Back in 1974 I learned what a fax machine was. I used both a Xerox and Graphic Sciences fax machines to send press releases to the sports desks in Philadelphia. In 1976 I bought my first one from Xerox and quickly learned that the paper was the expensive part of the equation. Well a lot has changed since then, including how little some of us rely on faxes at all. Many of us inside the VoIP world have likely heard about the SIP based T.38 standard, but few understand it. Others may, like me, use scanners and emails, so while faxing may be going away for some of us, there remains a booming business around it, especially when hard copy is still required for documentation, usually when a signature or confirmation of a transaction is involved.
At IT Expo I caught up with FaxBack, a company that has taken on an interesting spin and made an old technology new again.
FaxBack’s new HTTPS Fax Platform enables fax machines and fax servers (from all vendors) to stream fax data over the Internet, with TDM level reliability, even on low quality networks. Their four components attack both the problems found with T.38 as well as brings greater use of faxing back to businesses everywhere:
The HTTPS-Enabled Fax ATA: to connect fax machines to VoIP providers over the Internet, adding features like fax image archiving and email notifications.
A (FREE) Microsoft Exchange 2010 UM Fax Connector: enabling enterprises and SMBs to connect fax to Exchange, to deliver faxes to a person’s inbox.
FaxBack’s Fax Cloud Solution: for carriers and enterprises – providing integration into virtualization environments, and client connections (fax-to-email, fax machine and Microsoft Fax) or premise-based fax server connections, over the cloud.
The “VoIP Fax Server”: Provides enterprises and SMBs with cost savings and UC integration, through a full featured and tightly integrated fax solution (HTTPS, T.30, T.38, SIP Stack, and fax server).
After talking with the founders during IT EXPO I learned that HTTPS Fax has four key differentiators over SIP T.38 which is likely why more than 40 carriers and enterprise customers are evaluating FaxBack’s HTTPS Fax Platform. It all makes sense.
Reliability: SIP T.38 is susceptible to burst packet loss. The HTTPS Fax Platform has a 30 second buffer, so a recipient could lose their Internet connect for 29 seconds, without losing the fax connection.
Security: SIP T.38 has no security provisioning when transmitted over the open internet. HTTPS [via SSL] is encrypted from point to point [crucial for healthcare (HIPAA/SOX), financial and legal institutions].
Bandwidth Reduction: HTTPS delivers 5-1 bandwidth reduction over SIP T.38. T.38 is triple redundant, sending packets multiple times.
Simple Provisioning: Using HTTP(S) ports, no additional firewall provisioning is typically needed
So while faxing may be thought of as a thing of the past by some, FaxBack may have hit on the solution that is very true to their name that really does bring Faxing back.