AOL is to launch a version of its instant messaging service aimed at business workplaces. IM is predicted by many in the computing industry to take up a strong role in business computing, providing a means of collaboration and cooperation that is currently lacking. AOL has recognised the truth of this, and is aiming to provide business users with the security, collaboration and IT management features that they require.

AIM Pro will come in two editions. The Professional version is for individuals at work and small to mid-size businesses. The Enterprise version is for large organisations and comes with IT administration tools.

Both will link up with enterprise directory services and calendars, and let users launch conference calls, conduct online meetings, chat using video and VoIP, and share desktops. Both will also encrypt sessions and provide auditing, logging and regulatory compliance features.