Instant Messaging - Instant Messaging Definition Instant...

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Unformatted text preview: Instant Messaging Definition Instant messaging (IM) is an Internet protocol (IP)–based application that provides convenient communication between people using a variety of different device types. The most familiar today is computer-to-computer instant text messaging, but IM also can work with mobile devices, such as digital cellular phones, and can incorporate voice or video. Although there are a number of free Internet-based messaging services, IM is a feature that carriers can offer to increase customer loyalty and add value to their service offerings. Overview The millions of people using current Internet IM services and the growing popularity of short text messaging on mobile phone s demonstrate that a market exists for IM services. Carriers can take advantage of this opportunity by offering advanced messaging services that integrate both fixed and mobile access and add new features that are not possible on free Web-based messaging services. This tutorial will provide a general overview of IM services and how carriers and end users can benefit from these services. Topics 1. The Current Status of IM 2. IM as an Integrated Communications Platform 3. Network-Based versus Device-Based Approaches 4. Presence Awareness 5. Security Issues 6. Standards and IM 7. Revenue Potentials 8. Conclusion Self- Test Correct Answers Glossary 1. The Current Status of IM IM once was the domain of teenagers who had found the high-tech equivalent to passing notes in class. They used the Internet and on-line services to chat from their computers. But with 600 million messages sent a day with America Online's messaging service alone, not to mention the other IM services such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Lycos Instant Messenger, use of this service has clearly moved to the mainstream as adults find messaging an easy, convenient way to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues with more immediacy than e-mail and without the expense of long-distance phone calls. The growth of short message service (SMS) on mobile phones is another factor in IM. Now the same sort of short, chatty messages that have been sent using IM on personal computers (PCs) can be sent to mobile phones. Some Internet messaging services allow messages to be delivered to mobile phones, but most providers truly have not integrated the wireless and wireline messaging systems. Currently, most IM services are offered as free services, with the value to the provider coming in increased hit counts to their Web sites for increased advertising revenue or as a demonstration of the power of their market-share— again as a way to add advertising revenue or commercial partnerships. While some service providers, including America Online and MSN, offer messaging services, other services are Web-based and independent of the method of Internet access. Each messaging service is based on its own standards, so there is no real interoperability between services. Users have to agree with their contacts about which services to use, or they have to subscribe to several services so they can communicate with all their contacts. With the lines blurring between wireless and wireline Internet access and with the growth of multiservice providers, there are new opportunities for service providers to use messaging to attract and retain customers and to add new features and benefits that are not possible on today's stripped-down "fun" messaging services. 2. IM as an Integrated Communications Platform Most service providers today aren't tapping the full potential of IM. An IM platform can be the basis for true integrated communications. By incorporating additional technology, IM can be extended into the wireless realm to mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Or it can add new dimensions, such as voice chat or video chat. With the addition of IP telephony capability, the messaging service can even extend to telephony, making it possible to Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 2/10 communicate with any person at any time, regardless of whether they have Internet access. Because of this, an IM system can be used as a personal communications portal to create a single point of contact for all methods of communication. This allows a user to initiate any kind of communication from one place, using a single contact list. It also enables users to control how others communicate with them. If they prefer that calls go to their mobile phones when they are away from the office, they can set their profile so that the system directs calls that way. An integrated communications platform allows for one-click communication. Instead of having to run through a list of home, office, mobile, and pager numbers and e-mail addresses, someone trying to reach another person could simply click on that person's name. The system would route the communication according to that person's preferences. While this kind of platform enables a new degree of reachability, it also provides more control over who has that kind of access. For example, calls from the boss could be automatically routed to voice mail after business hours. When additional features like integrated communications, reachability, and communications profiles are part of IM, the market for IM automatically widens beyond teenagers to include businesses and professionals. Reachability makes business communication more efficient and reduces the time wasted in trading voice mails with busy people who never seem to be at their desks. Control features help professionals manage their time better. Business markets for messaging services make these services more of a revenue-generating opportunity for service providers. 