• United States

AOL AIMs at voice and Web conferencing

Jun 17, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* AOL adds conferencing services to AOL Instant Messenger

Last week, AOL announced two services that can be launched directly from within AOL Instant Messenger: AIM Voice Conferencing and AIM Web Meetings. The vendors of these solutions are Lightbridge and WebEx, respectively.

Both services can be launched directly from the AIM interface and are available to any user of the free AIM client.

Anyone can launch a WebEx session directly from AIM by establishing a debit account with a credit card and can use either VoIP or conventional teleconferencing in conjunction with WebEx.

Future versions of AIM Voice Conferencing will include iCal capabilities – so appointments can be added to Microsoft Outlook, e-mail reminders can be sent to others, and groups can be created and re-used.

AOL’s announcement is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it further extends the capabilities of a leading, largely consumer-oriented IM system to include features that are already available in enterprise-grade systems like Lotus Sametime.

Perhaps more importantly, it implements a pay-as-you-go model for more sophisticated collaboration services like voice conferencing and Web conferencing, allowing small and midsized businesses (SMB) capabilities that are easy to implement with virtually no up-front investment. Although many SMBs do not generally have the same collaboration needs as larger enterprises because they are not as geographically distributed, their information systems are often not as sophisticated.

The new AIM client will provide access to all of these features in a pane on the left side of the interface – new users will be able to download the new client, while current clients will be upgraded over the next several months.