Tag Archives: IP communications

Faxosaurus

During its time, the dinosaur, with its size and  power, probably seemed to be the least likely candidate for extinction. We might say the same for the traditional fax machine – a long lasting and reliable technology possibly approaching its departure.

Alexander Graham Bell, a Scotland born inventor credited with inventing the telephone, hadn’t taken his first breath of air yet when another Scottish inventor, Alexander Bain, filed a patent for the first fax machine in 1843. That’s the kind of staying power the fax machine has enjoyed over time! Like the telephone, telegraph, television and every other “tele” invented over the years, the fax has morphed and evolved but, unlike its “tele” counterparts, its simplicity of purpose has remained largely the same – electronic transfer of content, as reflected on a document, from point A to point B, usually through a plain old phone line.  It’s one of those traditional functions, like the wooden telephone pole, that has so steadily served business communications for so many years that you could hardly imagine it not being around.

But in an age of innovation and web technology, when speed and efficiency are paramount, this time is different. The fact about traditional fax is that despite its reliability and survivability, it has become…well, clunky in today’s modern enterprise. The traditional fax machine takes up office space, it sucks electrical power, and it consumes employees’ time to operate it, which translates into expense. The speed of traditional fax technology is sort of like the Pony Express mail delivery compared to today’s split-second delivery over the Internet.

Today’s emerging fax technology, known as Internet fax or simply efax, is a server-hosted application provided as a service to businesses for a monthly fee, which varies depending upon its total capabilities and how it is packaged. The following advantages of efax are significant:

  • Transmission Speed – Internet faster than the old phone lines.
  • Multitasking – Send & receive multiple efax  transmissions at once.
  • Natural Resource Savings – Less consumption of paper & electricity.
  • Human Resource Efficiency – Saves employees’ time sending/receiving documents.
  • Phone Cost Reduction – No phone lines needed.
  • Long Distance Savings – Goes over your Internet.
  • Mobility – Fax by cell phone.
  • Equipment & Space – No equipment to install; no office space to waste.

Despite the longevity and reliability of the traditional fax machine, there are too many compelling forces riding against it. There’s no doubt that it will eventually take the path of the dinosaur.

The SIP Surge

SIP trunking continues to steal the headlines in the world of VoIP phone services, but it represents only a fraction of the total business trunks in service today. So why all the hype about SIP?

SIP (session initiation protocol) experienced slowness in its early adoption stage, which is not unusual considering that legacy TDM solutions have been generally reliable and around for a long time. SIP has had to earn its place in the network domains of the small and medium enterprise, and that’s exactly what’s happening! The fact is that despite a sputtering economy, SIP trunking deployments doubled last year, making it one of the best performing VoIP services. And according to industry sources, the SIP trunking market in North America, which closed 2009 at $717.3 million in revenue, is projected to grow to $3.9 billion in revenue by 2016. That represents a seven year surge in growth of 544%!

You may ask, “What’s driving the SIP trunking market?”

It’s already an overly exploited VoIP industry term, but it still holds the promise of SIP – convergence, the ability to bundle voice and data on a high speed Internet facility. With TDM, a PRI or T1 provides up to 23 and 24 channels respectively, which for the large enterprise may still work well, but for the small and medium business, trunk capacity is a cost issue for which SIP trunks provide an economical solution. Simply stated, bundling eliminates phone lines and associated costs. And since SIP trunks can be ordered one at a time and then over-subscribed per number of phone stations, SIP becomes an even more attractive cost saver. Taking it yet another step, for businesses with multiple locations, SIP may be configured as centralized trunking that leverages the Internet cloud for inter-location traffic – another cost benefit.

Finally, SIP is a foundational service of other emerging business VoIP services, such as UC (unified communications). UC represents the latest in integrated IP services like instant messaging, presence information, IP telephony via PC as well as IP phone, video conferencing and speech recognition – all subjects of our future blog posts!