It's a Fax: An Old Platform Still Adds Value

Though it may seem like something out of yesteryear, faxes continue to play an important role — and have a place in a comprehensive unified communications platform.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Jul 26, 2011
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First, a disclaimer: This story, which is about the need to include a faxing option in a unified communications platform, features only the comments of the managing director of a company that makes — guess what — fax servers.

That doesn't mean that the gentleman — his name is Craig Freer and the South African company hedirects is Vox Amvia — doesn't have a point. Despite the fact that he oversells it (“Fax is currently the only pervasive medium we have that offers secure point-to-point communication with a full audit trail” is one quote from the story), the main point shouldn't be ignored: Fax is ubiquitous, has been modernized and should play arole in unified communications platforms.

Despite Freer's gung-ho attitude, fax shouldn't be the main element of a unified communications platform. But it is a familiar and useful workhorse-type technology that shouldn't be left out. And it isn't: Earlier this month, Multi-Tech Systems — which defines itself as a unified communications and machine-to-machine provider, said that its FaxFinder IP fax service is compliant with ShoreTel's business systems. The system, the release says, has passed ShoreTel's interoperability testing.

The link between fax, unified communications and/or other new approaches is stronger than many think. In May, for instance, Esnatech released the Office-LinX App Engine SDK for fax and voice services on Google Apps. Here is a look at what Copia, Sangoma and Commetrex are doing to provide a fax solution to small- and medium-sized businesses.

The message is clear: Fax may not be the sexiest of applications, but it certainly isn't one that should be excluded from unified communications platforms.

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