Although facsimile systems have existed for more than 25 years, only recently have we seen explosive growth in the use of facsimile, with a corresponding increase in facsimile standards activity. Current standards work concentrates on improving the quality and speed of image transmission and on increasing functionality. The goal is to benefit from the developing technology—higher resolution scanners and printers, and improved processing, storage and communication technology. Topics now under discussion include (but by no means are limited to) transmission of color images, improved compression of bilevel images, facsimile routing, facsimile carried by the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), and facsimile applied to teleconferencing. Personal computers can operate as or can be used to add functionality to facsimile terminals. The result is new standards activity (for example, binary file transfer, database storage and retrieval, computer-facsimile communication, and an Applications Programming Interface). Facsimile and facsimile-
related standards activity are described with particular emphasis on function and performance. Image compression algorithms are an important factor. Communication protocols are also addressed.