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FoIP, Fax Servers, and Hosted Fax: What's Hot and What's Not


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December 20, 2010

FoIP, Fax Servers, and Hosted Fax: What's Hot and What's Not

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” may not be the most commonly heard saying in the communications space, but its meaning certainly holds true for what is “hot” what isn’t. When it comes to FoIP solutions – in fact, for technology product, in general – what’s hot depends largely on an organization’s needs, which can vary as greatly as the number of communications products on the market.

Indeed, there are many fax solutions available and, naturally, some are “more beautiful” than others. The truth is, they all have something to offer; the key lies in determining which features are critical to your organization as a starting point and which are nice-to-haves. Quite frankly, if one doesn’t meet your required specifications, your best bet is to simply look at the next product on the list. For example, if you are in the healthcare industry, compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is essential; if the first solution you examine isn’t HIPAA-compliant, rest assured, there are others that are. 

Likewise, many organizations are looking to reduce costs and increase productivity by simply eliminating traditional fax machines with desktop faxing. Going paperless with a fax server not only reduces the cost of paper and toner, but boosts productivity and improves the workflow process, particularly when integrated with a VoIP solution. Combining products like the Dialogic/Brooktrout SR140 FoIP fax software drivers and a VoIP system, like Cisco’s (News - Alert) CallManager, serves both needs.

On the subject of pricing, many solutions start with a low-cost basic product, but the total cost can increase sharply as additional, yet necessary features are added. As you search for the right FoIP solution, be sure to look for those products that included as many of the critical features your organization requires as part of their standard offerings.

For instance, according to FaxCore (News - Alert) senior vice president Max Schroeder, while many FoIP vendors do, in fact, charge rather high fees for add-on modules, others, including FaxCore, have chosen to include most essential features, including like Exchange and SharePoint integration among others, as part of the standard purchase price.  

It’s no secret that, in today’s economy, reducing costs is critical for most companies. Sometimes, that involves determining whether to stay with your present solution or upgrade to a new solution that may be a better fit for your current requirements. In the FoIP world, it may also make sense to move to an easy-to-deploy subscription fax service, which reduces the capital cost while reducing the load on your IT staff.

Ultimately, each business must make its own decision, based on its unique requirements, and that decision must include doing the due diligence to understand which solutions not only offer the right features, but which also offer the most economical alternative for those critical features. Because every business has its own needs, the decision as to which FoIP solution is the most beautiful truly does lie in the eye of the beholder.

Do you research, then make your decision, and you will likely have a FoIP solution that meets your need today and into the future.

Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask

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