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August 07, 2008

IP Fax Still Growing Thanks to Unified Communications (UC) and VoIP

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC


Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a partner conference Sagem-Interstar (News - Alert) put on in Montreal to help its partners and customers. The conference was attended by a number of resellers/integrators from around the world but the ones I met were primarily based in the US. Some of the takeaways from the conference were that fax is still doing well and although many have predicted its demise, it is alive and well yet going through a dramatic transition.
In fact the company repeated what they have told me in the past - many companies still have no idea how many fax machines they have and how much fax traffic they generate.
Obviously my readers know the above-mentioned transition is to IP and as this trend continues, the ability for companies to become more and more productive increases. Cited in presentations were statistics regarding productivity increased by bringing fax onto the network.
In addition, there was talk of bringing fax into a company's UC strategy and perhaps most interesting was the talk of IP fax being green. The angle here is that toner is not an environmentally friendly product and neither are toner cartridges. IP fax can obviously reduce the amount of fax and toner needed. Although this wasn't discussed, user behavior is also an important factor in saving toner and as users get used to using screens instead of paper, IP fax becomes even more environmentally friendly.
There was also a great amount of talk regarding the partnership between Cisco (News - Alert) and Sagem-Interstar which was developed as a result of the company's products being placed in a large drugstore chain.
Another interesting point was a case study which demonstrated how Cisco, Sagem-Interstar (News - Alert) and a number of other partners were able to deploy their solutions effectively in a children's hospital. This led into conversation regarding Cisco's Partner Practice which focuses on bringing partner companies into customer solutions and the highlight among other things was that Cisco gives additional customer discounts to successful partners.
Other takeaways were that resellers need to become solution providers and not box sellers and as they do this, sales and margins increase. Based upon my numerous conversations today it seems that the fax over IP market is benefiting from companies looking to improve productivity and reduce cost. Also, the move to VoIP and UC has helped IP fax as it generally piggybacks along for the ride as advanced technologies are deployed in enterprise networks. All of this tells us fax is far from dead and instead it seems to be generating significant revenue as it evolves to take advantage of the power of IP communications.
 

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world�s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.


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