Desouza of Imlogic, on Instant Messaging
23 February 2003
The Boston Globe
have been doing it for awhile. Now, companies are using
instant messaging to connect employees and clients from
any location in real time. Corporate America's fascination
with IM is not without problems, however. That's where Francis
deSouza and his company, IMLogic of Waltham, come in. Founded
in 2001, IMLogic is an instant messaging infrastructure
vendor that helps us firms set up their own proprietary
systems. Tomorrow, deSouza, President and CEO of IMLogic,
will give a keynote address at the Instant Message Planet
Spring 2003 Conference and Expo at the Boston Park Plaza
Hotel. Globe reporter Diane Lewis interviewed deSouza about
the IM trend.
What can teenagers teach businesses about instant messaging?
They can teach them lots. It turns out that the big story
for instant messaging was the teenage story. Instant messaging
became the fastest growing communications medium ever in
2000, reaching 200 million users, primarily teenagers. This
was well before it was discovered by the corporate market.
What makes IM unique?
Presence - that you know the person is there before you
send the message and, as the recipient, you can tell the
world that you are available. The message is instant. It
pops up, flashes, and grabs your attention.
Under the Securities and Exchange Commission's revised rule,
17-a-4, US companies must keep detailed records of all transactions,
including e-mail and instant messaging. How much demand
has this created for IM security services?
The revision of the rule highlighted to IT departments that
instant messaging was happening and they needed to get ahead
of it. More and more [companies] see it as a competitive
advantage. There are now over 20 million users in the corporate
market. Last year, the number of [corporate] users grew
What does the future hold for IM?
I think instant messaging will become the front-end for
most of our communications. It will be on cellphones, desk
tops and personal digital assistants. If I have a cellphone,
the message will flash on my cellphone.
How do you take a form of communication that was primarily
social and apply it to business?
There is a whole element of reporting that allows for better
network planning. Then, there is security. Companies need
to make sure that viruses cannot come in over instant messaging.
Then, there is archiving. Companies must comply with regulations
around keeping communications on file for a certain number
of years. . . Companies also need to have naming policies.
At one company, for example, a worker had chosen the name,
Biceps2big. Someone else had the name Studbroker. The names
were not in keeping with the company's naming policies.
You were admitted to MIT at 16. What was that like?
It was hugely exciting. It was my first time in America.
I was very excited. It was all new and exciting. I came
here by myself. My family was still in the United Arab Emirates.
So, I was the first in my family to come to the United States.
I didn't know how banks worked. We did not have the tax
system in Dubai. My parents moved here a couple of years
ago. But I would go back home once a year. I had a job at
MIT's media laboratory for the first year. The school was
very friendly. I got so busy at MIT that once school started
it was go, go, go.