

Fax is more secure by design.

Email’s can be intercepted, injected and loaded with malware in transit whereas the technology level needed to intercept a fax communication and alter or change it would be tremendously difficult and thus is not an active target by criminals and hackers.

Faxing and the IRS

Should you be audited or the IRS requires more information from you to process your return you are far safer faxing that information to the IRS vs emailing it or using postal mail. If you value your privacy then utilizing Fax services will prevent snooping by hackers of sensitive financial and legal information. Email’s, unless manually encrypted, can be intercepted. If someone were to try to intercept a fax transmission they would mostly see just static noise.

This is why HIPAA (Medical document handling regulations) favor fax over email. Until email and online solutions up their game and provide better security; fax is here to stay.

Need to send a fax now? Take advantage of two free months of Fax to Email service and your own private toll free number!

Fax Broadcast vs. E-mail Broadcast

Smart companies have been using fax broadcast marketing for decades. A fax broadcast is one of the only business communication formats that enables B2B marketers to immediately communicate a marketing message and confirm immediate delivery. Since most businesses use e-mail broadcast marketing it’s important to compare the two in one very important category, open rates.

Fax Broadcast open rates = 90%
This is a fairly simple concept when it comes to fax broadcast marketing. In many cases a device in the office actually audibly rings then prints out an opened marketing message. For fax users with a fax to e-mail service the user gets a notification and then opens the attachment, but since they receive important fax messages from multiple senders the e-mail is passed through spam filters and delivered to the fax recipient unfiltered. This fax broadcast process enables companies to communicate to customers with open rates well above 90%.

E-mail Broadcast open rates = 22%
MailChimp is one of the most widely used e-mail broadcast service providers. MailChimp sends billions of e-mails per month for about 15 million customers worldwide, so needless to say they have a lot of data. According to that data they published a report on open rates. Here are the findings (src).

You will see an average open rate of only 21.59%. That means 78% of the potential customers you are trying to send a marketing message to don’t even open the e-mail! Imagine all that hard work and time spent crafting the e-mail, making sure the links work, making sure the message is mobile platform compatible only to find that 78% of recipients won’t even open your e-mail. That’s frustrating!

Here’s an idea. Try a Fax Broadcast in addition to your e-mail broadcast. You can even use the fax message to tease your e-mail to try to get that open rate up a few percentage points.

See you at the fax machine.

Barry Clark

Barry Clark