How Virtual Collaboration Technology Changes Term Paper

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Virtual collaboration is a new concept which has its origin in with the invention of the internet. It has its roots from the basic structures of video conferencing technologies that take place over the internet. It involves the real time interaction of two or more persons over an internet link. The persons involved could be in involved in the accomplishment of a certain task without the actual physical presence of each other.

Examples of technologies that are usually employed in the process of virtual collaboration are Video conferencing, Audio conferencing and other forms of computer mediated interactions. The introduction of web 2.0 has however redefined the limits of online virtual collaboration. It has in actual sense broadened the basic definition of the term virtual collaboration. This is because it has introduced a whole range of activities together with new behaviors that are a prerequisite for two or more parties to come together in order to generate a new network together through a process that is akin to the stigmergy in the system of living things.

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The concept of virtual collaboration gives people and businesses the ability to collaborate their ideas on various topics and projects in a time frame which can either be synchronous or asynchronous. The whole essence of virtual corporation is based on the doctrine of sharing .This is realized through the generation of a perfect scenario that natures the exact scenario that has been conceptualized. It however provides a space and framework to cater for a wide spectrum of ideas. Its ability to connect people from virtually any part of the world therefore makes it a very crucial element of the contemporary network of global intelligence. Its merits include the fact that it provides a lot of flexibility while nurturing innovation and creativity among separate parties without the actual need of a physical setup which had for a long time characterized the scene of business and social interactions. This ability has been tapped by corporations and small firms in the process of collaborating between their various teams across a wide global platform.

Virtual Meetings

Term Paper on How Virtual Collaboration Technology Changes the Way Assignment

Meetings held virtually can be conducted through data conferencing or web-conferencing. In data conferencing, participants are able to share programs and information from their PCs through application sharing, file transfer, chat, and white boarding. Organizations can conduct online meetings using this tool with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint software. In web conferencing central, a dedicated organization to provided online meetings at lower costs, and developed a way in which the presenter controls all the presentations as the meeting participants view the slides online. Solutions for application sharing, desktop, sales representations and co-browsing are also provided.

A desktop PC and a web browser is normally required for one to be able to share these applications with other users. Text, free-hand pen tools e.t.c enables effective sharing of the contents by the presenter. This kind of technology allows users to work together in real time; thus reduces the hassles as well as transport costs and time.

Using co-browsing enables linking of browsers between employees and the company's clients. The employees therefore enjoy the ease of explaining everything involving the company's website to the clients as they both view the contents on real time context. This is more efficient especially when the client faces problems when using programs from the company's web. For example, the text highlighting feature of the application enables the employee to show a specific part of website to the customer for clarification. All in all, co-browsing is a well equipped customer tool that has proved efficient in most aspects of customers needs. It also helps organizations to sustain their brand loyalty and increase customer satisfaction.

Software Solutions

Virtual communication is enabled by various software and hardware. There are mainly three kinds of technology that are required for consideration when acquiring software: Collaborative software systems, desktop video conferencing systems (DVCSs) and internet/intranet systems.

Collaborative software systems, which are also called the group support systems, are designed for groups to work independently and interactively. For example, Lotus Notes which is software designed for asynchronous group work. It combines project scheduling and a team, data sharing, e-mail, and document.

Using emails and telephones are ways in which people can collaborate; however DVCSs technology takes collaboration of persons to a more complex form of communication where face-to-face features are a reality. This technology not only works with one-on-one users, it is also designed to support multi-users all in a real time interaction. The multi-user aspect of the technology has been accomplished by use of ear piece and microphone combination along with a small camera that is mounted on top of a user's monitor.

The third category of technology for consideration is the internet and intranet systems. This system can be used by groups to post data, audio streams and video aids. These entire online upload can be viewed and listened to by other members of the group/team.

Reed Hornberger, the Vice President of Horizontal solutions, Sun Microsystems lays out the importance of investing in virtual collaboration by companies; he states that organizations should not entirely rely on the internet. He explains that the use of e-mails and file sharing provides only basic information exchange since they are categorized as low-powered collaboration techniques. Reed Hornberger continues emphasizing that these internet tools are supposed to be used in conjunction with Product Life Cycle Management technologies in order to increase various forms of information exchange as well as frequency of exchanged information all over the design team to enhance more creativity in decision making.

Concerns

The choice of which type of software to adopt in a company, is one of the most difficult tasks in an organization as far as virtual collaboration is concerned. Activating the system within a home environment or a team is also a major challenge. The management that carried out the cross-functional training of teams had to get involved in studying this phenomenon. It was very difficult to create a process of virtual collaboration if just a few people develop problems with the application; and this difficulty extended when the management discovered that people faced difficulty in collaboration even when they were co-located. This problem in collaboration was partly due to competition among users rather than collaboration as team members. Different backgrounds of team members also influenced the collaboration application due to variations in cultural expectations, working standards and different tongues.

There are also security issues that affect virtual collaboration. Succesful meetings assure the parties involved that they are meeting with the right individual(s), and confidential information is not shared to any third parties. This has partly been made possible by authentication through generating usernames and passwords. The information must be protected since it is sent without encryption from the client to the server.

The real security issue is exchange of control and data application among collaborative customers and servers. Securities have been put in place to protect other information like credit card numbers and bank statements but the more complex data in virtual collaboration is difficult to secure. This creates a loophole for unwanted access in the system.

Methods use in virtual collaboration

Virtual collaboration involves the working together of persons on a certain set intellectual goal. The aspect of collaboration has also existed between several team members in the traditional work setting. The team members are motivated to achieve a certain goal. Virtual collaboration therefore involves the use of digital techniques and equipment in enabling various organizations or certain individuals to freely collaborate in the designing of a certain plan, the development of a certain idea, the research of a certain product or service or any other matter that can be collaborated upon.

It is worth pointing out categorically that collaboration is not a face-to-face process. The virtual aspect of collaboration has its own share of demerits. The use of virtual teams is implemented in organizations that are mainly involved in the development of a product using a predetermined life cycle. The process of developing this product usually takes place in geographically dispersed locations. Even though several applications of virtual collaboration are in existence, my main attention is on the corporate importance of the technology and its impact on the global operations. The technology can allow for the virtual meetings and web-conferences to be held at a moment's notice.

The technologies that are used in rolling out the virtual collaboration platform s are numerous. They range from the use of second life which is a virtual world in which the residents communicate or rather interact with earth other through the use of avatars to the use of video conferencing portals that make us of either PC-based or online-based platforms such as Skype and Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger. The other more capital intensive systems include the use of very high speed internet connection to transmit video conference data from highly specialized video conference cameras such as Nefsis, to high resolution HD screens in board rooms.

The current collaborative technology hardware and software technology… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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