Instant Messaging (IM) can be defined as a system or means for transmitting electronic messages instantly. It is the exchange of real-time messages through an embedded software or stand-alone application. IM users need to know each other’s screen name or user name to add them to their buddy list or contact list, or to initiate an IM session. The exchange of text has been the primary function of instant messaging until recently; however, the ability to insert emojis and images into messages is presently standard. IM networks can currently offer different forms of communication through stickers, pictures, video sharing, and voice. Facebook Messenger enables users to even send money via Instant Messaging. Almost all IM solutions include some degree of federation or interoperability with social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Users can gain access to these social networks without exiting the instant messaging interface and can post status updates and more.
IM enables real-time, secure communication & collaboration, combining presence awareness capabilities such as conferences, chat, alerts, polls, file transfers, and news to create a rich collaborative environment. IM ensures the integrity of communications through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections and multiple authentication mechanisms. The integration of IM software with access manager and portal server brings added security features such as user management and services-based access policy. IM is not only changing the personal use but also its use at an enterprise level, in the way business is carried out. Instant messaging is a highly valuable social software at the enterprise level owing to the consistent rate of adoption of enterprise IM networks, as increasing number of organizations are opting for enterprise-grade functionality.
Mobile messaging has emerged as highly popular form of mobile-to-mobile communication in the last few years. The boundaries between mobile messaging and traditional desktop IM are blurring due to increased interoperability. However, a significant user base is on mobile-only IM networks such as WeChat and WhatsApp. IM accounts have been highly popular among its users since the last few years due to various factors such as growing penetration of mobile phones along with Internet, the urgency to keep connected, offering multiple modes of communication by chat apps, etc.
An important factor driving the instant messaging software market is the strong adoption of mobile technology. Moreover, IM is generally free (Open Source Software), or inexpensive, and it is easy to use and immediate and pervasive on a wide range of different devices and platforms, which is also driving IM software market. However, the increasing threat of security and privacy are restraining the instant messaging software market. IM started to lose its value with the introduction of social media. However, IM has been regaining traction, especially in the business world, due to the recent integration in Google and Facebook products. Users are embracing the value in having tools to communicate instantly over a variety of platforms.
The global instant messaging software market can be segmented based on application, end-user, and region. In terms of application, the market can be segregated into public IM networks, enterprise IM platforms, and mobile messaging. In terms of end-user, the IM software market can be classified into enterprise and personal. The enterprises segment can be further sub-segmented into banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), IT & telecommunication, retail, and others. Based on region, the market can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East &Africa (MEA), and South America.
Industry participants leading the instant messaging software market with the most significant developments include BigAnt Office Messenger, Cisco Systems, Inc., HipChat, IBM Corporation, Kakao Talk, Line, We Chat, WhatsApp, Netwin Ltd., and Rakuten Viber.
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