This recent piece in InfoWorld talks about the emerging focus of major software vendors on bringing real-time communications capabilities to the enterprise. Macromedia is pretty focused on this too, but is taking a very different approach than other vendors.
I think the world of real-time communications is very immature right now, and for the most part people have natural associations between IM tools, or even web conferencing systems, and real-time. I think these users are important -- the ability to exchange text, audio and video between one or more participants in real-time, both within and outside an organization --- but don't really embrace a deeper vision for real-time applications.
We need to move beyond thinking and talking about how we communicate to talking about how and what we do, what activities we perform in real-time. Communications augments social activities, and those social activities should become the real-focus for real-time application advocates.
Talking to a sales person is one thing -- configuring a product with them is another. Getting a question answered about an insurance application is one thing -- jointly populating the form is another. Having a voice conversation with a room designer versus actually designing a room, visually. Chatting about an online game versus actually playing the game in real-time with other users.