For business purposes I need a contact phone and FAX number, but I don't want to have the cost and equipment requirements of a separate phone line. Given that I'm creating a virtual office, I figured there must be inexpensive and flexible ways of setting up a business phone system.
Google to the rescue, again!
Actually there are lots and lots of options available with different pricing schemes and features, but given that I'm using Google for business e-mail and document sharing, and Google Voice is free, it's a natural fit:
It's a little awkward to call from - it requires you to enter the number you want to call and which phone you want to call from and then it calls both and connects the two, but it's freakin' awesome as an incoming voice message system. You can route your virtual number to any phone you want, and if it goes to voice-mail, Google will take a message, transcribe it to text, and send the message to you via SMS and e-mail.
So, now that voice is taken care of, I need a solution for FAX. Again, there are lots of options available, but given that I plan to use e-mail for most outbound communication and FAX only for receiving signed license documents, OneSuite turns out to be a good option:
You have to create an account and "charge" it with $10, but once you do that, you can activate a FAX number for unlimited incoming transmissions for $1/month. If you want outgoing FAX capability, or want the incoming FAX messages to go to multiple e-mail addresses, you can upgrade to $2.95/month + 2.5c/page for outgoing transmissions.
Business phone and FAX solution implemented. Total cost? $1/month. Pure win? Priceless.