TMCnet News

The Showdown for 'Public' Instant Messaging and Convergence With IP Telephony
[October 14, 2005]

The Showdown for 'Public' Instant Messaging and Convergence With IP Telephony

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View
When Microsoft announced that their enterprise instant messaging product, then called Istanbul, would interoperate with the two leading consumer IM services provided by AOL and Yahoo (in addition to it’s own MSN Messenger service), I jumped to the conclusion that AOL’s stranglehold on a “public” IM network was over. Ha! It only opened the door for enterprise IM to interoperate with those two consumer services.

This week’s announcement by Microsoft and Yahoo that they will allow interoperability between their two IM services is the real beginning of “public” converged, multi-modal communications, alias “unified telecommunications.” The battle is only beginning, as not only market leader AOL is not (yet) willing to join with Microsoft and Yahoo, but also powerful IM newcomer Google is also a consumer player to be reckoned with.

It’s Also About IP Telephony
In case you hadn’t noticed, all of the IM players are including IP telephony capabilities as part of their IM service offerings, converging SIP-based telephone services with their IM presence technology. This will finally move personal communications management from the silos of the TDM world to our long-time vision of multi-modal “unified telecommunications.” This is particularly pertinent since “real-time” message exchange is becoming a serious competitor to the use of telephones for time-critical person-to-person contacts.
Throw in the cost-saving factors of “VoIP”–based telephone services, and you have a real winner for the consumer markets. For enterprise organizations that have to deal with their consumer customers, this convergence will also facilitate the way customer contacts are handled. It paves the way for the so-called “multichannel” enterprise contact center, which tried to deal with the silos of voice connections and messaging exchanges, to become a more flexible and efficient  “virtual” and “transmodal” contact center.
The Future of Business Messaging
 As I have frequently said in my many presentations about “unified communications,” the growing importance of asynchronous and real-time messaging will not eliminate the role of the voice telecommunications. “You are not losing a daughter, you are gaining a son-in-law!”
What is really happening is that the telephone is no longer going to be limited to voice conversations and touchtone Telephone User Interfaces, but with screen displays of various sizes, and text keyboards, will become multi-modal devices. For handheld mobile devices, speech recognition and text-to-speech will facilitate voice control for people on the go who have to be hands-free and eyes-free.
The subject of converging business messaging is the focus of joint enterprise messaging conference sessions the week of October 16t, 2005, sponsored by two leading messaging organizations, the International Association of Messaging Professionals (IAMP), formerly the old Octel User’s Group, and the Open Group’s Messaging Forum, formerly the old Electronic Messaging Association (EMA).
Free Registration to Hear Industry Leaders Discuss The Future of Messaging Convergence
The messaging conference will offer an opportunity for enterprise messaging managers of both email and voice mail to participate with the conference audience that will hear industry leaders in three "virtual" highlight sessions.
The “virtual” sessions will be panel discussions of key issues and hard questions about technology and market directions in the following areas:
Enterprise Provider Industry Visions
 (Tuesday, Oct.18th, 10:45 AM-Noon, Central Time)
The messaging industry’s vision for where and how multi-modal communication convergence is really going and how enterprise messaging will interoperate with IP telephony.
Contact Mobility
 (Wednesday, Oct.19th, 10:45 AM- Noon, Central Time) –
The impact that wireless handheld devices and presence management will have on multi-modal communications efficiencies.
Migration and Administration
(Wednesday, Oct.19th, 1:30 PM- 2:45 PM, Central Time) –
This session will focus on migration planning and changes in organizational support of converged, multi-modal communications.
Participating enterprise messaging provider panelists include:
  • Avaya
  • Nortel
  • Siemens
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • Adomo
Free Registration for “Virtual sessions
Avaya is sponsoring access to the first two sessions, and Nortel is sponsoring access to the third session on a limited, first-come, first-served basis.
To attend one or more of these free “virtual” sessions, please register immediately at the Open Group’s web site at:
For further details on the conference programs, registration, and the questions that will be discussed in the “virtual” sessions, go to the IAMP web site at If you are an enterprise email manager, you might want to check out the Messaging Forum’s email conference program as well as the “virtual” session details at their web site at
