Let’s Talk Payments recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Sébastien Boire-Lavigne, Executive Vice President and CTO of XMedius Solutions. For over 15 years Sébastien has been a driving force at XMedius Solutions, and has been instrumental in developing XMedius’ technology strategy. Among his many accomplishments, Sébastien led the development of the ground-breaking XMedius Fax-over-IP technology and cloud platforms.
His versatility, wide-ranging technical skills and keen business acumen allow him to seamlessly bridge the technical-business divide. In addition to leading Product Development, Sébastien is also responsible for Customer Services, IT and Information Security.
LTP: To start, could you provide a brief about XMedius and about FOIP Technology?
Sébastien Boire-Lavigne: XMedius is a leading global provider of enterprise-grade solutions for secure document exchange. It allows companies to safely exchange vital and confidential information via its enterprise fax-over-IP (FoIP) solutions, either through on-premises or cloud deployments. Founded in 1996, the company is headquartered in Montreal, Canada and operates in America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. With more than 12 800 deployments globally and as many as 2300 enterprise customers of different sizes, XMedius solutions address a wide spectrum of markets including finance and banking, healthcare, government, manufacturing, legal and education. The infrastructure supporting the XMediusFAX® service meets the rigorous physical, technical, administrative, processes and management controls required to achieve the highest security standard.
XMediusFAX® is a robust fax-over-IP solution supporting the secure and standardized T.38 protocol and G.711 Fax Pass-Through. FoIP refers to the process of sending and receiving fax via a VoIP network. The fax was originally designed for analog networks and cannot travel over a digital VoIP network because fax communication uses the analog signal in a different way than regular voice communication. T38 is a protocol that describes how to send a fax over a computer data network. Globally, with T.38, a fax is converted to an image, sent to the other T38 device and then converted back to an analog fax signal. The latest generation of FoIP systems combines the benefits of traditional faxing with the cost savings of Internet transmission methods.
LTP: How is FOIP playing an important role in banking and financial industry?
SB: Financial organizations such as banks, insurance companies and investment management firms send and receive high volumes of sensitive and confidential information each day. Credit applications, mortgage renewals, insurance claims, financial reports and statements, fund transfers, invoices, regulatory disclosures, loan approvals and denials… These are just a few examples of the type of sensitive information that is exchanged each second.
This information is then used and manipulated by numerous people in different offices, making it very difficult for IT professionals to keep their infrastructure costs and operational risks under control while addressing security concerns and complying with stringent industry regulations.
Sometimes, employees need to retrieve faxes on fax machines or printers sitting in open areas, where everyone that just passes by can see some extremely confidential and restricted information. This is posing privacy and security threats as any employee could access confidential information. Security and integrity of legal contracts, regulations for the protection of intellectual property, personal data, financial transactions and many other financial documents must be maintained to be in compliance with the many regulations that rule the financial world (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Basel II and III). FoIP transmissions are really secured since most of the time faxes are note printed and are routed to a specific folder on a server or even to your Outlook inbox.
The transmission of information by fax is, therefore, a critical business component of a secure financial information system. Fax-over-IP is still one of the most secure methods for exchanging sensitive information while being cost-saving, flexible and easy to use. Fax use in the financial sector is incredibly widespread owing to its high security and to the proof of transmission provided by the acknowledgment receipt. And, unlike an email file, it is virtually almost impossible to manipulate the content of a fax or to intercept it. A study conducted by IBM and the Ponemon Research Institute in 2015 reports that the average total cost of data breaches for companies has increased by 23% in the last two years, and amounts to USD 3.7 million per incident. With those kinds of numbers, it’s normal to take data security seriously, especially for financial companies where a single data breach can darken the reputation indefinitely.
The XMediusFAX solution offers secure protocols for fax transmissions as well as tools and automation mechanisms to process, manage, backup, track and distribute documents required to demonstrate accountability, control and financial transparency. Additionally, it provides users with a redundant high-availability faxing solution available 24/7 via an internet connection.
LTP: Over the years, how has XMedius gone about driving innovation within the industry?
