The Race to Mobile Collaboration and Persistent Spaces
By Jim Lundy
As I finalize our Tech Spectrum for Mobile Collaboration report, I’ve been thinking about the underlying theme of persistence and persistent spaces in collaborative interactions.
While we move from asynchronous to real-time interactions throughout our day, true context is derived from a persistent space metaphor that can allow us to keep track of it all. Combining communication and collaboration tools with content sharing in a persistent space provides well-needed context. This has been an emerging capability for mobile collaboration providers.
In the mid 1990s, the IRC (Internet Relay Chat), became a popular chat tool for persistent group chat conversations. This transferred into enterprise equivalents for persistent group chat offerings which allowed users to establish channels or groups such as ones for sales, marketing, or for specific projects. I have always said that this was social before social became a buzzword. These groups or channels are akin to what we would call social networks or communities today. In many industries such as financial services, military, and defense, persistent group chat is still a well utilized collaborative capability.
What we are witnessing now with emerging mobile collaboration offerings is a unique combination of persistent spaces with real-time communications, chat, video, voice, presence, and content sharing with integrations into applications such as Box, Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive, and Google Drive.
What is also interesting is the foray into mobile collaboration from providers of diverse backgrounds. Fuze acquired Live Minutes and now has an offering called Fuze Spaces. We expect more providers in web and video conferencing to do the same. Jive Software from the social collaboration space provides their own mobile collaboration offerings under the Jive Workstyle umbrella. What’s similar in all of these offerings is a move to combine multiple communications modalities in a virtual persistent space.
We believe the persistent space metaphor along with secure profiles and identity to identify users against a directory, will be a glue that will tie together and provide the context for collaborative interactions. Any collaboration provider that wants to succeed in this market has to look at supporting persistent spaces. Because of mobility and cloud access to a wide range of capabilities and resources, enterprise users have already created their own personal workspaces that consists of collaboration and content sharing tools such as Box and Google Drive. This is why it behooves collaboration technology providers to support a virtual persistent space that in itself supports the personal workspaces of users.
People work how they work! Forcing experiences on users that are not natural ends in revolt. That has always been the technology adoption dilemma. Technology providers and business planners have to ensure support for user workstyles. At the heart of the emerging mobile collaboration space, we see a more concerted effort in designing for better user experiences.
However, let’s keep in mind, it’s the user’s experience that is most important.