Collaboration server has offline support

Intraspect Software Inc. last week released the next version of its Web-based workgroup collaboration server, which provides the offline features IT executives crave for support of mobile users.

With Intraspect 4, which was formerly called the C-Business Server, users can now download their workspaces and create, edit or annotate documents offline before reconnecting to the Intraspect server and recording the changes. Offline users also can participate in discussion groups.

Intraspect's server, along with those from competitors such as eRoom and iManage, let groups of users set up online "workspaces" where they can create and share documents and manage projects using tools such as workflow.

Lotus' QuickPlace and Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server offer similar capabilities.

User access is paramount for these systems and Intraspect's inclusion of mobility features is key.

"We work on location, and with the ability to do it offline we don't have to rely on a connection or deal with bandwidth issues," says Keith Nater, director of strategic and corporate development for Stellcom, a systems integrator focusing on wireless and mobile computing. Nater says another Intraspect feature, called C-spaces, is beneficial because it lets project managers create customized workspaces for clients. "It simplifies maintenance on our extranet side," he says.

Nater says C-spaces let network administrators create a base set of user and access policies. Project managers can then use a subset of those policies in populating workspaces without requiring further IT intervention. "You create sandboxes so information can be segregated without central administration having to set security policies for each new site," he says.

Another unique mobility feature of Intraspect 4 is the ability to assign an e-mail address to a workspace or folder. This lets e-mail be used to add documents to a workspace or folder and for the server to send notifications on work assignments or document approvals to end users.

Intraspect 4 introduces a personal portal and document-management features such as versioning, document approval and file locking. Also new are customization tools, support for Java and XML, and a software development kit.

Intraspect 4 is integrated with Microsoft Web folders and WebDAV-compliant systems so users can save documents to Intraspect directly from other desktop applications. The integration provides drag-and-drop access from the desktop to Intra-spect folders.

Intraspect 4, which runs on Windows NT or Sun Solaris, is available now and costs US$800 per user.

Intraspect:www.intraspect. com

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