Instant two-way text messaging, that ubiquitous medium of Web-surfing and cell-phone-toting teens, isn’t just for socializing anymore. Because of the medium’s immediacy-it’s faster than e-mail but less intrusive than a phone call-“people are increasingly getting hooked on the need for continuous two-way text messaging as a coordination, alerting, and notification mechanism” for conducting business, says James Kobielus, a senior analyst with Burton Group, an e-business analysis firm in Alexandria, VA.
In one sign of things to come, new software from MIR3 of San Diego, CA, ties a business’s critical hardware or software into its instant-messaging network. If a Web server crashes or an inventory database shows that supplies are running low, the system can issue text or voice alerts to the proper employees.
To do this, MIR3 invented a “middleware” system that authenticates incoming notices from an organization’s application software, determines who should receive them, and schedules delivery via media the recipients have chosen-from pagers to personal digital assistants. MIR3’s early customers include hospitals, which use the technology to automatically alert nurses whenever, for instance, their patients’ heart monitors register significant changes.
America Online, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have all announced plans to release secure corporate versions of their own popular messaging programs, and companies such as Beverly, MA-based Groove Networks are weaving instant messaging into online “collaboration environments” that could free employees from their physical offices. And that’s something even adults can appreciate.
A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?
Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.
A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate
Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023
The viral AI avatar app Lensa undressed me—without my consent
My avatars were cartoonishly pornified, while my male colleagues got to be astronauts, explorers, and inventors.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.