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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Instant Messaging: New Developments in Presence, and Real Time Information Interchange

This was a Webinar presented by Ferris Research, a San Francisco-based research institute focused on messaging and collaborative technologies.

Instant Messaging (IM) began largely as a proprietary service ...
From this beginning, we have seen: presence extended to other devices (telephony handsets, cell phones, PDAs, applications, etc.), the addition of other forms of real-time information interchange based on audio, video, file transfer, and structured text; and the support of multi-point interchanges (conferencing). We have seen the emergence of standards that define protocols for both the internal use, and the linkage, of presence and real-time information interchange systems and services, and we have seen new entrants (Skype, GoogleTalk, etc.) lead with audio capabilities.

The webinar presented three good speakers that provided different perspectives on the IM and Presence area.

  1. Nick Shelness, Senior Analyst, Ferris Research, and Independent Technology Consultant, started with an overview of history of IM, the architecture of presence systems, and the standards involved. He mentioned the use of SIP/SIMPLE and XMPP as the standards in use now.

  2. Joe Hildebrand, Chief Technology Officer, Jabber Inc, then discussed the approach of Jabber Inc to the IM space, and the need to incorporate capability into the presence protocols to enable the roaming of end users across multiple device endpoints. He listed 3 outstanding problems in 1) close consumer systems that will not federate, 2) ongoing changes to the SIP/SIMPLE protocol, and 3) security and trust issues

  3. Adam Gartenberg, Offering Manager Real-time Collaboration Offerings, IBM Lotus, also discussed the need to cater for different device endpoints and the ability to select different modes of interaction. He also spoke of the move toward "2nd generation" real-time collaboration by the integration of data feeds into the interaction - "“real-time as a platform, not just a communication device"

The question and answer session then bought up further issues:

Will IM replace email, including for document transfer?

Yes, the increase in spam on SMTP means IM is a more attractive interaction medium as it is protected from spam by having a “deny” by default policy, however the major concern is from virus threats in file transfer, but IM “servers/brokers are now addressing that with server base virus scanning. However IM is not (traditionally) a store and forward interaction, and we can’t be online all the time!

Will we see federated communities of IM users

IM communities will have to interoperate for IM to replace/compete with email for communication. This will expose IM to the same issues of security and spam as email faces.

Application interaction through IM

I was excited by the prospect that new online applications will be proactive as a bot based interface across IM. This has been seen to some regard, and the XMPP protocol makes this very easy to implement. It was over 5 years ago that I did a paper on Intelligent Agents, and saw the promise for this interaction, once the IM client is as interoperable as a web browser we might see this promise realized.

Thanks to Ferris for putting on this webinar, I look forward to the next one: Mobile Messaging Devices, 2006-2011


Blogger what_nick said...

Hmm sounds like stuff I have been doing with
Jabber ... Where is ur Intelligent Agent's paper ?

Sun. May 21, 02:59:00 pm ACST


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