Aug. 31 2009 12:00 AM

Despite the tough economic conditions, the latest report by Davidson Consulting, "Computer-Based Fax Markets, 2008-2013," shows that the fax server industry remains healthy.

The overall 2008 fax server market involved the sale of 8,950 fax server units, up 5.9% from 2007, generating flat total fax server revenues of $315.5 million. The increase in new fax server units was largely due to sales of FoIP units, while strong fax maintenance revenues increasing 16.2% from $102 million in 2007 to $118.5 million in 2008 ensured that 2008 total revenues increased during a very hard year.

This is a very good indicator for the fax server industry. It can create revenues from its installed base and rely less on new sales as a growth driver. Overall fax server sales are expected to grow from $315.5 million in 2008 to $495 million in 2013, a 9.4% compound annual growth rate.

For the fax server software itself, the factors that vendors need to watch are led by:

  • Fax over IP servers, which grew 27.2% and is forecasted to grow from $76.2 million in 2008 to $450 million in 2013.
  • VoIP service providers, who will turn to FoIP to T.38-enable the long-haul portions of their networks (SIP trunks) so they can solve the problem of many of their VoIP customers whose fax machines are "broken" by installing VoIP lines. Adding T.38 to their SIP trunks will allow those fax machines to fax over IP lines, which will allow the customers to place their entire voice and fax infrastructures on VoIP services.
  • Multifunction peripherals (MFPs), whose support by fax servers will drive the second most growth in the market and which should account for more nearly one-half of total fax server revenues by the end of the forecast period.

Production fax, which is projected to grow at only a 7.5% rate during the forecast period to $105 million in 2013, but which will grow at a 121.5% CAGR in terms of FoIP installations to $80 million in 2013.

Open Text, which acquired Captaris in late 2008, was the overall fax server leader in 2008, but it faces increased competition, particularly from Sagem Communications but also from every fax server (and service) vendor as they try to take over pieces of the RightFax installed base while there is some confusion in the Open Text camp due to the acquisition. Open Text lost nearly four percent of market share in 2008, while Sagem picked up 6.3%. Sagem Communications is a key competitor and has cut Open Text's lead down to a mere three percent. Sagem held a lead in FoIP fax servers and increased that lead in 2008.

Sagem seems likely to close the gap to some extent because it appears to have more momentum as it mines the FoIP market.

Peter Davidson, [] a fax industry analyst, heads up Davidson Consulting, which offers custom consulting in the area of facsimile.