Looking to extend IM as a tool for enterprise collaboration, Divine Inc. and Jabber Inc. have separately rolled out updates to their IM platforms.
Divine on Monday rolled out MindAlign 2002, an updated version of its secure, real-time presence and communication tool for businesses.
MindAlign expands the buddy list concept of IM to include community topic rooms in which message data remains persistent. The offering lets users quickly move from one-to-one chat into the persistent channels for ongoing discussion and project development. Private IM sessions also can be launched from within the rooms.
The concept of an IM buddy list as jumping-off point for enterprise collaboration is not a complete solution and does not scale to meet enterprise needs, according to Dave Zaret, director of collaboration at divine, based in Chicago.
"With IM it is assumed that the individual using the system knows those people they need to add to their buddy list, but inside an enterprise there might be 500 people who care about the information I have," he said. "Our approach, rather than the end-user having to add people to a buddy list, [is] we have topic rooms where users come and go but the data is persistent."
MindAlign monitors topic rooms on behalf of the user and sends a notification when new information relates to the user's job. In addition, divine offers an integration toolkit that can be used to tie applications and processes into the topic rooms.
Some new enhancements to MindAlign include a Web interface that lets organizations embed IM topic rooms in Web pages for browser-based access outside the firewall. The Web capability also allows users to embed the MindAlign HTML interface in corporate portals and other applications, according to divine officials.
Other improvements include a more robust integration API, the addition of Microsoft NT support, and improved scalability to as many as 50,000 concurrent users.
Meanwhile, Denver-based Jabber has released a new IM client for its Jabber Extensible Instant Messaging system.
The Jabber Messenger client features enhanced LDAP support, which is designed to improve the management of user groups. Specifically, LDAP support enables a Community Groups capability that lets Jabber import group information out of LDAP directories, instead of adding users individually. In addition, IM users can view the presence of group members and send messages to entire groups.
"This makes adding groups of people to buddy lists easier and you don't have to keep track of each user," said Dave Smith, product manager for Jabber products. "You can add engineering as a group, for example."
Jabber Messenger also integrates with Microsoft Corp.'s NetMeeting, which lets users start NetMeeting sessions within Jabber. The integration also lets NetMeeting users detect each other's presence and launch real-time collaborative applications such as whiteboarding, audio and videoconferencing, and application-sharing, Jabber officials said.
In addition, Jabber Messenger includes content delivery capabilities designed to allow enterprises to push relevant content to users in real time.
"This is an example of how Jabber is more than just IM; It is about moving data across a network in a near real-time way and tying that all together in a real-time way," Smith said.
Jabber supports content delivery through an embedded Web browser and XML support, which allows Jabber's routing and presence capabilities to move any form of XML content from one point to another, Smith said.
Available now, Jabber Messenger pricing is included in a license for the Jabber Communications Platform.