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December 29, 2009

Consolidation to Fuel IP Fax Industry: Sagem-Interstar

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor


As the popularity of IP fax grows and new advancements with the technology hitting the marketplace, traditional fax servers, including TDM/analog-based, are fading fast. And companies like IP fax solutions providers Sagem-Interstar are taking advantage of the rising interest, offering users new services to meet their needs.
 
Despite the recession, the company reported “substantial” growth over the last year, John Nikolopoulos, director, marketing and product management, Sagem-Interstar (News - Alert), told, TMCnet in an interview, printed in full below.
 
“Our business has actually grown significantly through this difficult period due to a number of key reasons, including acceleration of TDM to IP conversion to reduce costs,” he said. “We continue to invest and focus on IP fax server solutions commercializing key new capabilities providing significant differentiation.
 
Looking ahead, Nikolopoulos said SIP trunking will become an increasingly important driver for fax server installations. In addition, Sagem-Interstar will look to gain a competitive edge as continued consolidation will rule in 2010.

The full exchange follows.
 
TMCnet: How did Sagem-Interstar perform in 2009? Did the results meet company expectations?
 
John Nikolopoulos: Despite a challenging macroeconomic global environment, Sagem-Interstar results exceeded corporate expectations with substantial year-over-year revenue growth and market share gains in the dynamic FoIP server software segment. For seven straight years, we have been leading the global FoIP server software segment, which we essentially established in 2002 with the launch of our innovative and patented XMediusFAX FoIP server software platform.
 
TMCnet: What have been some of the company’s key announcements this year?
 
JN: It has been a very a busy year indeed. Some highlights include:
 
New Product Offerings – Software
XMediusFAX 6.0 (Worldwide – December/2008/January 2009)
 
XMediusFAX 6.0, released in December of 2008/January 2009, delivers unparalleled patent-pending survivability options. In addition to the innovative and SOA compliant built-in high-availability replication of the XMediusFAX SP Edition, version 6.0 offers a new data synchronization schema for advanced disaster recovery deployment models. Key features of this major release include the following:
 
Asynchronous data replication (WAN optimized) for remote Disaster Recovery. Replication can occur between any of the XMediusFAX editions (X,EE,AXP,SP) and an XMediusFAX SP System, is firewall friendly and secure through the use of PKI authentication and 256 bit encryption for all communications between XMediusFAX servers.
 
Initial support (Phase 1) for branch fax survivability.Business continuity is provided by leveraging existing Cisco (News - Alert) Integrated Services Router (ISR) capabilities and Inter-System replication to automatically detect failures and redirect traffic to the local XMediusFAX AXP branch instance while providing access to a user’s faxes (sent/receive) at all times.
 
Standards-based integration in the form of Web Services. Java and .NET clients can leverage the API to programmatically submit faxes, search both the inbound/outbound archives as well as query the outgoing fax queue and perform operations on faxes such as resubmit, delete and forward.
 
A new rich Web-based administration interface to manage and configure the XMediusFAX system and improved user experience through fax broadcast reports and a refined Web user experience
 
Extended support for Microsoft (News - Alert) Hype-V virtualization technology.
XMediusFAX 6.0 also was used as the core software for a new release of Alcatel’s OFS (OmniTouch Fax Server) product offering. This is associated with an effective OEM relationship between Sagemcom and Alcatel.
 
XMediusFAX 6.5 (Worldwide – November/2009)
 
XMediusFAX 6.5, released in November of 2009, delivers the next generation faxing solution for the Microsoft Unified Messaging solution. The Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging (UM) integration replaces the built-in support for fax which has been removed from Microsoft Exchange 2010. As a Microsoft Certified Partner Fax Solution, XMediusFAX provides Exchange 2007/2010 UM customers additional functionality such as outbound faxing previously unavailable, while allowing them to continue to have their faxes delivered to their unified mailboxes together with their email and voicemail. Key features of this major release include the following:
 
The Microsoft Exchange 2010 UM integration provides a robust faxing solution to address both inbound and outbound faxing requirements in a Microsoft UC environment. As a Certified Partner Fax Solution, XMediusFAX fully supports the stringent Microsoft fax standard spec which includes support for SIP over TCP/TLS.
 
A centralized Web Phonebook with an integrated fax contact management tool allowing users to manage and easily access their contacts. Accessible via the WebClient, contacts are accessed using the search-as-you type capability or by an intuitive management interface.
 
