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Imici Goes ASP with IM

Instant-messaging service provider (IMSP) Imici adds another application-service provider (ASP) offering to its lineup of services, with the launch of its new Business Messenger instant-messaging (IM) system.

The new service provides a simple way for businesses to immediately realize a return-on-investment (ROI) by reducing costs and increasing workflow efficiency, Imici said in a statement.

"Business Messenger is the perfect solution for businesses that prefer to utilize ASP-based solutions rather than investing in new software or forfeiting piles of company data to the Microsoft .Net juggernaut," said Imici Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dante Federighi. "The system is powerful enough to ensure security and have a positive effect on the bottom line, yet simple enough for non-technical people to set up and use."

The Business Messenger client features Open Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 1024-bit encryption, message archives, e-mail notification, file transfer, co-browsing and availability settings.

Company officials feel that the security of Open SSL 1024-bit encryption is an especially important feature for its Business Messenger, because most public system are not secure.

The client also features the "Interoperable by Imici" option, which enables communication between Imici users and users of all major IM systems, including America Online's AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messengers using a single interface.

Doug Miles, Imici's director of marketing communications, said in an e-mail interview that his company's product stands apart because it is a hosted subscription based service with "industrial-strength" security. He also cited the Interoperable by Imici option as a function that Imici's competition does not have.

From the control panel, administrators can manage user accounts, broadcast messages throughout the company, view usage reporting, set up conferences and track file transfers.

"By the way, we often do not get the `wow' reaction from our customers, until they see the administrative and user tools available in the Business Messenger Control Panels," Miles also said.

Business Messenger is available for a one-time setup fee of $100, plus $1 per user/per month. A $2 per user/per month option is available for companies wanting to use the Interoperable by Imici option.

Besides Business Messenger, Imici also provides the Imici SMB Server for small- to medium-sized companies that choose to host a private IM system; Imici Private Label IM, which helps online businesses or communities connected via a custom-branded IM program; and Imici SDK, a software-development kit (SDK) that provides a framework for building IM applications.

Bob Woods is the managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet.com.