You are sending me a what? a fax?

Due to the universal acceptance of email, many predicted the demise of the common fax machine. But, although much easier to use, email has still not replaced the office fax.

The latest announcement from Voxbone that they will be providing fax support on some of their local numbers, made me think again – why is fax still with us? Isn’t it much easier to scan, send and manipulate documents by email?

I think it boils down to the KISS mantra. Sending a fax is simple. Put the paper in the fax machine, dial, press send and that is it. Sending a document by email is clumsy. First you must scan it (but not everyone has a scanner next to their computer..), open up your scanning software, save it, go to email and send. OK, I know that some scanners are integrated with Outlook and do it faster, but the bottom line is that the average person still uses a fax to send their documents.

So I understand why you still send faxes the old way, but why do you receive them on a fax machine? Unlike sending receiving faxes to email, is super simple. All you do is get a dedicated fax to email phone number point it to your email and thats all! The sender doesn’t know the difference! No longer do you have to deal with piles of faxes in the morning, missed faxes because you were out of ink etc. All your faxes arrive automatically in your inbox. You can then forward them, print them or even delete them, just like you would with a regular email!

So simple, that it beats me why anyone would choose to receive their faxes any other way. If you need a fax number in the USA, we would be happy to help you out, just send me an email (or fax :-).

Either you have it – Or you don’t!

In the mid 80’s Apple stock was tanking, employees were deserting it left and right. Apple had two options, one to “join ‘em” and build IBM clones like everyone else, and the other was to continue developing their proprietary solution. As John Sculley , Apple CEO at the time, relates in “Odyssey” it was a hard decision, stockholders were tightening the screws on him to stop the bleeding, but John believed that taking the IBM path would be the end of Apple as a company. Against common & short term wisdom John made a decision to continue on the independent path.

We all know where Apple & the Mac are today… and IBMs PC business? Long gone.

John had the guts to take the decision as a leader. It was a gamble, he could have lost, but he stood up to the challenge and in the end won.

Yahoo! management unfortunately yesterday decided to go with the short term. The original cataloger of the World Wide Web has sold out to Google. Ok, they will make some advertising fees from Google, but in a few years they will be just another mediocre player if at all.

Some have it – some don’t….

On the same subject read Om’s great analysis of the situation.

12 years of SIP

My friend Jon Arnold pointed me to a post by Brough Turner (a facebook friend). Brough discusses the compelling vision that drove the development of the SIP standard and where we stand today.

I am not familiar what is going on at the major carriers, but for us little guys, SIP is the great enabler. We can connect customers, provision them with phone numbers worldwide and connect to other carriers in a few minutes. For us SIP as a standard works! What more could we ask?

I have a (212) number and I don’t live in New York!

If you are reading this blog, you are probably aware of the fact that phone numbers no longer represent a geographic setting. The advent of cellphones was the initial factor in changing our understanding of the phone number, the popularity of VoIP together with LNP freedom has completed this change forever.

Unfortunately, we are in a minority, even in the IP world. As Cory Andrews writes Craigslist, the most popular classified web site has decided to combat their spam problems by authenticating advertisers by their phone number.
Using a third party service, they do not accept your ad if they determine it is a VoIP number and not what they call a “fixed line” number.

Maybe a good idea, but it ain’t working. I checked a number of my company’s numbers and wonders of wonders Craig classified them as “fixed lines”. Of course they are not. But here is the problem, LNP enables you to take a number from the “fixed line” world and transfer it anywhere. So at what point does it become a “non-fixed” line??

Craigslist should wake up and realize that a phone number is like an email address, one delivers text, the other voice. Just because I have an email address with a ISP based in NY, do you assume I am in New York? Of course not, well a telephone number is no different. It is just a pointer to a IP address, no more, no less.

The applications are endless, I have a customer who sells Moving and Relocation services in the USA. His office is in another country and when you call his number in New York (or Texas for that matter…) it rings in his office a few thousand miles away. Last weekend he went on a vacation, not wanting to lose business (each sale is thousands of dollars) he called up asking if he can take his IP phone to the Hotel. Of course I told him, just plug it in.

That is just an example, so the next time you call 212, don’t assume that you are calling New York, chances are – you are not.

So what does a number mean then? How long will 212 numbers in NY and 207 numbers in London to mention 2 examples be more sought after than 646 and 203 in the same cities? A year? two? Or maybe a generation will have to pass before their shine wears off?