Mobber with online presence launched today

Presence is defined as knowing that a person is online, and on a connected device with a certain device profile. Each part of that definition is critical to fully understanding presence and how it is changing, and will continue to change, the face of business communications.

The most common use of presence today is the status indicator displayed on most instant messaging clients. A more simple everyday example is the 'on-hook' or 'off-hook' state of a telephone receiver, resulting in a distinctive ring tone for caller. Some states that offer extended information on the user's availiability are "free for chat", "away", "do not disturb", and "out to lunch", which are often seen on many modern instant messaging clients.

AOL Instant Messenger, Antepo, Skype, Microsoft Live Communication (LCS) Server, Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing, and other products provide facilities for presence management today. They differ in how they deliver this functionality and the audience for which this function is made available. But they are all similar in that presence is only conveyed to those on the same network.

However, in order to realize the full potential of presence it will have to be relayed in a consistent manner, regardless of the network that the individual may be connected to. Doing this is going to require new products based on standards, and efforts to make that happen are underway now.

There are several groups trying to standardize the presence protocol. XML based XMPP(Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) by Jabber, was approved in 2004 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an industry standard protocol, and is used in private enterprise instant messaging systems. Boeing selected XMPP to provide chat and presence services for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) initiative.

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and is a signaling protocol used to establish sessions in an IP-based network. The SIP protocol is stewarded by the IETF and is being broadly extended and enhanced to support the requirements of secure instant messaging and presence management (SIMPLE) . Another leading standard (OASIS), also called the Liberty Alliance Project has released a specification for a presence management Web service within the context of the Liberty Alliance, a federated identity management solution.

Presence is a much hyped word in instant messaging domain. One of the startling factoid is that 40 percent of business IM use leads to a phone call. This points out that the core value of IM isn't messaging, but presence, that capability integral to IM systems that lets others know if you are online and available.

Will Web 2.0 change the definition of online presence? Noticed Mobber today. It shows you who's on a particular web page, allowing you to chat with them privately or in a group. It's their first day and they are already rocking.

For anyone who wants to chat with me or with anyone else looking at this page, I've added a Mobber bar to the bottom of the site - it's pretty slick. Talk to each other or ping me.

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