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February 04, 2014

The Virtual Evolution of Fax

By Blaise McNamee, Web Editor

Fax is disappearing, but not in the way you might think.  There are several major industries that still rely on fax for security and compliance reasons, and so many businesses continue to find themselves utilizing fax communication every day.  Instead, fax is disappearing into the virtual realm, thanks to recent advancements in unified communications technology.

No, fax is not dead.  It is thriving in the digital space, where facsimile documents are sent and received over the Internet in the form of IP packets instead of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), or converted to email for download and storage.

In fact, Galdon Data, a provider of business communications solutions, reports that revenue from its fax activities still represents a significant business stream.

"With the advent of digitalization, fax has evolved dramatically over the past few months and years, to become ‘fax over IP,' which has removed the dependency for it on hardware or connection to a PABX," said Fairoz Jaffer, director of Galdon Data in a statement. "And thus, this environment has become a fully software-based one, where virtualization of fax servers has become a relevant issue within this new scenario.”

Image via Shutterstock

Indeed, one of the beneficial side-effects of fax digitization has been the possibility of virtualization.  Entire fax machines can now be deployed and operated on a single virtual machine running VMware or Hyper-V.  This means costly fax boards and large, cumbersome fax machines are no longer needed.

Take Sagemcom’s (News - Alert) XMediusFAX, for example. It is a software-only solution that can be deployed and administered in any virtual machine environment.  Because the service lacks any hardware-dependencies, users do not have to spend time or money on device installation, maintenance, repair, upgrades, or development costs.  Its hardware-independent nature also means that fax and configuration data can be easily backed-up and restored, while also ensuring seamless interoperability with existing communications infrastructure.

“Many companies have embraced virtualization as the ideal way to consolidate and administer their network and IP Telephony physical resources regardless of vendor or operating system,” writes Sagemcom on its website. “This makes a great deal of administration and business sense: managing numerous physical resources virtually, and often remotely, from a single console means highly efficient network management plus cost and resource savings.”

So, it would appear that fax is not going the way of the dinosaur after all. Rather, it is successfully adapting to the new age of IP-based communication and flourishing in virtualized environments.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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