Instant messaging is an internet service that allows people to communicate with each other in real time through an instant messaging software. Unlike e-mail, instant messaging allows messages from one person to appear right away on the other person’s computer screen right after the send button is pressed.

In the early 1990’s, instant messaging was often used only by users who wanted to talk or chat with their friends through the internet. But as the internet technology became more sophisticated, instant messaging became an integral tool for businesses.

History of Instant Messages

In the early days of the internet, Mirabilis, a software company, created the first free instant messaging software named ICQ, which is a shorthand for “I seek you.” This software became so popular among internet users that other similar software programs began popping up, such as AIM, Yahoo Messenger and Skype. Now instant messaging is ubiquitous in the online world. Even Facebook garnered their initial success by placing an instant messaging capability on their website.

Business Applications of Instant Messaging

The most notable benefit of instant messaging is helping businesses stay connected in real time. Communication and business always go together. Executives will have to communicate their ideas to other executives and they have to communicate with their employees. Instant messaging provides an affordable and convenient way for communication to take place. But that’s not all, instant messaging technology is also evolving to add more business-friendly capabilities to make communication easier and more productive. Here are some of the new instant messaging features:

  • Voice over IP (VOIP) service – this fairly new technology allows instant messaging users to verbally talk to each other like they would through a phone, except that unlike phones that use the airwaves for the transmission of voice, VOIP transmits the voice through the internet.
  • Conferencing – unlike in the past where instant messaging could only be used between two people, modern instant messenger software allows three or more people to talk in one chat room. This makes chat meetings possible.
  • Video calls – instant messaging software today allows people to talk to each other through video in real time.
  • Video conferencing – an improvement of video calling, video conferencing lets three or more people participate on video calling, making it possible for meetings or learning sessions to be done face-to-face even if the participants are physically far away from each other.

Instant Messaging and Job Outsourcing

In today’s digital age, outsourcing is becoming a popular choice through which executives find people to work for them. Instead of being limited to hiring people in their locality, employers now have the option to find employees from other countries. In the past, this has not always been the best hiring decision because communicating with people from other countries is expensive. However, because of instant messaging, communication between employers and their employees abroad is almost free, which further fuels the outsourcing and freelancing revolution.

Instant messaging is integral in today’s business environment, especially in the booming outsourcing business.