Did Twilio Just Modernize the Fax Machine with an API?

Twilio has launched a Beta version of its Programmable Fax API. As strange as it sounds, Twilio's latest API modernizes fax machine communication. From any integrated app, Twilio can send and receive faxes between an application and a fax machine. While fax machines seem like a technology of the past, many businesses continue to rely on fax machines on a daily business and Twilio's latest release helps streamline communication with such businesses.

"Softare is flexible," Twilio's Kyle Kelly-Yahner commented in a blog post announcement. "We've grown accustomed to bending it in and around obstacles to solve problems. Fax, like most legacy hardware, couldn't bend the same way as software. With this [Programmable Fax API] release, fax becomes a great deal more flexible."

Whether its healthcare, law firms, or even small pizza joints, many business continue to require fax communications for various transactions (e.g. medical records, court documents, food orders, etc.). Twilio's latest API helps connect modern applications to legacy fax machines. Any app that is integrated with the API can send a PDF to Twilio's API, which is then sent to the targeted fax machine for print delivery. On the flip side, a fax user can fax a document to an app by entering the user's Twilio phone number, and the app will receive an electronic version of the document scanned and faxed from the fax machine.

A fax is sent with a simple POST request to Twilio. Users must include the fax-enabled Twilio number, the recipient (i.e. target fax machine number), and the URL of the desired media. With these three steps, a programmatic fax is born. To fax-enable a Twilio number, simply select fax capability on the drop-down menu and a Twilio number can receive faxes. All Fax API users need to is include the URL chosen in the "When A Fax Comes In" field. To learn more, visit the API docs.

Fax is certainly legacy technology, but that doesn't mean it's going away. Accordingly, Twilio is meeting the business base where it currently lives and streamlining the ability for app-based businesses to easily communicate with those continuing to operate with fax machines. Faxes start as low as $0.02 per page and Twilio keeps both sent and received faxes for 180 days. Check out code-specific examples at the Fax API site.

Eric Carter Eric the founder of Dartsand and Corporate Counsel for a specialty technology distributor. He is a frequent contributor to technology media outlets and also serves as primary legal counsel for multiple startups in the Real Estate, Virtual Assistant, and Software Development Industries. Follow me on Google+

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