Collaboration has been one of the big buzzwords of the past couple years, with dozens of software vendors?new and old?touting their products’ capabilities of keeping users in touch and sharing knowledge with one another. But Advanced Reality, a small company in Houston, has a slightly different dream. Instead of selling you a collaborative application, it wants to make your existing apps collaborate.
The company’s technology, called Presence-AR, ultimately will let developers both at third-party software development shops and in IT departments integrate collaboration tools into nearly any existing application. If two employees sitting on opposite coasts want to go over some data inside an app that each has installed, rather than starting up another utility and learning yet another interface, they could simply connect and start interacting directly.
To ease the process, Advanced Reality doesn’t require developers to modify their applications. Instead, Presence-AR provides “windows” in application data using Java-based adapters. The platform can even integrate data from multiple applications into a single collaborative session.
The company says it has made a point of building solid security features into Presence-AR so that enabled applications don’t suddenly become entry points for hackers and corporate thieves. Originally developed to allow collaboration on large image files, the product also keeps data flowing across the network to a minimum, which improves performance and increases scalability. It can even automatically format data for a variety of devices, including PDAs, mobile phones and desktop PCs.
Advanced Reality is ready to do custom integration projects now. A software development kit should be available in the middle of 2002.