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Infinite Messaging

Two-way text messaging, that ubiquitous medium of Web-surfing and cell-phone-toting teens, isn’t just for socializing anymore.

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.

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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.

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