3. Network-Based versus Device-Based Approaches An IM service can be either device-based or network-based. In a device-based system, the user information is located on the device used to access the system. The user downloads a client application to the device, most likely a computer. The user's list of contacts and other preferences specific to the user are saved on that computer. If the user accesses the system from multiple devices—a home computer and an office computer, for example—the same user information will have to be created on each device. If that information is changed—such as an address on the contact list—it will have to be manually changed on both computers. If the user accesses the system as a guest from a device that normally is not used, the user won't have access to personal contact lists or other personal information. In a network-based system, the user information is stored on a network-based server, so users have access to the same customized services and information, no matter how they access the system. Client software will have to be loaded on Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 3/10 devices used to access the service, but the same contact list, addresses, and other personal information will be available whenever users log into the system. If a change is made to information, that change will then affect all the devices that user uses. Users have the same information and the same services whether logging on from their home computers, office computers, or mobile phones. Because this information is located centrally, users also have the option of updating their own information for all other users. For example, if User A changes her e-mail address, she can make that change in the system. Then everyone who has User A on their contact list will automatically have their contact lists updated the next time they log into the system. User A won't have to send an e-mail to all her contacts asking them to change her address on their contact lists. A network-based system is essential for offering true integrated communications across multiple device types, particularly for business users. These users are likely to access a messaging system from several computers, mobile phones, and PDAs, and they will not want to have to keep updating the information for each of these devices. 4. Presence Awareness One feature of most messaging systems is some form of presence awareness. At the most rudimentary level, presence awareness lets users know when other users, particularly those on their contact lists, are on-line and willing to accept messages. But when the IM system is part of an integrated communications platform, presence awareness can become more sophisticated. It can notify others when a user is on-line, willing to accept phone calls at a home or office number or has a mobile phone turned on. Users can even set presence messages so others trying to contact them will know that they've stepped out for lunch and will return at a certain time. When the element of mobility is added to IM, it introduces a new level of presence awareness, letting others know where a user is based on where the user logs into the system or location information provided by the wireless network. For example, if User A wanted to set a meeting with User B but noticed when accessing the messaging system that User B was out of town, User A wouldn't even have to contact User B to learn that the user was unavailable. This level of presence awareness does bring up issues, particularly that of privacy. Just as even the basic messaging systems of today allow users to make themselves invisible to other users when they are on-line or to block communication from certain users, more advanced messaging systems will have to provide a certain degree of control over presence awareness. Only the most trusted users would have access to location information, for example, so users wouldn't be broadcasting to the world at large that they're away from home. There can be certain degrees of presence information made available, from appearing totally Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 4/10 invisible on-line to complete strangers to "away from the office" messages to business colleagues and full presence information to immediate family. 5. Security Issues With advanced presence awareness and related privacy issues, security becomes an important factor in IM. Users need to be assured that their personal information stored on network servers is not readily accessible by others who do not have permission to view it. Security is also crucial for business use of messaging systems. Some companies have had to stop employees from using free Web-based IM services for business communications because of lack of security. IM provided a quick and easy way for employees to communicate and collaborate, but these systems were not secure and could not be used for conveying confidential company information. If IM is going to become accepted as a business communications tool, messaging systems will have to comply with current standards for security. Security of RSA level or higher is essential. Most current IM services, particularly those offered for free on the Web, are entirely insecure. Some messaging providers have even dedicated themselves to hacking their competitors' systems. 6. Standards and IM One reason behind the global success of the Internet is the fact that it is built on open standards. That makes it possible for anyone to access Internet information, no matter how they access it, no matter what software they use, and no matter what kind of computer they use. People can send and receive e-mail to and from anyone else on the Internet, regardless of which e-mail system the other person is using. Unfortunately, IM has not been based on the same kind of standards. Users can only communicate with other people using the same service. But for IM to become a broader form of communication, it needs to be based on Internet standards. While services could remain unique to a particular system, different systems should be able to communicate on a standards basis. This will require service providers to cooperate, opening their systems to each other just enough to allow the flow of messages. 