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AOL Launches Initiative To Link Its IM Network With Others

AOL Federation Gateway technology and companion partner program extensions will route instant messages between private IM networks and AOL's public network. This will allow corporate users to see and securely communicate with AOL's IM network without requiring both parties to have AOL screen names.
In an opening salvo that seem certain to lead to broad scale federation of instant messaging networks, AOL has extended access and support for enterprise IM platforms with its launch of the AOL Federation Gateway. This new interface will handle the routing and translation of traffic between enterprise systems using the SIP/SIMPLE or XMPP protocol, and AOL's proprietary messaging system.

The SIMPLE is the acronym for a popular protocol which stands for SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions. SIP/SIMPLE is a standard being stewarded by the International Engineering Task Force (IETF) that describes how to pass messages between communications networks. Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is a standard already adopted by the IETF.

These extensions to the AOL network allow routing of presence and instant messages between private IM networks and AOL's public network. The result is that corporate users can view the presence of and securely communicate with AOL's IM network without requiring both parties to have AOL screen names.

The companies that are participating in the AOL Enterprise Federation Partner program include Antepo, Jabber, Omnipod and Parlano. These vendors have products that offer companies the benefit of secure instant messaging, message archiving and enhanced collaboration tools in addition to the basic presence and instant messaging.

"The biggest difference between users of these systems and users accessing AIM through our more traditional partners," said AOL vice president Brian Curry, "is that each of these products has its own presence and IM interface, whereas the others use the standard AIM client."

Some of these products also offer companies very selective controls over the content crossing the network and the ability for fine-grained control over presence visibility. Their support for AOL's Federation Partnership Program allows these applications to extend their reach to business associates on the AOL network.

For further information, visit www.aim.com, www.antepo.com, www.jabber.com, www.omnipod.com, or www.parlano.com.