Cutting edge fax

FaxCore lets you manage faxes as easily as e-mail

Regular readers know I hate faxes. Frank LaRocca hates faxes, too, but as a matrimonial lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey, he has to use them. When LaRocca found his plain paper fax was going through about 2,500 pages per week supporting seven attorneys and five assistants, he knew it was time to upgrade. He wanted faxing to be as much like e-mail as possible, which meant getting them into the computer for easy archiving and searching.

LaRocca’s computer support consultant, Paul Banco of CiBan, recently began offering a Microsoft Windows .Net-implemented product from FaxCore. LaRocca had Banco install the FaxCore Standard package ($1,995).

The result? “Faxes are usable electronic documents now,” LaRocca says. “My staff is never happy with technology and resists change, but this morning my assistant was smiling because of FaxCore."

In two weeks with FaxCore, LaRocca’s office has received nearly 1,000 faxes, the average being between three and four pages. “I do FaxCore like e-mail,” LaRocca says. “I keep everything in one spot on my computer, I don't print anything I don't have to, and that saves space in the office. All the legal files stay in digital format.”

To support the system, LaRocca added a new Dell PowerEdge Xeon server running Windows 2003 Web Edition. FaxCore requires the .Net framework, so it needs either a Windows 2003 Server or an upgraded Windows 2000 Server with added .Net software. Since the Windows 2003 Web Edition software costs only $379, LaRocca saved a bundle not buying a full Windows 2003 Server. While he could have run FaxCore on his existing server, many consultants recommend dedicating servers to major applications to avoid overloading Windows.

Since FaxCore also requires a fax board in the server to handle the phone line connection and communicate with other fax machines, Banco installed a two-port Brooktrout Technologies intelligent fax board ($1,995). The FaxCore system, minus the Windows server hardware, cost around $4,500.

Unlike traditional client-based fax software, FaxCore is browser-based — no client software is necessary. All the processing happens at the server, which makes it easy for LaRocca to fax from home or anywhere he has browser access. FaxCore also uses a strong back-end relational database to manage faxes, so LaRocca can search every fax attribute, such as tracking fields for client file numbers.

“This is like a [content management system] taken to fax,” Banco says. Other fax vendors are heading in this direction, but FaxCore leads the way.

Individual pages of long faxes can be printed or saved separately from the full document. The faxes are saved in either TIFF or PDF making them easy to index.

LaRocca says FaxCore took little training, installed quickly and does what it promised. Being based on .Net, he’s limited to using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but no special plug-ins are needed.

I still hate faxes, but LaRocca drives home how vital they continue to be in some industries. If that’s the case for you, let me know what you’re using. And if you love fax technology and want to read more about it, let me know that, too.

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