IMLogic looks to provide the missing linkage

A lack of programming interfaces between applications and popular instant messaging platforms is a shortcoming that IMLogic hopes to solve with its new linkage software.

Instant messaging management software vendor IMLogic Inc. on Monday demonstrated software that lets enterprises embed IM capabilities into their applications.

The software, called IM Linkage Preview Edition, is being distributed to early adopters and shown at Demo 2004 in Scottsdale, Ariz., this week.

Researchers say that they are seeing IM used as a business tool more often. "It's something you can do to multitask," said Trent Henry, an analyst at the Burton Group, Midvale, Utah.

The Radicati Group, a Palo Alto, Calif., market research firm that specializes in messaging, said last year that it expected corporate IM accounts to rise from 52 million in 2003 to 349 million in 2007. Radicati analysts say that they've seen a recent increase in companies that budget for corporate IM and which are readying their IT staff to support it.

IM usage today occurs on varying platforms, like AOL's AIM and Yahoo, but application programming interfaces to link them are lacking. For example, a developer may want to write an application and use the AIM protocol, said Jon Sakoda, vice president of products at IMLogic, Waltham, Mass.

IM Linkage supports all the leading consumer IM networks, such as AIM, Yahoo or MSN, so developers can integrate one of those technologies into their own applications, he said.

The software might be useful to messaging administrators under pressure to integrate their messaging environments with other applications, experts say.

Thompson Financial plans to use the toolkit to add presence awareness to some of the 500 services in its investment portfolio, said Jeremy Condie, senior vice president of communication services at New York-based Thompson Financial. In one case, Condie said, the company plans to embed presence awareness data in the text that shows authors' names for some research materials. Customers reading the pieces can see who authored the material and whether that person is sitting at his desk and able to answer questions.

"It might help a customer determine which piece to read -- knowing I can ping the author to get further insight," Condie said.

Condie said that he sees this application being useful in various segments of his company's business.

Another bonus is the fact that the software lets Thompson Financial work with a variety of IM clients.

IMLogic said that about 50 early adopters are using the technology today. The linkage software will be available in the second quarter, the company said. The company plans to launch the embedded presence capabilities within the next 60 to 90 days. A price for the software has not yet been set, but Sakoda said that it will cost about as much as an application server.

In addition to multiple IM protocols, Sakoda said, the toolkit supports J2EE, .NET and Web services standards.


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