Presence Protocol Battle

Currently most VoIP manufacturers have used the SIMPLE (SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) protocol as the leading method for exchanging instant messaging as well as presence information. However, a new kid on the block is now positioning itself as a major contender, and possibly a replacement for the SIMPLE method. It’s called XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) and is especially picking up steam with the mobile vendors, as well as possibly Cisco Systems given their recent purchase of Jabber.

What makes XMPP so robust compared to SIMPLE is that it’s based upon an XML foundation, which allows it to bridge not only companies who rely on SIMPLE today like Microsoft and Cisco, but also with vendors like IBM who have developed their own methods of exchanging presence and instant messaging. So with XMPP, all presence or instant messaging could easily be exchanged with any vendor-specific presence or IM exchanges.

Additionally, it makes it easier to create new extensions in XML for remote client control or integration with location services. Therefore, this protocol is seen by many as more robust and extensible than SIMPLE. In fact, companies like Google have created all of their presence, IM chat, and voice implementations based upon XMPP.

Some say this standards war stuff is overrated, based upon the fact that there is already presence information coming from different sources, and intelligent presence engines will track all of it. Even mobile carriers like Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson have implemented their own versions of presence and IM exchanges using something very similar to XMPP called IMPS (Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence Services).

Typically, if you have a smart presence engine (whether it comes from Cisco or someone else) it will accept whatever format comes in. Business people will choose whatever product suits their organizational needs.

Currently, Cisco is not saying much concerning their purchase of Jabber (who only uses XMPP) but one could only speculate that this will become the overall presence foundation on which Cisco will build to provide UC applications in the future.  Cisco’s only official announcement so far is the capability of the Jabber client to create and participate in WebEx conferences.

Author: Joe Parlas

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