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January 4, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Case Group Plc has been showing off a prototype facsimile switch, which it stresses is not a product but a demonstration of the conecpt to guage industry reaction. The latest figures on penetration in the UK facsimile market are staggering with annual growth estimated at 129% per year and the projected sales figure for 1987 in the region of 80,000 machines. Case has added a small amount of software to its Beeline store and forward telex switch, which sends telex messages to a single telex number and then forwards them to the appropriate destination some time afterwards. People should be able to do the same with facsimile messages, says research consultant at Case John Moughton. The idea is that a switch would ascertain from the content of the facsmile message what its destination is. But where a telex message comprises a string of encoded characters, a facsimile message arrives in the form of a scanned image. Therefore we use an optical character recognition program to determine the intended destination of the message, which is looked up in the software’s directory. The message is then routed to its destination or if that process fails it will be displayed on screen so that the operator can fill in the right destination number. Moughton claims that the demonstration has attracted enormous interest from companies that currently have now way of monitoring the use of their populations of facsmile machines. There has been considerable interest also from Case Beeline users who would like a facsmile interface on their Beelines so that recipients of the messages they send can have the choice of getting them in the form of a telex or a facsimile. Case is to add a facsimile interface for the Beeline, enabling customers to send outgoing facsimile messages. Receiving facsimiles on a telex machine would be more of a headache. Moughton is not sure when the facsimile switch might turn into a commercial product, but I would like it to be a product in about a year from now.

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