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March 01, 2010

IP Fax Experts Outline the Benefits of FoIP in an IP Environment

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

As the technology surrounding telecommunications continues to advance and enterprises throughout the world move toward an all IP environment, the placement of the fax and supporting technology seem to be an after-thought. In some environments, it is believed to be obsolete; in reality, it is very much a needed and demanded communication channel that companies must make a priority in order to support streamlined communications.
At this year’s ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami, whose counterpart ITEXPO (News - Alert) West will take part in October in Los Angeles, key providers within the IP fax space sat down together to discuss the reality that fax is still a key point of communication; how to support fax in an all IP environment and unified communications and what is happening in the industry.

No matter what the industry, a number of professionals continue to rely on fax communications within the enterprise. While this used to be a machine/toner/paper/phone line type operation; fax can now been sent over the IP to expand its capabilities and tie right into the UC platform.
IP fax actually offers a number of key benefits to the enterprise, according to Sebastien Lalonde of Sagem-Interstar. Fax over IP ensures that fax is no longer a hardware based solution, but has become instead an environment that really requires no additional cost if already running a VoIP on the network.
Mike Oliszewski, chief technology officer with Faxback, said that the material costs inherent in traditional faxing no longer apply and FoIP is considered to be a green communication channel.

Only minimal training is necessary to implement FoIP and in multi-point environments, it ensures that the message gets directly to the right person. Overall, bringing fax into the IP helps to deliver the best environment.
As Max Schroeder (News - Alert), senior vice president with FaxCore Inc., noted, we are now in a mobile world and the ability to send fax communications to the mobile employee is essential. FoIP makes that possible.
In an all IP environment, the best way to approach fax is through FoIP. Lalonde, who is a core member of the senior R&D team at the French Sagem-Interstar (News - Alert), did not want to oversimplify the implementation, but highlighted that it is easily integrated into a UC platform, as long as it is considered on the front end.
“One of our challenges is making people realize that fax is important in the IP environment,” Lalonde said in the session. “It is too easily forgotten and is often more of an afterthought in the implementation process. It is important for the company to think about in their overall communication structure.”
Lalonde also highlighted that too often, when a company is running a T38, the company will offer its support and quickly learn the customer doesn’t really know what they have on their own network. Maybe the information is going through gateways that are not supported or not properly secure.

By helping the company to identify these weaknesses, companies like Sagem-Interstar can help them incorporate FoIP into their IP environment and enjoy all the benefits this technology had to offer. In addition to Lalonde, Oliszewski and Schroeder, the panel also included Chem Cohen, chief technology officer of FaxSIPit. 

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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