The power of collaboration.Collaborative technologies are one of the great disappointments of IT. Although many products designed to help people work together have fared moderately well over the past decade, very few have lived up to expectations.
But all this may be about to change, with analysts forecasting a wave of investment. This will be fuelled by the emergence of converged IP networks, the growth of web services (1) Loosely, any online service delivered over the Web. Such usage appears in articles from non-technical sources, but not in IT-oriented publications, because definition #2 below describes the correct use of the term. technology, and the development of 'presence' technologies and the SIP (session initiation protocol (protocol) Session Initiation Protocol - (SIP) A very simple text-based application-layer control protocol. It creates, modifies, and terminates sessions with one or more participants. Such sessions include Internet telephony and multimedia conferences.
It is described in RFC 2543. ).
Above all, it is increased bandwidth that will make the real difference. Gartner, the advisory group, predicts that from 2004 to 2008, companies will increase bandwidth by between 40% and 100% each year, changing the way that people interact and removing location from the equation altogether.
Collaboration technology is an umbrella term A term used to cover a broad category of functions rather than one specific item. In many cases, a term is so catchy that it tends to be used for technologies that are a stretch from the original concept. See middleware and virtualization. used to describe the tools that allow users to work together towards a specific goal using shared media. The aim is to create a persistent and secure meeting space for high levels of meaningful interaction.
Among the tools relying on intensive bandwidth are web-based conferencing, which includes audio, video and data calls using IP technology; whiteboard The electronic equivalent of chalk and blackboard, but between remote users. Whiteboard systems allow network participants to simultaneously view one or more users drawing on an on-screen blackboard or running an application. collaboration, often a feature of conferencing facilities; and groupware Software that supports multiple users working on related tasks in local and remote networks. Also called "collaborative software," groupware is an evolving concept that is more than just multiuser software which allows access to the same data. or application sharing A data conferencing capability that lets two or more users interactively work on the same application at the same time. The application is loaded and running in only one machine; however, keystrokes are transmitted from and screen changes are transmitted to the other participants. , which can be real-time or asynchronous Refers to events that are not synchronized, or coordinated, in time. The following are considered asynchronous operations. The interval between transmitting A and B is not the same as between B and C. The ability to initiate a transmission at either end. , and which is often an integral component of 'computer-supported cooperative work'.
Considerable evidence supports claims that all of these technologies can improve productivity; the problem to date has been that they are often expensive, difficult to set up, and limited in function. Consolidation on IP, coupled with high bandwidth, will make all of them much more effective.
'Presence technology' is also a powerful tool for collaborative working. This enables users to know when another user is available, and using SIP, even to know what devices they are using. This will enable users to call ad-hoc 'collaborative' meetings.
Increased bandwidth at both ends promises to improve the effectiveness of online meetings, because more can be communicated in a shorter time.
The key benefits of web-conferencing are the ability to hold meetings which might never have taken place, organise meetings at short notice, reduce time and money spent travelling, and the ability to bring in productivity and knowledge management tools.
David Coleman This page is about David Coleman the sportsman, for the academic visit David Coleman (academic)
David Coleman, OBE (born 26 April 1926) is a former British sports commentator and TV presenter. , MD of industry analyst firm Collaborative Strategies, estimates that more than 95% of online conferences involve less than 10 people, reducing the problem of failing attention spans.
A survey by Raindance Communications Raindance Communications Inc., is a US company that provides online meeting, web conferencing and teleconferencing services. Its products include "Raindance Seminar Edition", "Raindance Meeting Edition", "Raindance Web Conferencing Pro", "Raindance Reservationless Conferencing", found that 90% of participants in audio conferences engage in unrelated activities, such as surfing the net while 'attending' a meeting. But over 80% of this group said they would be less likely to do so if conference calls included a video component.
By integrating collaboration tools into the fabric of business processes and applications, businesses can be more efficient and innovative. But analysts warn that tools are often bought then left unused or unsupported, creating security problems and inefficiencies.