Are there specific business uses for Fax over IP? What kind of businesses even rely on faxes anymore?
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
Fax is a legacy technology that survives because it has adapted. Fax today seems about as intuitive as a rotary dial phone, but both live on -- albeit in different forms. Think about form versus function. The rotary dial was replaced with the keypad when telephony shifted from analog to digital. The rotary dial and keypad perform the same function, but the keypad enables a richer experience.
Ask the expert
Do you have a question for Jon Arnold or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)
Fax is the same. Analog fax was time-consuming, error-prone, unsecure, low-resolution, fixed-format, centralized and used expensive consumables. Digital fax is the opposite of all these things. Because the need to send documents electronically hasn't gone away, fax persists. If fax had not adapted from analog to digital, it would have disappeared a long time ago.
I'm making this comparison because both will eventually meet the same fate. The need for voice is as vital as ever, but calls are increasingly shifting away from desk phones to PCs and mobile devices that do not require a keypad. Similarly, scanning has displaced much of what faxes address. In time, these newer technologies will completely supplant what came before, and like the telegraph, desk phones and fax systems will fall out of use.
Coming back to form and function, fax survives in digital form simply because it continues to provide value to businesses. There is still a need for a centralized solution to manage large volumes of documents that have requirements around content sharing, archiving, searching and regulatory compliance -- especially in a secure fashion that protects personal privacy.
In that regard, fax is much more than sending documents back and forth where signatures are needed. With big data peeking around the corner, it is becoming more about records management and knowledge management. For now, Fax over IP serves that need reasonably well. Better solutions are evolving, but their time hasn't come yet. We'll check back on this topic next year.
Dig Deeper on IP Telephony Systems
Related Q&A from Jon Arnold
Analytics can be vital to optimize contact-center and agent performance. UC expert Jon Arnold explains two analytics use cases and the key metrics to...continue reading
The UC market is abuzz with mergers and acquisitions, but this activity creates uncertainty for organizations. Analyst Jon Arnold offers advice on ...continue reading
Team collaboration isn't one-size-fits-all. Distinct user needs must be considered when creating a collaboration assessment to find the best team ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.