E-Mail, FAX, Voice and Video Messaging, Video Conferencing19/03/2020
Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages (“mail”) between people using electronic devices. Invented by Ray Tomlinson, email first entered limited use in the 1960s and by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email. Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet. Some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging. Today’s email systems are based on a store-and-forward model. Email servers accept, forward, deliver, and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need to connect only briefly, typically to a mail server or a webmail interface for as long as it takes to send or receive messages or to download it.
Originally an ASCII text-only communications medium, Internet email was extended by Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) to carry text in other character sets and multimedia content attachments. International email, with internationalized email addresses using UTF-8, has been standardized, but as of 2017 it has not been widely adopted.
The history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early ARPANET, with standards for encoding email messages published as early as 1973. An email message sent in the early 1970s looks very similar to a basic email sent today.
Fax (short for facsimile), sometimes called telecopying or telefax (the latter short for telefacsimile), is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device. The original document is scanned with a fax machine (or a telecopier), which processes the contents (text or images) as a single fixed graphic image, converting it into a bitmap, and then transmitting it through the telephone system in the form of audio-frequency tones. The receiving fax machine interprets the tones and reconstructs the image, printing a paper copy. Early systems used direct conversions of image darkness to audio tone in a continuous or analog manner. Since the 1980s, most machines modulate the transmitted audio frequencies using a digital representation of the page which is compressed to quickly transmit areas which are all-white or all-black.
Fax in the 21st century
Although businesses usually maintain some kind of fax capability, the technology has faced increasing competition from Internet-based alternatives. In some countries, because electronic signatures on contracts are not yet recognized by law, while faxed contracts with copies of signatures are, fax machines enjoy continuing support in business. In Japan, faxes are still used extensively for cultural and graphemic reasons and are available for sending to both domestic and international recipients from over 81% of all convenience stores nationwide. Convenience-store fax machines commonly print the slightly re-sized content of the sent fax in the electronic confirmation-slip, in A4 paper size.
In many corporate environments, freestanding fax machines have been replaced by fax servers and other computerized systems capable of receiving and storing incoming faxes electronically, and then routing them to users on paper or via an email. Such systems have the advantage of reducing costs by eliminating unnecessary printouts and reducing the number of inbound analog phone lines needed by an office.
The once ubiquitous fax machine has also begun to disappear from the small office and home office environments. Remotely hosted fax-server services are widely available from VoIP and e-mail providers allowing users to send and receive faxes using their existing e-mail accounts without the need for any hardware or dedicated fax lines. Personal computers have also long been able to handle incoming and outgoing faxes using analog modems or ISDN, eliminating the need for a stand-alone fax machine. These solutions are often ideally suited for users who only very occasionally need to use fax services. In July 2017 the United Kingdom’s National Health Service was said to be the world’s largest purchaser of fax machines because the digital revolution has largely bypassed it. In June 2018 the Labour Party said that the NHS had at least 11,620 fax machines in operation and in December the Department of Health and Social Care said that no more fax machines could be bought from 2019 and that the existing ones must be replaced by secure email by 31 March 2020.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, generally viewed as digitally advanced in the NHS, was engaged in a process of removing its fax machines in early 2019. This involved quite a lot of e-fax solutions because of the need to communicate with pharmacies and nursing homes which may not have access to the NHS email system and may need something in their paper records.
In 2018 two-thirds of Canadian doctors reported that they primarily used fax machines to communicate with other doctors. Faxes are still seen as safer and more secure and electronic systems are often unable to communicate with each other.
A voice message is a message containing audio of a person’s voice. Voice itself could be ‘packaged’ and sent through the IP backbone so that it reaches its marked ‘address’. In a technical sense, the process of sending ‘voice packets’ is a semi passive way of communication. However, given the speed at which it could be delivered can make the communication sound seamless.
Communicating visually with another person via computer. Video chat may refer to video calling or video messaging. For example, Facebook’s Skype and Apple’s FaceTime video calling services are sometimes called video chat. However, true video chat is more like text chat, whereby one party sends a message and waits for a reply. See chat, video calling, video instant messaging, videoconferencing and Glide.
Video conferencing is a technology that allows users in different locations to hold face-to-face meetings without having to move to a single location together. This technology is particularly convenient for business users in different cities or even different countries because it saves time, expense, and hassle associated with business travel. Uses for video conferencing include holding routine meetings, negotiating business deals, and interviewing job candidates.
How Video Conferencing Works?
Video conferencing’s main advantage over teleconferencing is that users can see each other, which allows them to develop stronger relationships. When a video conference is held for informal purposes, it is called a video call or video chat.
There are a variety of ways video conferencing can be conducted. Individuals may use web cameras connected to our built into laptop, tablet, or desktop computers. Smartphones equipped with cameras may also be used to connect for video conferences. In such instances, a software-based platform typically is used to transmit the communication over Internet protocols.
Some businesses use dedicated video conferencing rooms that have been equipped with high-grade cameras and screens to ensure the conversation is clear and with limited technical faults. Third-party providers often install and assemble the hardware needed to conduct the video conference.
Uses of Video Conferencing
Companies with multiple offices might establish direct video communications between their locations in order to allow their teams to work more collaboratively.
Video conferencing can also be used as a medium for conducting training, with the instructor teaching a remote class from almost anywhere. This can be done in a corporate context, especially for getting workers the knowledge they need to better perform their jobs. The academic world can also make use of video conferencing to connect a traditional classroom setting with students who are based a considerable distance from the school.
A video conference may also be used to conduct regular meetings with a company staff or to confer with shareholders about the latest activities at the business. It may be used to announce significant changes at a company, such as introducing a new CEO or to present information in an interactive way that allows all participants to engage in discussion about what they see on screen.
Hotels and conference centers sometimes make video conferencing services available to guests who require such services. This may be offered in suites or conference rooms that have been equipped for this purpose.