FaceTime Communications (booth #1620) is looking to cash in on the convergence of two factors -- an explosion in the use of instant messaging at financial institutions and regulations that require those communications be audited and archived.
FaceTime's Enterprise IM Suite of software and infrastructure products aims to help firms manage their IM programs with components for multi-network connectivity, directory integration and support, access to presence information, and network-access control and management. The company's applications leverage six instant-messaging services that are necessary for enterprise IM applications, says FaceTime, including: management services, session services, routing services, queuing services, auditing services and identity services.
One of the vendor's main offerings to the market is IM Auditor -- a management and control solution for multi-network instant-messaging environments, says FaceTime vice president of business development Christopher Dean. He explains that most institutions will find their traders and other employees using a hodge-podge of AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and other instant-messaging networks -- a situation that is legally untenable. "We go and integrate into the corporate directory and apply authenticated corporate identity onto all of those inconsistent networks," Dean says.
For example, he explains, a trader who had been communicating with clients using the handle "hottrader33" would have that mapped to his name, an arrangement much more likely to please Securities and Exchange officials conducting an investigation. Such an example, Dean says, speaks to better user and content management.
Additionally, describes Dean, FaceTime provides tools to help firms manage the application layer involved with instant messaging through its Guardian family of products. Guardian links with IM Auditor. "After those streams of information go through the Auditor product," he says, "we put a proprietary signature on it that says, 'Yes, this individual on AOL has been audited. It's OK to pass that through and send it out into the AOL network.' But if a stream of data comes by that doesn't have that signature, we block it at the firewall."
Generally, FaceTime offers its products on an enterprise-software model in which firms buy the software and install it at their sites, on their equipment. To give customers more choice, however, and reach out to the lower end of the size-spectrum, the company recently launched Guardian in an "appliance" format. "The appliance just adds the equipment on top of the software," says Dean.
In the new format, small to mid-size clients "buy the appliance, pop it onto their network, pop an ethernet cable in the back, turn on the switch and they're done," he says. FaceTime also is currently looking to make IM Auditor available as an appliance. Dean adds that FaceTime is in negotiations with managed-services providers to offer Auditor and Guardian as a hosted solution, in which companies would sign up for the services and pay on a monthly basis.
As for the Securities Industry Association Technology Management Conference and Exhibit, Dean says FaceTime feels it's a stakes-to-play event, calling the show "an important business-development, relationship-building exercise."
Referring to the "high-quality leads" that can be found at the show, he notes that that's not the norm at all industry events. "So many of these shows are like vendor-industry things where all the vendors cluster around and talk to each other and you say, 'Oh my God, what is my competitor doing?'" relates Dean. "This is a real show; this has customers, and people come to you to transact business. That's why we think it's very valuable." <<<