IBM's wireless IM ready for business

Offering what it claims is the first wireless instant messaging (IM) system fit for business, IBM Corp.'s Lotus Development Corp. subsidiary unveiled a new IM software for wireless devices at its annual Lotus DevCon developers' conference in Las Vegas Monday.

The new IBM software, dubbed Sametime Everyplace 1.0, will allow the over 80 million Lotus Notes users to detect the availability of co-workers and send them IMs over wireless devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and Pocket PCs.

The software will be available in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific within 30 days through Lotus Passport resellers, Lotus ESD resellers, the Lotus Web site and IBM Global Services, the company said. Pricing is not yet available.

A Lotus spokesman said Monday that the company has yet to decide what type of licensing scheme the software will be offered under.

IBM's new offering comes amid heightened interest in the burgeoning IM industry, which is trying to make the leap from the technology's early beginnings with chatty teens, to the quick-draw corporate market.

As well as traditional IM functions, the new software includes business-savvy features, such as awareness functionality which indicates not only who is online but what their role is within the organization. The system can indicate, for example, when a corporate group leader or expert is online. The IM system also caters to business users by including a firewall to ensure privacy, the spokesman said.

Although the software offers text and awareness functions it does not yet offer file sharing, given that current wireless devices do not readily support this feature, a Lotus spokesman said.

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