Saturday, January 28, 2006

Collaborative Platforms in the era of Vista – p2p and RF-ID

When we think of collaborative platforms probably the first idea that pops-up in our brain is that old fashion repository that came from the ftp dark ages. This image reflects nothing more than our perception of an unfilled promise. Collaborative Platforms were supposed to allow us to work in a distributed, asynchronous way, enhancing our capacities, when the reality is that they allow us to share files and in some cases to conduct meetings. That’s a long way … between expectations and reality. If we just think for a minute in the image that we portrayed before, we’ll immediately notice two main characteristics:  We think of collaborative platforms in terms of the big meetings that are going to change the world (or at least try to …).  When we say collaborative we only think of humans. What if it was not so? For the shake of the example let’s talk for a second about a new collaborative tool in Windows Vista and to fit it better in the discussion we will frame it in a particular scenario. Imagine a doctor entering with a tablet PC to a patients’ room. Immediately the tablet pc recognizes the presence of instruments in the room (via web services and establishing a p2p network through wifi with them) and other doctors. He also grants permission to the other “entities” to see and interact with him. In the tablet pc he can watch data coming through the instruments, merge it and ask for historical data old files, etc… directly to the instrument. Also he can interact with the other humans and share data and drawings with them like in a word pad. With this simple scenario we have recreated two elements of possibly new Collaborative working environments:  A mixture of people and objects that seamlessly interact.  Collaborative Environments build ad hoc for trivial, let’s say mundane task that require complex interactions dealing with tacit knowledge in contrast to purely transactional. Let’s go one step further – what about if instead of complex devices with some capacity for interaction we had simple RF-ID tags where the interaction capacity is restricted mainly to information selection? Like with innovation, besides the big new things we have a enormous number of small simple innovations that incrementally are improving products and organizations. In collaboration we have the same, besides the big board meetings, there are a lot of complex interactions that are being carried out constantly were collaborative environments can make a difference and where objects and not only humans are going to play a significant role. >> By the way if you want to see the original Windows Vista application … just click here


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