Review of Software Collaborative Tools
- Nishanth Menon
What is "Collaborative computing?" In order to understand this
term, let us focus on the aspects of human collaboration, as it exists
today. E-mail, discussion groups, news servers, and similar software products
help people to electronically exchange information. In other words, these
products provide the basis for "groupware"- an asynchronous
aspect of human collaboration.
Now, being asynchronous does not help us all the time and "real
time" communication seem to be the essence of the issue. Like the
telephone systems, which offer real time communication between people,
software products have been developed that provide functionalities that
are beyond the traditional real-time systems. Thus to define Collaborative
tools I like the quote from web wisdom;
"Collaborative computing is a term describing a variety of activities
where people interact with one another using desktops, laptops, palmtops,
and sophisticated digital cellular phones. As computers are best at handling
data and representing information, person-to-person communication is enriched
by an ability to share, modify, or collaboratively create data and information."
In short, this is what we do in real life over sheets of paper, a white
board or sharing a magazine content over cups of tea. Online collaboration
is due to change the way we work, providing instant connectivity and disregarding
geographical location. As Chuck Martin speaks about the "wired workers"
in his book the "Net Future" and states numerous examples about
how various companies had imparted collaborative tools into their organizations
and profited from the same.
This article shall look briefly at what the various tools for collaboration
are and how emerging technologies can be merged to create the solution
that you might want to adopt.
- Microsoft Net meeting
- Online chat systems
- P2P solutions
a. Open Cola
- Other options
- Security Issues
1. Microsoft Net meeting
This has been around for a long time with capabilities such as what Microsoft
says - "Microsoft conferencing software that you can use to communicate
with both audio and video, collaborate in Windows-based programs, exchange
graphics on an electronic whiteboard, transfer files, or use a text-based
chat program. Common uses of NetMeeting include real-time document collaboration,
technical support in a HelpDesk environment, training and distance learning,
and conducting remote meetings."
And to come to the technical part. The system uses Real Time Protocol
(RTP) which works over User Datagram protocol (UDP) and H.323 for audio
& video transmissions and call control. Light weight Directory Access
Protocol (LDAP) is used by the Internet Locator Servers (ILS) which in
turn are used by the clients to locate and communicate other clients -
a type of directory access system.
Setting this system up is the simplest task you can ever imagine. All
one needs is the Net meeting client that can be procured along with Microsoft
Windows. And of course the name of the ILS where the user has login (using
his or her email ID).
and collaborative concepts
for the enterprise.
Corporate wide skills assessment that in turn matches skills and competencies
with the status of the current organizational skills form the arsenal
of an ERM package.