VSI Proposes New XML Interface for Fax

VSI Proposes New XML Interface for Fax

Fax Over XML Could Solve Key Issues in the Fax Service Community

SAN DIEGO, CA. - August 03, 1998. VSI (V-Systems Inc.) Monday outlined a simple method for integrating applications to fax servers using XML, the latest Internet technology for data interchange between applications.

Launched at a time when both network fax and XML are coming into the mainstream, VSI believes that their proposal, called ``XML-F'', has the potential to solve a major issue facing the fax service community.

XML-F is an open interface that can be used by any application vendor, fax service provider, and fax server. ``Fax-enabling applications -- where live data is merged on-the-fly into fax forms -- is without question the most productive and strategic form of computer faxing,'' explained Peter Davidson, a leading fax industry analyst with Davidson Consulting and International Data Corp.


The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a metalanguage for representing data content across a network. As proposed by VSI, XML-F (for ``Fax'') uses an open XML-based standard for connecting fax servers to applications, other fax servers, and fax service providers.

Specifically, said David Droman, VSI's founder and chief executive officer, ``There is a critical need for a consistent, simple way to connect fax servers with applications that need faxing services. Everyone sees the problem of non-standardization in the network fax industry, but until XML, there hasn't been a decent platform upon which to solve it.''

``Although fax-enabled applications are already implemented rather widely -- they comprise VSI's core business and area of expertise. The problem has been that a unique interface must be created between every piece of fax software and every application. So, if a vendor wants its fax server to integrate with 100 applications, it must create, debug and support 100 different interfaces. The promise of XML-F is the ability to create just one interface and still be interoperable with all 100 applications. XML-F could make paper-based distribution of live data commonplace, in turn providing a tremendous growth driver for the entire computer fax industry.''

XML-F is not a product, but rather a proposed fax server interface format set that can simplify the way fax networks are developed and maintained. By agreeing on a common fax format, applications and fax servers can all inter-operate with any system that accepts that format. By using XML, a great deal of the work involved in implementing and conforming to that common format is eliminated. Mitch Baxter, president and chief operating officer at VSI, has confirmed that XML-F will form the basis for future VSI products.

Said Baxter, ``We have always been strong in embedded application fax. We have applied our experience with literally hundreds of integrations toward a specification that relies on three primary structures: send a fax, check status of a fax, and cancel a sent fax.''

VSI's future products will rely on XML-F both for application communication and for communications across networks, including the Internet.

Baxter continued, ``XML for fax is just the sort of use the framers of XML had in mind, and we're pleased to be the first to announce our inclusion of it in our core technology.''

Industry Support of XML

VSI partners like ECbridges Inc., providers of EDI solutions for QAD and other ERP environments agree that XML will advance fax technology.

``As a true enabling technology for fax integration, VSI's XML-F proposal directly addresses the development needs for extensible, standardized fax integration,'' said Ray Poppino, vice president of Product Management at ECbridges. ``Today, CommerceNet and ANSI X.12 committees are addressing the use of XML for EDI. VSI's XML-F proposal further validates the power of XML for communicating semantics and content across application boundaries.''

Another area of interest lies in supporting large to super-large messaging environments.

Donald Raleigh, senior consultant at Control Data Systems Inc., remarked that ``Enterprise-wide messaging presents unique challenges to MIS staffs, and Control Data has been at the forefront of delivering world class, global messaging solutions. The ability to integrate XML-F into a fully distributed, business quality-messaging environment will be of great benefit to our existing and potential customers.'' Raleigh continued, ``We at Control Data sense that VSI is right on target with their XML initiatives, and will be able to meet the challenges of a fully distributed environment.''

VSI believes the benefits of XML-F will be numerous. ``One-off interfaces have been developed and maintained for too long,'' said Droman. ``Fax is a very simple and widespread protocol -- all you need to send a fax is a fax number. The goal of XML-F is to make fax server integration almost as simple as sending faxes from a fax machine.''

For more information, contact Lydia Loizides at lydia@vsi.com or 949/487-7138.

Based in Southern California, VSI (V-Systems Inc.) is recognized as a leading developer of integrated network fax solutions. VSI's vision is to help businesses save money by improving the effectiveness of their fax communications.

The company's flagship software, VSI-FAX, is used by hundreds of VARs and major corporations including The Home Depot, Marriott Corp., and BellSouth to fax-enable desktops and fax-automate business systems. VSI-FAX runs on all flavors of Unix and Microsoft Windows NT servers as well as in Windows, Unix, and Web client computing environments.


     VSI, San Diego
     Lydia Loizides, +1 949 487-7138