A recent survey by Intel (News - Alert) revealed that 40 percent of small businesses in the U.K. are still using fax machines. As we love to discuss on the Fax online community, of course, fax technologies are nowhere near “dead” or “dinosaur-ish” as some purport.
Fax is used in different capacities all over the world, including “FoIP” which stands for fax-over-IP. Its use is doubling each year, but the use of it varies from nation to nation. Those of us in the U.S. use fax technologies differently than those in the U.K. To get some more insight into how exactly fax is used differently, I talked with Steve Woodard, CEO of Quadrant Software. See the full exchange below.
JK: Why do you think the UK is so behind in terms of the smart fax or FoIP market?
SW: I don’t think that the U.K. and other European countries are “technologically” behind. Rather, I think the issue is more so cultural in terms of how they purchase hard goods, and do business.
In the US, we tend to be a “throw it away” society driven by technology. If something breaks, we get rid of it and buy a new one. The constant need to upgrade and get new stuff is driven by a culture and society in which we don’t want to look obsolete.
The result of this is that fax machines became MFPs and FoiP implementations more quickly, as there was a push to get the latest technology. I believe that this has not necessarily made us more productive, but potentially less so, in that we are always looking to integrate new devices, and modify our business processes. This all requires time, analysis, integration and testing, which results in more money.
This has also had ecological impact in that the millions of tons of upgraded devices now need to be recycled and treated, which is a huge challenge. Companies like Quadrant Software are very aware of these costs and requirements – which is why our easy implementation, simple integration and 24/7 support of our solutions are award-winning and customer-renowned, and our customers use our solutions for over 10 years typically.
JK: Are there different challenges to be had overseas or internationally when it comes to implementing smart fax technologies such as compliance?
SW: I think that in the U.K., culturally and societally it’s a bit different. They are a “fix before buying another one” society and tend to make new purchases slowly and only after exhausting the value of what is in place. This means that if fax machines and faxing is a crucial part of a business process, and it works, why invest in something new? In contrast to many US companies, EMEA based organizations tend to not want to be first with technology (unlike Japan and the US) in that they want to see its value proven, repeatable, and obvious for the money invested.
The fact that in the EMEA region companies are sticking with what works rather than adopting new technology, may help explain the slower implementation of FoIP.
There also seems to be some sort of mandate that emails and electronic documents must be stored for a specific amount of time, and with billions of emails being sent each day in the UK alone, the storage requirements and expense can be staggering. Why not send a fax?
JK: Is Quadrant taking any specific measures to address the issue of outdated fax technology in the U.K.?
SW: Quadrant sees the U.K. and EMEA regions as a significant opportunity, both through channels and partners who have relationships with key customers in place. We are actively working to grow our channels in the region and are paying close attention to their counsel as we put our sales and support plans in place.
Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.
Edited by Juliana Kenny