ALE is used extensively for commercial and military operations. It automates HF operation by finding the best channel for communications and then automatically establishing a link. I used it extensively from my airplane as I flew around the world last year. The automatic sounding feature allows the stations to automatically track propagation so when you command the radio to call another station, it knows the best band/channel to use automatically. It does have a text-messaging feature called AMD (automatic message delivery). Some hams use that as a digital mode. It is not intended to be a weak signal mode like Olivia. It is intended to reliably establish a link when signal-to-noise ratio is good enough to maintain an SSB contact. Where ALE really shines is for emcomm using NVIS propagation.