7. Revenue Potentials At this time, revenue is achieved from IM primarily due to sales of advertising space on Web-based messaging sites. Messaging services are used more as a way of extending brand awareness and achieving market-share. Service providers, particularly carriers, are missing out on potential revenue streams from messaging services. Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 5/10 Messaging services, particularly advanced messaging as part of an integrated communications platform, could be offered as a value-added service. One level of service—text messaging and integrated contact list—could be offered free to customers as a means of differentiating from other service providers. Higher levels, such as presence awareness, IP telephony, voice chat, and video IM, could be offered as premium services for a monthly fee. The more a customer's communications are tied through a particular service, the greater the hold a service provider has on that customer and the lower the chances the customer will change to another provider. Advanced messaging services also offer additional revenue opportunities, including electronic commerce. An electronic payment system can be integrated into the messaging system so customers can shop on-line—either from their computers or from mobile devices—and have their orders confirmed via IM. Service providers can earn revenue from retail partnerships and for handling payment. Advertising is another potential revenue source—not just banner ads on the messaging service site, but advertising targeted to individual users in individual locations. Advertising can be used to subsidize the service so customers receive more services without paying extra fees. With presence-awareness capabilities, customers could be targeted with advertising messages on mobile devices when they are in a place where they could act on the advertising information. Because customers have the opportunity to set their own profiles and preferences, they receive only information they have said they want to receive. The advertising information then is a service rather than an annoyance. For example, a customer who likes coffee could be notified when she is near a coffee shop. Virtual coupons and special offers could be delivered as well. 8. Conclusion Customer demand for IM services has already been demonstrated by the acceptance of existing services. But carriers have been missing out on potential customer groups and revenue streams by offering these services only as fun for chatting. There are business applications possible for integrated communications platforms built around IM. Advanced capabilities include presence awareness, contact management, and multimedia communications. Important issues include privacy, security, and standards. These must be dealt with before messaging can penetrate the business market. Carriers stand to benefit from implementing advanced messaging through customer retention, direct revenue, electronic commerce, and targeted advertising. Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 6/10 Self-Test 1. Currently, most IM services are too expensive and, therefore, are not used widely. a. true b. false 2. Like e-mail, one of the features of IM currently is that programs can interact with each other. a. true b. false 3. An IM service can be either ______________________. a. user-based or company-based b. sender-based or receiver-based c. network-based or device-based d. feature-based or attachment-based 4. The level of __________________ within an IM program brings up the issue of privacy. a. users signed up b. advertising c. technology d. presence awareness 5. According to this tutorial, one reason behind the success of the Internet is the fact that it is built on _____________. a. open standards b. user trust c. safe architecture d. solid ground Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 7/10 6. At this time, revenue is achieved from IM primarily due to sales of advertising space on Web-based messaging sites. a. true b. false 7. Which of the following is not an additional revenue opportunity offered by advanced messaging services? a. electronic commerce b. advertising c. targeted marketing d. taxes Correct Answers 1. Currently, most IM services are too expensive and, therefore, are not used widely. a. true b. false See Topic 1. 2. Like e-mail, one of the features of IM currently is that programs can interact with each other. a. true b. false See Topic 1. 3. An IM service can be either ______________________. a. user-based or company-based b. sender-based or receiver-based c. network-based or device-based d. feature-based or attachment-based Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 8/10 See Topic 3. 4. The level of __________________ within an IM program brings up the issue of privacy. a. users signed up b. advertising c. technology d. presence awareness See Topic 4. 5. According to this tutorial, one reason behind the success of the Internet is the fact that it is built on _____________. a. open standards b. user trust c. safe architecture d. solid ground See Topic 5. 6. At this time, revenue is achieved from IM primarily due to sales of advertising space on Web-based messaging sites. a. true b. false See Topic 7. 7. Which of the following is not an additional revenue opportunity offered by advanced messaging services? a. electronic commerce b. advertising c. targeted marketing d. taxes Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 9/10 See Topic 1. Glossary IM instant messaging IP Internet protocol PC personal computer PDA personal digital assistant SMS short message service Web ProForum Tutorials http://www.iec.org Copyright © The International Engineering Consortium 10/10 ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/15/2011 for the course ECON 1102 taught by Professor Jahis during the Spring '09 term at University of Minnesota Crookston.

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