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December 07, 2010

IP Fax Alive and Well, Represents Huge Opportunity for Providers

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Anyone who has been following IT trends for awhile is probably familiar with the refrain, Fax is dead. Long live fax! The fact that people still use fax, given all the communications technology innovations developed in the past 20 or so years, might seem surprising. Yet, it’s true. 

“Fax continues to be one of those interesting mysteries in the marketplace,” noted John Nikolopoulos, Director of Marketing at Sagemcom, in a recent TMCnet video interview. “A lot of people just don’t realize how much fax is still used.”

In fact, according to Nikolopoulos, when services and infrastructure are considered, fax represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity over the next few years.

“The scale of the fax market is huge,” he added.

Because of that scale, Sagemcom continues to work closely with its partners, educating them on fax-related opportunities and developing solutions that enable continued use of fax even as the migration to IP communications picks up pace.

One reason fax continues to be such a huge opportunity for providers is that the ongoing TDM-to-IP migration causes a lot of churn in the fax market. Fax is also a straightforward solution with ROI being a no-brainer; payback is typically achieved within a few months.

Granted, IP communications has, to a certain extent, changed the face of fax. 

“Fax Over IP is becoming embedded in a lot of unified communication infrastructures,” Nikolopoulos pointed out during the video interview. “The challenge with fax is that it doesn’t play just in the UC space.”

Nikolopoulos sees three ecosystems that fax touches: UC, enterprise content management, and enterprise resource planning. This makes is necessary to build different hooks for fax based on applications appropriate to the target customer.

So who still uses fax? Law offices, for one. Nikolopoulos said that, in the legal field, the use of fax is actually increasing. Because of economics and the pace of business today, in the legal field fax is now often used in place of runners or couriers.

Watch the full video interview for more discussion about fax as well as Sagemcom’s plans for increasing its presence in North America, its social media strategy, and the opportunities it’s pursuing to keep up with innovations developed by strategic partners.

Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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