Labor puts instant messaging to work

Instant messaging vendor WiredRed Software Corp. recently signed a contract with the Labor Department in what the company believes is the single largest commercial application of instant messaging.

The department is deploying 18,000 seats of WiredRed's e/pop Alert instant emergency notification system. The product allows the department to send thousands of one-way messages and alerts to its employees across the country within seconds, said Allen Drennan, chief executive officer of WiredRed.

The alerts are sent to an employee's personal computer and can be customized to include embedded alarms that play when the alert pops up on a user's PC. Labor is using the product for a variety of purposes, including for emergency preparedness and to notify employees of important meetings.

"There aren't very many technical solutions that can get information to so many people" in such a short period of time, Drennan said. The company plans in the first half of next year to add support for wireless delivery on devices such as personal digital assistants and wireless phones, he added.

Authentication and encryption security features in e/pop Alert protect against spoofing, where someone pretends to be someone else, and eavesdropping, said Tom Toperczer, vice president of marketing at WiredRed. "In both cases, we support a variety of technology," such as the RSA public-key encryption algorithm for authentication and the Advanced Encryption Standard for encryption, he said.

The product's security features, centralized management capabilities and policy-based control are unique in the market, Drennan added. The company, which has about 3,000 customers — including the Army, the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department — plans to announce the contract today.

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