IM – Facilitating Future Markets

August 9, 2004

in Chat & IM

Combine 330 million IM business users with the 600+ million cellphones to be sold this year and think new real-time collaborative applications. Then consider presence, mobility, and commerce and then ask how you can make it all disappear. Tomorrow’s IM solutions exist for those that facilitate connectivity agents. What do I mean? Your PIM can handle millions of micro data exchanges on your behalf without you knowing. It really begins to work when IM and Mobility converge. This is beginning to happen now.

People are waking up to IM. >“Yankee Group projects that there will be 330 million business users by the end of next year (up from 65 million in 2004)”. Stowe Boyd looks at InterComm from a collaboration perspective and wants shared calendaring, tasks and project management and includes a passioned plea to integrate it with blogging. That’s before including voice and video.

While the merits of collaborative solutions are increasingly obvious, the discussion around communication should pay more attention to IM as a data transport. If you are to run a scenario that suggests that IM (or IM / VoIP / Presence / Blog CMS) is likely to replace the phone system then we shouldn’t focus just on the voice part, or the click to connect. The real value will be in the zero cost of shuffling almost unlimted data between individuals. This little clip I recently saw sort of supports this. DIM – Hijacking. Unfortunate I don’t think it is from a user centric perspective.

Move over teenagers, the heaviest users of instant messaging are about to become computers themselves. In the beginning, IM communication was strictly a human-to-human affair. A few years ago companies starting sending alerts (and increasingly spam) via IM making it a computer-to-human affair. Now, with the advent of Data over Instant Messaging (DIM) technology, IM is rapidly set to become a computer-to-computer affair.

Why send data over IM? One reason is that IM infrastructures have solved a lot of tough technical problems such as firewall traversal, multi-protocol transformation, and real-time presence management. Sending messages over these networks allows applications to leverage the investments made to solve these tough problems. Another reason is that many companies already have IM “friendly” infrastructures which means that all the necessary firewall ports are open, the clients are already certified and installed, and operations infrastructure like logging, back-up, and even high-availability are already in place. Thus by using IM for computer-to-computer communication, developers are able to “hijack” all the valuable investment made in IM and use it for a purpose that its creators likely never intended.

Burnham’s Beat

I tend to think of this as creating an eBay environment for sharing personal information.

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