Last week I wrote about how fax sometimes gets a bad rap as an outmoded technology. I then went on to list five ways that advances in fax technology have evolved, making fax still relevant.
The five I mentioned included using new technology that drastically reduces telecom expenses, automated rule-based document reception, automated role-based document processing workflow, support for mobile devices, and fax in the cloud.
There of course are other reasons fax is still relevant. Five additional reasons include virtualized systems that cut costs, integration with legacy production systems, integration with desktop client applications, increased data security, and integration with directory services.
Fax-over-IP (FoIP) has changed everything, just as voice-over-IP (VoIP) has radically evolved voice communications. Because FoIP servers can work with virtual servers such as those offered by VMware, fax now can be installed in a virtual server farm to provide high availability and redundancy.
“Desktop support-related hardware costs can be reduced by implementing virtual desktop solutions that provide standard configurations and fax client version control,” according to a white paper by Davidson Consulting. “Virtualizing FoIP servers typically reduces costs associated with fax operations by as much as 40 percent.”
Interoperability is another way that faxes still make sense. Modern fax technology, which can be sent from desktop computers, bridges the gap between traditional fax systems and other systems such as e-mail.
“Even a company’s own custom applications can be quickly fax-enabled through application programming interfaces (APIs) that use any of the programming languages the company wants to use,” said the white paper by Davidson Consulting.
Integration with desktop client applications and directory services are also new tricks available to the modern fax system.
“There are web browser-based fax clients, roles-based fax processing workflow clients, and integration with such health IT Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems as GE Centricity, Siemens (News - Alert) Healthcare, McKesson Technology Solutions, and Epic. In fact, fax is the primary compatibility factor in the health care arena connecting disparate systems from multiple providers,” noted the white paper.
Lastly, faxes bring security. They can’t be hacked, there’s confirmation of data transmission, as well as an audit trail.
“Moreover,” according to the Davidson Consulting paper, “received documents can be directed to any password-protected inbox through intelligent inbound fax routing so that the information is viewed only by the intended recipient. Ensure your fax data to and from the cloud is safely encrypted. Email-only systems are not inherently secure.”
Most of this requires a modern fax system, however, something like cloud-based FaxSIPit. But just because outdated fax systems are still in use, that doesn’t mean fax is a bygone technology. As noted above, fax still has many important advantages.
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Edited by Braden Becker