RealTime IT News

IM Accounts to Number in The Billions

Instant messaging (IM) use is expected to increase over the next four years with a growing percentage of use by enterprises as well as the general public.

According to the Radicati Group's recently released report, "Instant Messaging Market 2005-2009," there will be 867 million instant messaging accounts by the end of 2005. By 2009, the research firm has forecast that there will be 1.2 billion accounts in use.

All told, Radicati pegs the value of the IM market, which includes the public IM, enterprise IM (EIM) and IM management vendors, to be $142 million in 2005 which will more than double by 2009 to a forecast $365 million.

In 2005, Radicati estimated that 13.9 billion IMs are sent per day (12.5 billion on public networks and 1.4 billion on EIM). As the number of accounts grows usage is expected to increase to 46.5 billion messages per day by 2009; 39.5 billion of which will be on the public networks while 7 billion will be on EIM.

Radicati analyst Matt Anderson expects EIM traffic to grow steadily and become a more significant portion of total IM traffic due to the IM market's emergence from its infancy stages.

"Instant messaging amongst business organizations is still relatively new and is still just beginning to really take hold," Anderson told internetnews.com. "Over the past couple of years, instant messaging was mostly prevalent in financial, energy, health care, and other regulated industries, but I think we will really begin to see IM permeate a wider variety of sectors through 2009."

Anderson added that public IM accounts have grown at a faster pace than EIM platforms due to the fact that public IM networks are free.

"Many organizations still do not see a need to pay for something that they can download for free," Anderson explained.

"But I think as the need for archiving and logging for compliance reasons grows, along with the need for protection against the growing number of IM-borne worm and virus attacks, companies will do one of three things: do nothing; stay on the public IM networks, but deploy a solution from an IM management vendor, such as Akonix, FaceTime, or IMlogic; or deploy an enterprise-grade IM platform.

"I think as time goes on, more and more organizations will go with the latter two options, as they will realize that they need more than what the public IM networks offer."