SB: Innovation has always been an integrated part of our business and one of our core values. In 2002, XMedius innovated and became one of the first company to develop and market a Fax-over-IP solution with the product called XMediusFAX®. We even own a patent for our solution. Our FoIP solutions bring the fastest and most reliable fax technology that is available today. Our research and development team is dedicated to developing leading-edge solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers. We understand compliance and regulatory mandates required by numerous vertical industries, so we are constantly looking out for solutions that meet regulations.
In the high-tech world, the pace of change can be breathtaking: today’s breakthrough product is almost instantly seized upon for ongoing refinements and reinventions, and is ultimately transformed, otherwise it quickly becomes obsolete. This leaves us with a choice: we either innovate, or we disappear. For example, not long ago, one of our Multifunction Printer partners came to us looking for a way to stay ahead of the transformation curve, needing a way to address the lower end of the enterprise market, a.k.a the SMB market. What made this project so special is that it led us to develop an innovative prepaid version of our solution, easily downloadable on the multifunction from the Web that would directly respond to some customers’ specific need. This product is the XMediusFAX app, an exclusive fax-over-IP solution that simplifies and eliminates the IT burden associated with installation, configuration and maintenance of fax kits by providing access to a redundant, high-availability cloud-based faxing solutions with no additional infrastructure expenditure.
XMedius works closely with its customers so the company is always evolving. In 2013, a cloud-based transaction platform has been marketed, allowing customers to take advantage of the same features as the software version, but without the capital investment and maintenance fee. In addition, an innovative application for iPhone and iPad was launched in 2015, and an Android application is currently under development and will be launched later this year. To continue to offer high-quality services to our customers and maintain the position of World Leader, the management team will invest $2.5 million CDN in R&D in each of the next three years.
LTP: Who are your biggest competitors and would you say XMedius as a company is ahead of its competitors?
SB: It’s a highly competitive industry in the sense that there is no "giant" or dominant player that reaps all the market shares. It’s an industry where there’s a lot of actors, many small and mid-size companies, most of them looking to grow their businesses and develop new markets. Some of them are exclusively selling their solutions to enterprises like we are, some others are targeting directly individual customers, and some do a little bit of both while proposing complementary products. Our biggest competitors at the moment would be RightFAX, Biscom and Esker, all positioning themselves as a secure document exchange solution for enterprises.
However, we feel we are ahead of the competition for many reasons, the main one being the high quality of our products and the Alcatraz-level security it offers. We provide a die-hard survivability through our unique built-in availability and disaster recovery, which ensures the integrity and availability of your fax data at all time. The scalability of our solution, meaning it has the potential to be enlarged in order to accommodate growth for every company.
There’s also the outstanding level of service we provide with our support, with a highly experienced and certified team that is dedicated to resolving all technical issues through phone, Web and email. We offer a full suite of services including installation, training, professional services as well as a responsive and knowledgeable technical support. Our customer satisfaction concerning the resolution of tickets (issues) is always near 100% and it’s really something that distinguishes us and helps us provide the best product possible.
LTP: As we know, XMedius solutions addresses the needs of a wide variety of industries. Is there any particular industry which is showing increased demand for your solutions?
SB: There are two industries in particular where it seems to have an increased demand for secure document exchange solution: the healthcare sector and the financial sector. There are many reasons for this, the most important being the heavy regulatory context that rule those industries to ensure data privacy.
Healthcare tops the list thanks to the huge array of changes taking place in the field. Between new technological advancements and new regulatory changes hitting the market, FoIP is proving to be a great new addition as it particularly helps to address certain points of one major law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by providing necessary security to transferred documents. Much in the same way as healthcare, finance has its share of regulatory issues involved. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is almost like the financial sector’s equivalent of HIPAA, requiring a similar level of security in document transfer. Even if not specifically required by law, the damage that could be done by mishandled data could cripple a firm in the market, so a secure transfer method like FoIP can be valuable, which is why more and more companies of these two sectors are turning over us for a solution that will help them comply with those regulations.
LTP: What are the challenges that XMedius faces and how do you see the future?
- Develop the solution that will replace the fax: next generation of product in the world of secure document exchange
- Continue to innovate in an industry where technology becomes quickly obsolete
- Educating potential customers: most people see fax as an ancient relic of communication from previous decades, we need to convince them fax is still relevant.
For more information about XMedius Solutions, please visit http://www.xmedius.com/.