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Why is fax still in demand?

You might think that with the popularity and maturity of email and other modes of electronic communication (including good old voice) that the use of fax would all be but extinct.  But fax is still very much alive in the present.  We may not find ourselves personally sending faxes everyday, indeed many of us may not have a fax number on our business cards any longer, but there are still a number of niche applications for fax that will see it with us for quite a few years to come.  So where is the market opportunity for faxing?

Fax broadcasting – a marketer’s tool

Sending faxes is still a means for a single promotion piece to be shared with 1000s of prospects.  “That’s the same as email!” I hear you exclaim and yes, that is true.  However, with fax comes the opportunity for a higher readership as it is deemed an ‘open’ communication. Whether it’s left lying on the fax machine or even on top of the recycling bin, there is a greater chance of someone viewing it and taking action.

In addition, fax can also be used to reinforce the reach of an email campaign. There is always a high percentage of marketing emails that are not opened and if a fax duplicate of the message can be sent, that serves to enhance the chances of the message getting through and ensue the target businesses are being reached.

Requirement for replica documents and signatures

There is still the need for replica documentation and signatures to be transferred and, in the absence of a scanner or if time is of the essence, fax remains the first choice. I understand that police forces still use them for sending evidence (e.g., fingerprints).  Particular vertical markets, such as finance, but especially legal firms, use them as they need signatures on contracts and many other organisations, such as health authorities, see faxes as more secure than email.

So what does FoIP (Fax over IP) mean to the fax market?

As with VoIP, cost savings are often cited as a key benefit.  That is because organisations and businesses can take advantage of fax services without having to own their own fax machine. In addition, for international services, significant savings can also be made on the cost of the fax ‘call’, which can be charged for at a local rate.

There is further good news when you mix cloud and fax resources. Fax broadcasters who are often handling millions (yes, millions) of faxes a day, would typically need to own a specialist fax server (which necessitates specialist telephony hardware or software) to handle the fax calls. Sending faxes and even more so receiving them, is a very resource intensive process, which means farms of fax servers are required to handle such volumes.

However, when fax becomes just another resource available in the cloud, fax broadcasters no longer need to provision for peaks, they simply pay for what they need, when they need it. Deploying and maintaining massive server farms in fax data centres is a costly endeavour. Why would you continue to do that if there was a better way?

Soon, there will be a better way. Following a number of select beta trials, Aculab Cloud will soon support T.30 fax.  Programming in either Python or .NET, it will be simple to integrate fax into a range of applications.  To register you interest, please email cloud@aculab.com