One of the great things about working at The Karis Group has been the exposure to new technologies. It has been invigorating to work with Levi Smith since February 2009, because, for the longest time I was the “chief geek” in the networks of friends I have been a part of.
But Levi has been an excellent challenge for me, and in the work at TKG I have had the opportunity to use all manner of new web services that I wouldn’t have been exposed to most likely. I have written about some of those in the past, but will be doming a more specific look in my series on Small Biz Tech.
A few years ago at The Karis Group we realized that using email for direct communication in as close to real time as possible is just not practical. It doesn’t matter if your small business all use the same email system (Exchange, or IMAP via something like Google Mail); email is not efficient for quick communications.
We began to look at different instant messaging systems or networks. There are numerous ones available, from MSN to AOL, from ICQ to Skype, from G-Talk to Facebook. All of them have some advantages, or at least some pieces that are easy to like.
But the challenge we faced was that even in our small company of 10 (at the time) we were already on 3 or more different instant messaging networks.
What to do?
Somewhere along the way, I learned of IMO.com, and we began a slow process of moving all our users on to IMO.
Not familiar with IMO? Good. Read on and I’ll help you out!
The Good Stuff
1. Free. Best part of IMO? It’s free. But that is not where it excels and it isn’t why I am so positive about IMO.
Here is what IMO says about itself:
imo.im is a web-based service that allows users to hold text, voice, and video chats on multiple instant messaging protocols. Currently supported protocols include MSN, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook, AIM/ICQ, Jabber, MySpace, Hyves, VKontakte and Steam. The service is free and requires no user-registration or sign-up.
2. Web Based. The part I was drawn to is the aspect of a “web-based service”. With IMO, you don’t need to download a client for your desktop computer. You use a web browser.
3. Mobile Apps. There are apps for mobile devices, including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Nokia.
4. Link Networks. You can link all of your messaging networks into one common interface. Likewise, you need only log in to one network to log in to all that you have linked with IMO.
5. IMO Network. IMO has it’s own network which doesn’t require you to join any other network.
6. Video Chat. IMO enables users to use video chat within the web interface in addition to text based messaging.
7. Chat History. You can search against your chat history with IMO.
If your small business (or large business!) needs an integrated instant message interface, you should give IMO a try.
What has been your experience with instant messaging? Have you used IMO? Do you have another favored IM solution?