[unrev-II] GrooveNetworks.com: Is P2P collaboration the ultimate in disintermediation?

From: John J. Deneen (jjdeneen@ricochet.net)
Date: Wed Mar 07 2001 - 22:43:55 PST

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    Elise Olding, vice president of the knowledge, e-learning and
    collaboration practice of the Hurwitz Group in Emeryville, Calif.,
    thinks so. She suggests that peer-to-peer computing mirrors face-to-face
    human interaction much more closely than do client/server architectures,
    which makes them more attractive to users. She also points to flexible
    structure and the necessity of trust as factors in richer collaboration,
    which P2P implies.

    Ray Ozzie, founder groovenetworks.com, thinks so too. ...

    ... Once a user has downloaded the Groove Transceiver and installed it
    on a desktop PC, it's relatively easy to create shared spaces and invite
    in other members. Those spaces can be customized with features such as
    calendars, threaded discussions, sketchpads, rich-text notepads and
    outliners. Groove also has built-in chat and Internet telephony
    capabilities. During online sessions, users can draw, edit, brainstorm
    and browse the Web together.

    When users work offline in the Groove space, their changes to team
    documents are synchronized with the rest of the group as soon as each
    person returns to the Web. Shared files from external applications such
    as spreadsheets also can be synchronized, but they must be opened in the
    applications that created them. A router at Groove Networks manages
    encryption and digital fingerprints. ...

    Platform for customization
    Ray Ozzie's experience with Lotus Notes inspired him to include hooks
    that allow developers to add functions to Groove. "The fact that it is a
    platform as opposed to a stand-alone solution means a community of
    developers can access the services--synchronization, offline
    capabilities, security and local storage," says Andrew Mahon, director
    of strategic marketing at Groove Networks. "They can build and sell
    collaborative environments for specific markets."

    "That's their big bet," says Hurwitz Group's Smith. "Ozzie is looking at
    how whole ecosystems were built around Notes. He's expecting the same
    thing to happen as people begin to write applications on top of the
    Groove platform."

    One such developer is Agora Professional Services Ltd. of London. It
    developed the first third-party Groove tool, a team status survey and
    monitor board, and has also been using Groove internally and with
    clients. "As a 'zero-infrastructure extranet,' it has massive value to
    all kinds of operations," says Hugh Pyle, Agora's director of

    Mahon admits that Groove is not a stand-alone KM solution. "There seem
    to be three things important for effective knowledge management. Where
    is the appropriate information that is going to help me with my work?
    Who are the right people to talk to? And once the group has gathered and
    has the right content, how do you focus them toward solving the problem
    most quickly? ...

    ... A baseline version of Groove is available as a free download. A
    premium version with additional functions, such as managing multiple
    shared spaces, should be available in the first half of this year. ...


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