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Time to switch on to the switch-off

Stéphane Vidal, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at XMedius, offers a reminder that the analogue/ISDN switch-off will also affect your customers’ use of fax

Stephane Vidal
Stephane Vidal

As BT, like telco operators across Europe, continues to implement its plans to switch off the analogue, PSTN/ISDN telephone networks, it is actually the large number of fax users, rather than voice customers. who are likely to feel the most impact.

While awareness of the switch-off was pegged at a lowly 25% of UK businesses in a TalkTalk Business survey last year, what discussion there has been has often focused around the migration to Voice over IP. In reality, it is arguably the move from the traditional fax machine or multifunction devices equipped with fax cards that presents the prime opportunity or threat for many organisations.

Any organisation still using fax extensively in 2018 probably has it deeply ingrained in its communications culture and business processes. Until now such entities have had two options ahead of the BT analogue switch-off scheduled for 2025. The first and simplest was to move, sooner rather than later, to a Fax over IP solution, offering significant and immediate cost and efficiency savings. The second was to invest in re-engineering their culture and redesigning their processes to incorporate new ways of working and communication. Now, customers can implement both options in parallel.

The NHS, in particular, along with other public sector organisations and industries such as banking, insurance and legal are still heavy users of fax. Indeed, it has been widely reported, following research released from DeepMind Health, that the NHS is the largest buyer of traditional fax machines in the world. Fax has maintained a stronghold in these areas as a result of familiarity, convenience, ubiquity and the legal standing of the audit trail it provides. While seven years may seem a long time, BT will stop selling new lines in 2020, so any organisation relying on fax should be planning its next move now.

Independent Industry Analyst Rob Bamforth* also has warned organisations not to forget fax in the transition to IP. He recently said: “As the analogue telco network switchover is looming, it would be wise to take another look at the fax sooner rather than later. Identify what use cases are required. Then consider a move to virtualise fax and shift from fax hardware and phone lines to fax software, networks and cloud services.”

Whichever route is chosen, multiple IPbased solutions are available that combine the ease of use and familiarity of fax, with best practice security and data protection principles.

By moving quickly to a Fax over IP (FoIP) solution, such as XMediusFAX, users can maintain established working practices, become more environmentally sustainable, comply with ever increasing security requirements and benefit from a rapid financial return through savings from reduced telco charges, paper and toner costs.

If the conclusion is to take a broader perspective, enterprise-grade file transfer solutions, such as XMediusSENDSECURE, not only cater for digital files in any format and size, including audio and video, but bring additional security benefits such as recipient authentication, double encryption, built-in virus protection and predetermined file deletion settings, none of which are available with standard email. An ability to send and receive via mobiles and tablets, as well as full integration with Outlook, means that SendSecure is intuitive and simple to use.

A smooth transition
To make the transition from analogue even smoother for UK customers, XMedius is offering resellers a bundle that combines XMediusFAX and XMediusSENDSECURE in a ‘pay as you use’ cloud offering with volume-based discounts and extended term expirations.

The pre-paid credit bundle is ideal for end users who might be unsure whether to retain the convenience and familiarity of fax or embrace more secure, scalable approaches for secure file transfer, as it enables both IP-fax and secure file transfer, while delivering considerable savings.

With it, XMedius resellers can offer their customers the best of both worlds – a seamless migration to the world of IP while retaining familiar working practices.

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