Rob's World

Tag: collaboration

Anywhere/Anytime Access to Information is NOT Real Time Collaboration!

by on Feb.05, 2010, under Uncategorized

I was listening to a briefing where someone was talking about a product designed for Real Time collaboration. (Think Web-ex/Google Wave/Novell Pulse/etc). They proceeded to attempt to say that the proliferation of anywhere/anytime access was actually the same as Real Time Collaboration.

Frankly, I think differently.  anywhere/anytime access means that no matter where I am/what time it is, I can choose to get at online information, or contact, or be contacted.  I can also choose not to.  If I want to check email at 2AM in bed, I can.  On the train in the middle of no where, sure! etc.. but at the same time, when I am doing those things, *I* am CHOOSING to be online/accessing information/people etc.  With real time collaboration, it REQUIRES that multiple parties be available at the same time.  For a system where we live co-author a document to make sense, we both have to be on-line looking at the document/working together on it.  If one of us chooses to not be online at that moment/chooses to not be part of the conversation, then it isn’t truly real time collaboration is it?  It’s the same as you working on something, and sending me a link/email/etc so that I can seperately, on my own time, review and work on it.

Now. this is not to say that the two topics are not intertwined. Obviously, the proliferation of devices that allow for anywhere/anytime access is what gives us the push to make real time collaboration possible, but by no means are they the same thing.  It would be nice if speakers realized this and spoke appropriately, as after I hear something like that, my brain turns off assuming the speaker doesn’t know what they are talking about.

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