This article is about the future landscape of instant messaging. Instant messaging is a very popular method of communication because of the instant gratification that it gives. The future will consist of messengers that can inter-operate with other messengers regardless of the brand or manufacturer. The future instant messenger will also need to support multiple instances of the messenger so that the user can speak to different people and keep each conversation private and distinct. The user will also demand multiple entities.
As the number of associates and friends enter each other’s potential messaging network, undoubtedly some will be on MSN, another on Yahoo and yet another on AOL. The pain will continue to increase over the need to use so many messenger clients and utilities to communicate. Manufacturers will not be able to maintain market share by trying to keep their communication protocol private. They must open their protocol but provide differentiation through innovative clients and possible backend services. The proprietary direction was taken by IBM years ago and it failed. We now have a marketplace of PC Compatibles and the most dominate is not IBM.
Skinnable messenger clients will continue to increase because people like to make thing unique and pleasing to themselves. The most flexible method I’ve see up to this point is the concept of a “skinning language. ”
Voice Chat is also becoming more and more popular. For those that are unfamiliar with audio chat, it allows you to use your computer’s microphone and speakers to carry on a two-conversation session just as if you were on the telephone. My wife loves this feature. She talks with her sister quite often and the audio quality appears to be quite good.
Olan Butler is Chief Architect of BHO Technologists - a computer software and services company.
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