Jabber Readying IM Appliance for SMBs

By Ryan Naraine
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It's no secret that instant messaging is becoming a staple of office communications. Industry giants such as Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have been focusing and refocusing their efforts to find a way to make the technology viable for businesses (and profitable for them). However, those efforts have largely been directed toward bigger enterprises willing to invest thousands to make IM a safe, secure and productive application.

In move designed to target smaller operations, IM software firm Jabber Inc. earlier this week announced plans to release of what it describes as a plug-and-play IM appliance designed for small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs).

The new appliance is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of next year and will run on the Jabber Extensible Communications Platform (Jabber XCP).

Of course, in the tech world, any discussion of emerging product categories usually involves a standards debate. The IM world is no different. The competing standards are the Jabber-endorsed Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (or XMPP) and the IBM- and Microsoft-backed Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (or SIMPLE). Both are designed to bring interoperability to the market.

Looking to bridge the two protocols, Jabber is working on an XMPP-to-SIP Gateway to achieve interoperability with IBM's Lotus IM product. The company said the release of an SMB instant messaging appliance will coincide with a new version of the Jabber XCP Platform and an upgraded Jabber Messenger desktop client.

Jabber XCP is a presence, messaging and XML routing infrastructure that is used to create real-time applications, systems and services. Enterprise customers use Jabber XCP to presence-enable real-time applications such as workflow systems, transactional financial trading systems, alert and notification systems and customer service portals.

The company said the new Jabber XCP 4.0 will launch with developer extensions that can be purchased separately by business customers. The extensions include a software developer kit (SDK), Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and an Information Broker to handle content distribution for real-time information.

It will also support Web Services to embed presence and messaging into other applications using SOAP-based APIs and a Presence Mirror to allow access to users' availability information via a database connection.

Jabber said the product suite will also include wireless IM clients for RIM (BlackBerry), PocketPC, SmartPhone, J2ME, Symbian, Short Message Servce and Wireless Application Protocol.

The company also said the re-engineered Jabber Messenger 3.0 desktop client adds support for extended character sets and localization of text strings to support users internationally.

It will be fitted with features that allow users to customize displays, notifications and other user preferences and user-friendly wizards to handle commands for text conferencing, buddy list management and keyword filtering.

Article originally appeared on Internetnews.com</a>.
This article was originally published on September 24, 2004

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