I'm at the Office 2.0 conference ( more) listening to the organizer, Ismael Ghalimi, discuss his pure Web 2.0 philosophy for setting up the conference: No local software, no files stored on PCs, no paper at all. At this conference, Ismael is even hoping that a special iPhone-friendly Web site set up for attendees will obviate the need for business card exchange (this is so not going to happen, but it's a good experiment).
Today at the Office 2.0 Conference, Zoho (more coverage) is announcing the new, paid business edition of its Web applications suite. Companies will be able to get user administration, company branding, and domain mapping (just like Google Apps for My domain), backup, pooled storage, and telephone support. When the product launches in October, it will cost about $40 per year per user.
Zoho will continue to have a free version, Zoho Personal, but some applications that are currently in it, like Zoho CRM, will move out of Personal and only be available in the Business edition. Other applications will … Read more
The Office 2.0 conference ( more) opens up in San Francisco tomorrow. As it did last year, this show will push the Web 2.0 concept for business as far as it can go. I expect that a lot of activity at the conference will center around groupware and work-flow applicatiosn. In the past few days I've talked to the founders of four companies competing in this space-- Central Desktop, Sosius, Huddle, and ShareMethods -- each of which is aiming to use Web 2.0 concepts like simple design, hosted services, and a-la-carte pricing, to knock Microsoft's Sharepoint off its peg, and take on Web 2.0 work-flow stalwart 37Signals' Basecamp as well. Not to mention blocking upstarts from big companies, like Webex's WebOffice, before they can get major traction.
It's going to be a tough battle for these products to stand out from each other. The founders I talked to have similar pitches. They talk about low-cost, bottom-up (as opposed to IT-driven) sales, and the fact that they're not trying to replace office products like Microsoft Office or even Web 2.0 suites like Zoho, but rather trying to bring collaboration and workflow to every business with a Web connection.
The one area where these products all need to develop the most is in their integration with these online office productivity tools. At the moment, all of these applications will help you check in and manage files that you create on your PC, and they'll handle approval cycles, discussions, and project plans. But these applications really need tight integration with tools like Google Docs to truly free users from the shackles of local software. That's not just a philosophical perspective--working half online (for work flow) and half on a PC (for productivity applications) is confusing and will slow adoption of these products.
That said, I like all these services. They fill a need that e-mail and wikis can't, and that traditional software is too heavy for. Most of the products look great and aren't over-featured, making it fairly easy for users to get up to speed on them.
The differences between these applications are not immediately obvious...
Sony and a technology site are using a conference to show off a confluence of next-generation, monopoly-bypassing technology: a Sony Playstation 3 videogame console running Linux and Firefox as a foundation for Web-based "Office 2.0" applications.
Sony called the conference a great opportunity to "showcase the PS3 system's computing power and productivity capabilities."
"Installing Linux and Firefox on the PS3 enables … Read more
Several signs are pointing to the imminent launch of Google Wiki and the company's long-awaited presentation service at this week's Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco.
The biggest indicators are history and vague comments by Google officials. Last year's Office 2.0 brought the launch of Google Docs and Spreadsheets, and Jonathan Rochelle, the product manager for Google Spreadsheets, will also be at hand for the opening panel at the conference kickoff on Thursday. Between this, an almost-demo by Google's CEO Eric Schmidt of the presentation application, as well as a post on the Official Google Blog … Read more
I'm sure I'm going to get in trouble with the CNET IT team for this, but I just set up my computer to run Spiceworks, a business network scanning and monitoring application. Spiceworks scans a PC's local network and reports on the health of various items. You can tell which printers are running out of ink, which PCs have out-of-date virus scanners, and so on.
To monitor PCs, you need to be a systems administrator with a network administrator login for the computers in your office. I don't have that access, but I was able to peer into the data the system returned on my own PC, as well as on printers and a few open-access computers here in the office. I found the level of information both deep and clearly presented. For example, administrators with this tool will easily be able to see which applications are installed at the company and which users are running old versions. It can also kick off Windows remote control sessions for hands-on tech support.
Spiceworks also has a full help-desk system through which users can submit service requests. The system then lets you assign and track tickets until they are done.
Zoho, the Web application company that seems to release a new product at every Web 2.0 conference, today launched a tool to make accessing these applications easier: A Start page, Zoho Start, that shows you all your Zoho files (not apps) in one place. This document-centric page is important, since human beings don't tend to organize their projects around the applications they were created in. It's why we have folders and directories, and indeed, Zoho Start lets you create folders that you can put your documents in.
At last year's Office 2.0 Conference (which CNET sponsored), attendees were delighted to discover that the price of admission included an iPod Nano, cleverly preloaded with the conference schedule.
This year, organizer Ismael Ghalimi is raising the ante. All conference attendees get iPhones.
The phones will be part of experiment at the conference in Web-based group collaboration (the iPhones being, as we've said before, hardware for Webware), which Ghalimi explains on his site. Also, the logistics of ordering and shipping the phones to attendees is being done with Web 2.0 products and services, a Webware experiment … Read more