Every election season, political candidates and their staffs find new ways to utilize technology as a means of efficiently creating and distributing information. The Internet in general has made it much easier for candidates to reach prospective voters in a personalized and meaningful way, even though this involves mass communications.
One technology that can be of use to political campaigns during the 2008 election season is Internet fax. To get an idea of how an online fax service might be used by political organizations, staff and volunteers, TMCnet asked Benedict Tse, chief technology officer at Packetel (News
), for his perspective.
TMCnet: For readers who are not familiar, can you give a brief overview of Packetel - what type of products/services it offers, who its customers are, and current market strategy?
BT (News - Alert):
Packetel is a worldwide company headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. We offer telecommunication services in the Golden State as well as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Connecticut. Packetel is committed to offer the most reliable telecommunication services at low prices. Some of the services we provides are online fax, or electronic fax, which delivers faxes directly to your e-mail box, a convenient international and national wide calling solution that eliminates the need for carrying a calling card, and web conferencing that eliminates the need for meeting travel. Founded in 2001, Packetel has enjoyed rapid growth. We offer our services to anyone who needs to have telecommunication services for a low price. Our current customers include individuals, small businesses, and large companies.
TMCnet: What are some of the creative, real-world applications you're seeing customers using Internet fax for?
BT: Our customers are using Internet fax to convert paper files to digital versions. Since we offer PDF and TIF formats, our customer utilize the service to convert their papers to electronic files, which saves them physical storage space. Customers are also using the service to archive faxes.
TMCnet: What are some of the more creative ways you see candidates in the 2008
U.S. presidential race using technology this election season?
BT: One potential use is to receive polls by fax, as e-mail attachments. Also, voters with poor vision could fax a sample ballot to trusted family member to cross-check.
TMCnet: More specifically, what are some of the ways Internet fax can be used by political candidates/campaigns?
BT: Messages among candidates can be sent via Internet fax to save time and money. This is a fast and convenient way to send urgent documents electronically.
TMCnet: How are political candidates using technology differently now than they
did two or four years ago?
BT: Technology is created to make our life easier, and to distribute news faster. This means messages can be sent to campaign staff and volunteers quickly and efficiently.
TMCnet: Looking ahead to the next elections two or four years from now, what predictions do you have regarding how candidates will use technology in the future?
BT: Internet fax technology enables faster and more interactive collaboration. Optical character recognition (OCR) helps facilitate this process.
TMCnet: Anything else you think people should know about the impact of technology on political campaigns?
BT: Candidates can now have more direct communication with their staff, volunteers and voters. Localized information can be selectively sent constituents based on their area codes. Information can, in other words, be more focused to individuals and I believe this is the key to effective communications.
To learn more about new fax technologies, please visit the Internet Fax
channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Packetel.
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Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Mae Kowalke