Companies looking to use Instant Messaging to build persistent group-based communications will find good options in Instant Technologies Team Sessions 1.0 and Parlano Inc.s MindAlign 6.0.
Instant Technologies Team Sessions, which will begin shipping later this month and is priced starting at $30,000 per server, runs on top of IBMs Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing platform. Parlanos MindAlign 6.0, which began shipping in October, is priced at $50,000 as a stand-alone product. (It is also available in conjunction with Microsoft Corp.s Live Communications Server.)
Neither MindAlign nor Team Sessions is cheap, but their pricing is in line with that of competing products that extend core IM applications. The version of MindAlign for Live Communications Server is more directly comparable to Team Sessions not only because it taps the Live Communications Server product for core IM functionality but also because of its cost: $25,000.
During eWEEK Labs tests, both MindAlign and Team Sessions could be used to build comprehensive IM communications platforms, but neither delivered the kind of user-based administration and reporting we would have liked.
Rather, customers will need to rely on third-party tools from companies such as IMlogic Inc. or Akonix Systems Inc. to get a comprehensive view of system usage.
Because both systems tie in to back-end databases, companies could also use products such as Business Objects S.A.s Crystal Reports to generate regular reports.
Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at email@example.com.
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