Huddle24-7 Creates an Online Office for Businesses

SANTA ANA, CALIF. (04/20/2000) - A new company, called Huddle24-7 Inc., has launched a Web-based service that lets users at different companies share and manage business documents.

The goal is to create a complete online office that can be used by different companies that do business together, CEO Andrew Patel says.

The Huddle247 offering has four Web-based software elements: office automation; document management; Web conferencing; and project management. All the software was built by the company, using Microsoft Active Server Pages, JavaScript, Microsoft's Component Object Model and the Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 database.

The software itself runs on servers managed by hosting service provider Exodus.

Business customers pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.95 for each "huddle" - which is each shared office, and then an additional $4.95 per month for each additional huddle member.

The huddles are set up as a series of rooms. Each has an administrator room, where users can be added or deleted and granted access to other rooms, features or even just to individual files and documents. All activities by each user are tracked in the database.

Users can log in to the huddle via the Web, use a contact manager and calendar, and send and receive e-mail. Users can view and annotate any kind of document, including drawings. Employees, clients, vendors and subcontractors can all be users.

The company had to build its own document management system, because none of the document vendors were willing to license their software for a hosted model.

"They almost laughed me out of their offices," Patel recalls.


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