• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

SIMPLE is simply irresistible

Jun 18, 20032 mins
Messaging AppsNetworking

* SIMPLE is best for instant-messaging standard

Two of the problems with instant messaging services are that there are so many to choose from and that without a gateway, instant messaging servers don’t communicate between instant messaging service providers.

While Steve and Larry like to use one instant messaging service, Larry has to use other instant messaging service providers to talk to his multiple buddy lists. (And it really is kind of annoying to keep three buddy lists going all at once.)

These services are not compatible because each has been “homegrown” as it was developed by the various instant messagingservice providers – kind of like the old e-mail systems before Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).

One way to solve this problem is to install a gateway so that, for example, a Yahoo IM user can chat with an AOL IM user. Another way is for service providers to share their protocols so instant messaging services can “talk”; this approach is the one taken by Microsoft and AOL when they settled their recent lawsuits.

The third way – and, we submit, the best way – to solve the issue is to agree on an instant messaging protocol that all can use. We submit that the protocol should be SIMPLE (Session Initiation Protocol for IM and Presence Leveraging Extensions).

As an extension of Session Initiation Protocol, SIMPLE provides a common denominator for instant messaging services. Since adoption of SIP as a multimedia signaling protocol is growing, and since SIP already inherently provides presence information for users, using SIMPLE just plain makes sense for future instant messaging interoperability. Another advantage of using a SIP-based protocol is easier integration between instant messaging services and other services like click-to-talk, click-to-conference, and click-to-collaborate.

We believe that vendor support of SIMPLE will make future integration of multimedia services just plain – in a word – “simple.”