If you were to play a word-association game and say "IM," there's a good chance the other person would say "AOL."
Whether or not it's sanctioned by the IT department, America Online Instant Messaging (AIM) has a presence somewhere within most enterprises. For that reason, Antepo, a provider of enterprise IM technology, in April signed on as an AOL Enterprise Federation Partner and promised to offer built-in, federated connectivity to the AOL Global Messaging Network (including Apple iChat, ICQ, Netscape, and AIM).
On Tuesday, New York-based Antepo will announce the general availability of OPN System XT. Based on its OPN System 4.5, the XT version offers what it describes as "presence extended" capabilities. It supports user authentication, identity management, and message logging and archiving designed to ensure that businesses meet compliance and security requirements.
According to Antepo, OPN System users behind the corporate firewall can communicate directly and securely with external AOL customers, colleagues and partners. OPN System XT allows users to import AOL Buddy List features, establish presence and availability and initiate a direct chat. The XT version of the OPN platform also features interoperability with Microsoft's Live Communications Server (LCS) 2005, according to company.
Maxime Seguineau, chairman and CEO of Antepo, said enterprise customers know the issues surrounding the use of IM in the enterprise, but also recognize its importance. "We're not pushing fear, uncertainty and doubt. Enterprise now know they need IM or they will be left behind. People understand EIM, and they no longer want the [public] IM client."
Seguineau added that in order to foster interoperability with public networks the capability to communicate with AIM users securely should be part of the IM platform, not something sold as an add-on. "We don't charge a la carte, it's part of our costs of goods sold. We don't want to create an extra hurdle." That cost is $30 per seat. When Antepo announced OPN System 4.5 last fall the per seat price was $25.
Antepo prides itself on its open approach to real time communications in fact, OPN stands for Open Presence Network. The server-based system features native support for both the SIP/SIMPLE and XMPP protocols. "Antepo is one of a small group of enterprise IM vendors that recognize the need to integrate with other networks both corporate or public to enable collaboration," said Robert Mahowald, program director at IDC, said in a statement.
While the system itself is open, the user base hasn't moved towards open system. While the company also offers Linux and Solaris versions, 90 percent of Antepo's customers run Windows, Seguineau said. "Enterprises are conservative and Microsoft is the new IBM."