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Agents for sale: first wave of intelligent agents go commercial

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After years of promised prototypes, the first intelligent agents are hitting the streets, and cash registers are starting to ring. The first wave of prime time agents, as exemplified by Firefly from Firefly Networks Inc. (formerly Agents Inc.), are personal assistants that simplify Web surfing. Firefly has became a media darling-everyone from Time magazine to local TV stations is featuring the little critters. More than half a million users have Firefly agents to help them shop on the Web for music, movies, and books. Two other Web agents are just coming to market-WebTamer from AgentSoft, and WiseWire from Empirical Media. Plus we are seeing the first embedding of agent technology into application specific software such as Swiss Bank's Balet (balance sheet estimation tool) financial management system. Other agents will soon follow Firefly and its cohorts. Still in prototype or getting ready for production are various agents or agent development environments from big league players such as Microsoft, IBM, Enterprise Integration Technologies (now part of Verifone), and Andersen Consulting

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IEEE Expert  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 6 )