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January 25, 2013

Voice Communication Has Advanced and So Has Fax

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

When we think of the future, fax machines are not usually the first pieces of technology that come to mind. But the fax machine has evolved just as telephone service did in the past, and today's new fax technology is no longer about churning out images on thermal paper over analog telephone lines.

Fax has evolved into a computer-driven capability that integrates with every type of information system, and is capable of receiving documents, turning them from images into data in a matter of seconds, and then inputting that metadata into databases or automated workflows,” according to a recent whitepaper by Peter Davidson of Davidson Consulting that tackles the topic, “The New Fax: A Technology Reinvented from Fax Machines to Enterprise Fax Software.”

Fax has undoubtedly evolved into an advanced document management technology that offers cost, productivity and security benefits for businesses today.

In light of this, Davidson outlines 10 benefits fax technology can offer the modern business, including drastically reducing usage and telecom costs; providing the capability to virtualize systems and drive green initiatives; integrating with legacy production systems; automating rules-based document reception; and working with desktop client applications, health IT systems and multi-function peripherals.

Other benefits include the ability to choose either premises-based server; cloud-based fax services or a hybrid solution; increased data security; support for mobile devices; automated roles-based document processing workflows; and directory services integration.

“Today there are fax servers, hosted-over-the-Internet fax services, and hybrid systems that combine both on-premises fax servers and cloud-based fax services to function as the best of both worlds,” the source added.

Just one of the many benefits of current fax technology is its ability to receive and process incoming faxes based on automated rules-based business logic.

Fax technology has the ability to not just receive images, but to extract data from them and create metadata for faxes on the fly. This metadata can then be leveraged by the modern fax server to route faxes to the appropriate recipient, complete with metadata that can be leveraged in other programs, according to Davidson.

Faxes no longer have to be printed out to arrive at the office; they can now be received and e-mailed to the recipient’s desktop, laptop or even their smartphone.

And unlike many “modern” technologies such as e-mail, the modern fax comes with security that most e-mail systems just aren’t equipped to provide.

“Fax remains a leading contender to handle the transmission burdens of all kinds of private data because it works end-to-end with image data that cannot be hacked,” Davidson concluded. “Sending a fax is as easy assending an email, plus the sender gets a confirmation that the fax was in fact sent, and has an audit trail for future searches.”

For more on the continued usefulness of faxes, download the free whitepaper today.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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