Industry observers say they see universal messaging as a new market for email package vendors.
In an effort to enter this emerging market, MediaGate has announced that it will acquire messaging software maker InterResearch & Development Group.
MediaGate's announcement comes on the heels of electronic messaging software maker Qualcomm's debut yesterday of its new version of the Eudora email suite. The suite comes bundled with a universal messaging package.
MediaGate executives said the company wants to combine its EdgeCommander server, an RAS (remote access server), with InterResearch & Development Group's iPost universal messaging software. That combination would create a communications platform for ISPs and corporate Intranets.
The terms of the acquisition deal were not disclosed.
EdgeCommander, using a Windows NT and digital signal processing-based server, provides both digital and analog modem call processing, as well as computer telephony, on one server, MediaGate said.
InterResearch's iPost universal messaging software allows users to combine voice, fax, e-mail, and pager communications in a single secure message package, which is accessible by telephone, fax machine, Web browser, or email client, according to the company.
iPost supports the VPIM (voice profile for Internet mail) standard, which allows voice and fax messages to be accessed with any POP-3 compatible e-mail client. Users can choose to forward messages to any Internet-accessible email address. The iPost Web site also can be used to send and retrieve messages using a standard browser with Web extensions such as RealAudio and NetSpeak WebPhone, according to the company.
Jonathan R. Taylor, chief technology officer for InterResearch, said that, as a result of the acquisition, users will be able to "get one box, one tool and a whole set of applications in one."
Taylor said EdgeCommander servers bundled with iPost will be available to ISPs, cellular operators, and regional telephone operating companies during the first quarter of 1998, with pricing starting at $19,995 for a 24-port system.