COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: October 2007

Faxing your way to a paperless, eco-friendly office

31 October 2007
Walter Bredell, head of Integr8 FAX

The influence of information and communication technology and infrastructure on the physical environment is certainly not a new topic of discussion. However, it is interesting to note the extent to which manufacturers are now considering this aspect of trade in product supply and distribution.
Green technology manufacture and supply has developed from an issue of general debate to a key, mandatory business-centric consideration. And the commercial fax is positioned at the centre of this growing trend. Consumers are aware of the benefits of well-placed technology and the many uses associated with digital lifestyle products. However, there is growing concern over the cost of mass technology production and the impact of roll out on our surroundings.
Socially responsible managers and decision makers are often faced with the challenge of integrating new technology solutions, but with the cost-to-company and environment always in mind. This is partially why the advent of fax-to-e-mail solutions has emerged as a popular technology investment for businesses.
Unlike many other technologies, this infrastructure is not limited to a specific business environment or logistic considerations such as size or budget - it serves as a reminder to decision makers that strategic, user-friendly, competitive technology solutions do exist. A powerful, differential quality of this technology is that it represents a practical, affordable contribution towards a paperless office. This is the product's highest rated feature in terms of being eco-friendly, ergonomic infrastructure.
A user simply faxes a document to the fax-to-e-mail number, issued upon registration for the service, and this fax is sent through to the mail server hosted at the Data Centre at MTNns.
The server automatically converts the paper document into a tiff or PDF file and this is then sent through as an e-mail to the intended recipient. It is a fast, secure and effective process, there is no need to invest in - or risk misuse of huge volumes of paper. Documents are sent to specific e-mail addresses, which eliminates wastage and enhances the security of digital information transfer. There is no need to invest in expensive fax server systems or the associated maintenance and support staff.
The human resource also needs to be considered. At year-end, at a time when leave is usually given and staff are away, it helps to know that your business remains in touch - even when there are no people behind PCs. Fax numbers can also be re-routed to available company staff to deal with important information received.
The system allows the investor to free up Telkom fax lines or use them as telephone lines, and leverages off available communications infrastructure (e-mail, Internet infrastructure, systems and software).
Another attractive feature of this technology is that users receive a confirmation of delivery/non-delivery via e-mail. It eliminates the media cost of incoming faxes, saves on paper and ink, incoming faxes are free and one only has to print required faxes to the printer.
All these features amount to very little if the end result is a below average experience for the client. Fortunately the offering has added value to several clients including Mondi Packaging and Freddy Hirsch Group.
Their comments are that the facility is being used extensively and general feedback from users has been very positive. Carte Blanche recently ran two inserts based on the impact of modern society on the environment.
In the one segment, the question was asked as to whether Mpumulanga's timber plantations are having an adverse affect on water sources and contributing to the devastation of the renowned Sudwala Caves. This was soon followed by a special in-depth show dedicated to the environment called 'coolearth', which discussed an array of subjects including the affect of air travel on the environment and the impact of a projected increase in travellers.
These are just a few stories out of so many, but which strongly remind us of the fact that our natural resources have to be protected. Technology must work towards empowering individuals, but not at the cost of Mother Earth.


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