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September 25, 2009

Fax Technology Remains Relevant with IP Migration: Sagem-Interstar

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

When it comes to technology, not many people thought fax would be one that would stick around must past the 21 century with the advent of e-mail and other forms of communications.
But the technology is here, and its use is steadily growing, according to industry experts.
“Fax has remained relevant because it has kept up with the times,” John Nikolopoulos, director of marketing, Sagem-Interstar, told TMCnet’s Erin Harrison during a video interview filmed at TMC’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) West, an event whose annual counterpart ITEXPO East 2010 will take place Jan. 20-22 in Miami. “It’s a pretty resilient technology.”
TMC sat down with Nikolopoulos and Marc Robins, president and managing director of the SIP Forum (News - Alert) - an IP communications industry association - to talk about the state of IP fax, and its future.
The use of fax by enterprises has remained fairly steady. Some of the drivers sustaining the technology include federal regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which sets national standards for electronic health care transactions designed to help people keep their personal information private, and the Sarbanes-Oxley, or so-called “SOX” Act, which imposes strict penalties on firms that delete or alter documents with the defrauding of third parties.
“Everybody thought fax had a short life to it, but the reality is fax is alive and well,” Robins said.
With IP fax, documents arrive as e-mail attachments in users’ inboxes. But unlike traditional e-mail, the messages are secure and verifiable.
Perhaps the biggest growth driver of fax is the migration from TDI (News - Alert) to IP, Robins said. As with voice and voice apps, industry experts are seeing the migration with fax over IP, he said.
Yet one problem remains with fax today – its seamless transition to IP. More and more companies are discovering deployment concerns with fax over IP, causing them to pullback on the migration, Robins said.
But the SIP Forum is working with other groups and task forces to devise a universal solution for the industry, he said. Sagem (News - Alert)-Interstar, one of the founding participants and members of the task force, is working with a host of other firms to develop a solution. The company is actively contributing in defining the group’s Problem Statement document, which outlines specific interoperability challenges.
Nikolopoulos said the company is “fully committed” to the SIP Forum’s task force and its mission.
“We invested a large sum of money into our own infrastructure with regard to interoperability,” Nikolopoulos said. “We are very serious about it. We are full committed to the effort, and we are pleased to see how things are evolving.”

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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