Coming to L.A. for the Internet Telephony Conference? Attend my panel discussions!
If you are coming to TMC’s Internet Telephony show in L.A. (October 24-27), you will be interested in hearing my industry panelists answer some hard questions about the future of enterprise “communication applications” and the role of presence in unified communications. (Sorry, no “virtual” participation yet!)
For details on the conference, go to
IAMP- Messaging Forum “Virtual” Sessions
 Houston TX – October 18, 19, 2005
“Virtual” Session One – Tuesday, October 18, 10:45 AM-Noon
Provider panel on technology and market perspectives
Where are we going?  - The Future of Messaging in Converged Business Telecommunications – “One number” vs. “One device” vs. “One mailbox”
Introduction – Defining Business Telecommunications –
o People access vs. business information access
o Wireless mobility and personalized accessibility
o Real-time information delivery to people and multi-modal access
o “Transmodal” vs. “multi-modal” communications
o Mobility, device independence, and device interoperability
Panel Questions
1.      What are the biggest deficiencies in operational business telecommunications today? (Personal accessibility, group conferencing, text/voice messaging, application information delivery, etc.)
2.      What are the next big changes in business telecommunication technologies (telephony, messaging) and how will they pay off to the business enterprise?
3.      How will business messaging communications change in light of wireless mobility and multi-modal device capabilities? Will messaging become more or less important because of lower IP telephony costs and greater mobile accessibility?
4.      How will presence and availability management really change business communication paradigms, especially voice mail application functions like personalized call routing, caller messaging, message notification, message reply options, etc.?
5.      What is changing for contact initiator and recipient priorities in terms of voice messages, email, IM, wireless messaging?  
6.      What changes should we expect to desktop phones to accommodate convergence with multi-modal messaging and wireless mobility? (“Hard” phones vs. PC “softphones)
7.      What impact will new regulatory archiving requirements have on both telephony and messaging responsibilities in the enterprise? (Storage, retrieval, security, privacy)
8.      As business telecommunications converge and become device and interface independent and application functionality becomes pure software, what will become the main components (servers, clients) in a comprehensive suite converged business applications? 
9.      What impact will this have on enterprise technology procurements (e.g., managed CPE vs. hosted applications, proprietary software suites vs. open, “best in class” applications, mobile device software management, security responsibilities, etc.) Will “verticalized” applications drive suite procurements for vertical markets like health care, education, government, financial services, insurance, hospitality, etc., especially for mobile communications?
10.  What are the biggest drivers and the barriers for enterprise market movements to multi-modal business messaging convergence (by enterprise size)?
11.  What are the biggest misconceptions about converged communication technology that you are seeing at the level of:
Executive management?
Technology management?
Business end users?
12.  Are operational productivity metrics becoming as important to executive management as simple cost reductions for communication technology justification?
13.  How should enterprise organizations prepare for the coming changes (business management, technology management, end users)? What role will wireless carriers services play in supporting enterprise multi-modal communications?
14.  What enterprise need is “triggering” serious migration planning and implementation action for IP-based converged and integrated messaging? Are vertical markets reacting differently and requiring different features/functions or just different user interface device packaging?
15.  Who in the enterprise should be responsible for how internal end users communicate (other than with customers) most effectively and efficiently?
16.  What impact will converged communication technologies have on customer contacts, e.g., customer messaging, customer “transmodal” communication, mobile customers, etc.?
17.  What new operational tools and metrics will the enterprise need to manage and control effective use of all forms of business telecommunications? How should enterprise messaging activities be supported and managed within the IT organization?
18.  What are the three most significant shifts in marketing strategies that telecommunications providers are undergoing in light of IP-based convergence?

[ Back To's Homepage ]