A new integrated system reporting engine that provides System and Site administrators key metrics such a success/failure rates and system usage through a comprehensive set of 20+ built-in reports.
 
Phase 2 of branch fax survivabilitywith improved deployment tools. Business continuity is provided by leveraging existing Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) capabilities and Inter-System replication to automatically detect failures and redirect traffic to the local XMediusFAX AXP branch instance while providing access to a user’s faxes (sent/receive) at all times.
 
Extended support for Windows 2008 R2, Exchange 2010 and Windows 7. Additional VoIP Gateway (News - Alert) support now includes Mitel and Dialogic.
 
A comprehensive and rich multi-lingual user interface including support for English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian.
 
XTRAX 6.5 (Worldwide – November/2009)
 
XTrax, an available XMediusFAX option, is easy-to-use fax workflow software that provides you with a formal fax audit trail for regulatory compliance (i.e. HIPAA, SOX, DITSCAP, Patriot (News - Alert) Act, and GLB Act). Installed as a client on each workstation or accessed through a thin client (Terminal Services), XTrax facilitates viewing, searching, processing, OCR scanning, routing, archiving of all received faxes. Key features include:
 
Secured audit logs for all transactions (i.e. open, view, delete, process)
Active Directory user Management
Tiered administration (System and Team/Group Administrators)
Integrated Optical Character Recognition for accelerated data entry
Customizable workflow and processing groups
Advanced search and archiving capabilities
Redundancy options through SQL clustering.
XTrax runs on Microsoft SQL and fully supports Windows Terminal Services.
 
New Product Offerings - Appliance
 
The Open Line PR 10.0 platform (IP Fax Server Appliance) was launched globally in Q2/2009. A T.38 FOIP engine is integrated as a standardized offering within the platform and is based on the well known and industry leading XMediusFax core software (recent enhancements of which are discussed above). This latest version supports some key advanced capabilities (e.g., high availability) which were previously available only in the high end standalone software suite (XMediusFAX).
 
TMCnet: What were some of the biggest things that impacted the IP Fax Server industry?
 
JN: From a solutions perspective, traditional fax servers (TDM/analog based) are sinking fast. FoIP (software based) servers are showing dramatic growth rates exceeding 40 percent CAGR. General industry virtualization initiatives and MFP integration efforts are important drivers for the FoIP segment. From a competitive perspective, there has been some important consolidation (e.g., OpenText acquisition of Captaris), which has created all sorts of compelling new opportunities for focused players like Sagem-Interstar.
 
TMCnet: At the beginning of the year, the economy was in a recession. How did it impact your business?
 
JN:Our business has actually grown significantly through this difficult period due to a number of key reasons including acceleration of TDM to IP conversion to reduce costs - our FoIP solution plays very well in this environment - a compelling ROI resulting in overall savings of up to 90 percent, productivity gains of up to 90 percent and a payback of one to six month and favorable competitive dynamics. We continue to invest and focus on IP fax server solutions commercializing key new capabilities providing significant differentiation (e.g., fax survivability, Cisco AXP/ISR support, Microsoft Exchange UM 2010).
 
Although the overall fax server market segment is essentially flat, the FoIP server segment is growing aggressively in excess of 40 percent CAGR. This segment represents our sweet spot in which we have global leadership.
 
TMCnet: There are now signs that the economy is recovering. What are your predictions for 2010?
 
JN: From a solutions perspective, the deployment of T.38 based FOIP solutions will continue to accelerate. SIP trunking will become an increasingly important driver/networking consideration for fax server installations. From a competitive perspective, continued consolidation will rule in 2010. Timely and focused investments in this space will prove key regarding market share gains; Sagem-Interstar, with strong financial backing from its corporate parent Sagemcom, as well as tight relationships with key players like Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya, and Alcatel, is well positioned to take advantage of emerging competitive and industry dynamics.
 
To find out more Sagem-Interstar, visit the company at ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Sebastien Lalonde, a core member of the senior R&D leadership team at Sagem-Interstar, will speak during a session on 'Integrating Fax into Your Enterprise UC Experience 'at 3 p.m. on Jan. 21. Don’t wait. Register now.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering business communications Her areas of focus include conferencing, SIP, Fax over IP, unified communications and telepresence. Amy also writes about education and healthcare technology, overseeing production of e-Newsletters on those topics as well as communications solutions and UC. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.



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