Instant messaging is no longer just a really inexpensive way to say hello to a long-lost relative. Instant messaging tools for business are continually going above and beyond in capability and functionality, and NetLert Communications has developed its instant messaging products along these guidelines. The Asheville North Carolina-based company recently released NetLert 2.2.1, which enables users to hold meetings and collaborate with workers anywhere regardless of location.
NetLert 2.2.1 offers functions specifically designed for business collaboration, according to the company. From the Communicator window, users can chat and send alerts, which causes a message box to appear on the receiver’s screen. Users can also create a white board session, which acts as a virtual chalkboard where images or links can be inserted, and users can also poll another user or group from this window, and receive a tally of the answers to questions posed.
According to Danny Councell, director of sales and marketing manager for NetLert, the NetLert alert feature also enables the sender of the message to know who has read the message.
“The alert feature is great for managers,” Councell said. “Team leaders and managers are always trying to get information to their team. With alert, it pops up in a non-intrusive way. (The receiver) clicks the close button and the sender knows who read it. It really is a neat communication tool that is easy.”
The company said version 2.2.1 uses a TCP/IP connection to send messages over the Internet and uses secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to ensure that all communications are secure and private.
NetLert can also be installed onto mobile devices, including laptops, by simply installing the client on the machine.
“The administrator has the power to do just about anything with our privileges and how they are set up,” said Jeff Lovette, tech support manager for NetLert.
Lovette explained that version 2.2.1 includes an access control list (ACL), which allows network managers to designate who users can communicate with. He said that with other instant messaging tools, users can communicate with co-workers as well as family and friends, which can be a distraction during business hours.
“All of those ports that are used by other instant messengers can be turned off at the firewall,” Lovette said. “That limits users from using other instant messaging products, and it also increases productivity.”
According to Susan Fraser, IS manager for MB Haynes, a contracting company based in Asheville, N.C., NetLert allows users to message each other and receive instant response to information.
“With us, the messaging aspect is pretty much what we use,” Fraser said. “For what I need it to do, it works great. Everybody doesn’t always have their e-mail turned on. NetLert will pop up over what they are doing. When we need people to get out, we need them to get out fairly quickly. It saves me from having to call 50 people (in the office.)”
Fraser explained that installing NetLert was an easy process and did not require a dedicated server to be installed on the approximate 60 PCs at MB Haynes. She said that although the company does not use NetLert nearly to the extent it can be used, it suits its purpose.
“I like it. It is really simple to send a message and then you can see who has read it and who hasn’t. I like that part of it,” she said.
NetLert 2.2.1 is available now and pricing starts at US$40 per seat for a 25-user license. Details can be found at www.netlert.com.