Over the last few years, the majority of enterprises and SMBs have made the transition to IP-based communication technologies, leaving behind their old legacy phone systems that are less flexible and more expensive to maintain.
With an all-IP-based global telecom infrastructure on the horizon, service providers, OEMs and enterprises need to keep fax in mind. This technology is used every day in the business world and needs to evolve alongside VoIP for telecom operators to truly be able to offer end users a full portfolio of services.
To develop a better understanding about the current state of the fax industry and the recent push for fax over IP (FoIP), TMC's (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani recently sat down with Mike Coffee, chief executive at Commetrex, a leading provider of these technologies.
During their conversation, Coffee touched on the role of the SIP Forum’s (News - Alert) FoIP Task Group, which, alongside the newly-established i3 Forum, is charged with helping make FoIP work in harmony with other IP-based communication technologies.
Coffee and Tehrani also talked about other major topics in the telecom space, including the impact of net neutrality regulations, social media and the "knitting together" of the carriers' IP islands.
The conversation wrapped up with Coffee explaining his company's upcoming role at ITEXPO East 2011 in Miami, the world’s premier IP communications event. Commetrex will be at booth 528 showing off its new products, including its line of Bladeware applications, and will be answering any questions related to the fax industry.
The complete interview can be found below.
Rich Tehrani: What was the most significant technology trend in 2010 and what impact will it have in 2011?
Mike Coffee: Certainly smartphones, cloud computing, the “programmable Web,” and Facebook’s (News - Alert) ascendancy are biggies. But, possibly, bigger than that is that the global incumbent carriers finally got serious about the transition to an all-IP infrastructure. No matter what, this will affect every telecom-market player -- service and product.
The recently formed i3 Forum comprises more than 37 telecommunications operators, representing a combined subscriber base of over 1.5-billion in over 100 countries. The mission of the forum is to pave the way for the transition to an all-IP global telecom infrastructure. And there is a fax component to this that is of great interest. The forum membership understands that this transition to IP cannot be completed until real-time fax using T.38 is reliably supported, so they have joined forces with the SIP Forum’s FoIP Task Group to do something about the call set-up problems that result from the strict timing requirements imposed by fax. Together, the two organizations are working on bringing IP fax up to PSTN reliability.
RT: What impact will the continued growth of cloud computing have on the communications industry in 2011?
MC: Huge! The only reason to not be working on your cloud-based strategy is that you already have it all figured out.
RT: Who will be the mobile winners in 2011 out of Google Android, Apple (News - Alert), Microsoft, Nokia and RIM?
MC: That’s a toughie. At one time I thought it would be Google’s Android, but the market has become so explosive, there may be room for them all. Try to envision any of them pulling back. They can’t, but some might have to.
RT: In what format do you read your news and magazines (i.e., hard copy or digital)? Why?
MC: Hardcopy because of habit and I’m not in my office when I’m reading periodicals and there are too many for me to track digitally.
RT: Are tablets really the future?
MC: Perhaps not "the future," but certainly a big part of it.
RT: How will app stores change the future of computing?
MC: Well, they certainly open up new markets for developers. “There’s an app for that!”
RT: What impact has social media had on how you interact with your customers? How do you measure its effectiveness?
MC: We have a page on our website just to explain this. We’ve yet to set up our measurements.
RT: The FCC has recently voted to support net neutrality. Is net neutrality necessary, or will it present more challenges than it will solve?
MC: Don’t know. We have to be concerned about unintended consequences.
RT: What will be the greatest technological development in 2011? Why?
MC: It won’t create any media buzz, but the continued knitting together of IP islands owned by carriers to create a global IP fabric over the next decade will have profound consequences.
RT: Why have you chosen to exhibit at ITEXPO East in Miami?
MC: It’s the best fit for our markets, and TMC offers much more than an industry conference. All the surround stuff really matters.
RT: What is the most important reason attendees should visit your booth at ITEXPO?
MC: To have their fax questions -- any fax questions -- answered by the trusted source for fax technology.
RT: What new and exciting products/solutions can we expect to see from your company in 2011?
MC: We are adding comprehensive voice support to BladeWare. Our fax OEMs will be able to handle human-answered fax, one-number voice fax, UM/UC, and IVR, all on the same system in both IP and TDM networks.
To find out more about Commetrex, visit the company at ITEXPO East 2011. To be held Feb. 2-4 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit Commetrex in booth #528. Don’t wait. Register now.
Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf