Dave Gray wrote this nice post about his desire for great distance collaboration tools. Check it out – it is a quick read.
Some of Dave’s points that really resonate:
- “I think many of them are actually solving the wrong problem. Good collaboration is not about meetings”.
I think this is the single greatest cause of product failures – designing to solve the wrong problem, answering the wrong questions. The answer or product may be terrific. But users don’t care about products that don’t change their lives – products designed to solve the wrong problem.
- “So good distance collaboration tools will be deeply integrated into the work. They will not be temporal (meeting time, agenda, we all get together to talk, etc.). They will be spatial.”
This is the key obstacle for collaboration and UC technology. Which means it is a key opportunity as well. I think there is hope here. Internet and VoIP enable the voice and video parts of collaboration to be integrated within overall collaboration use cases – not artificially separated by technology limitations. WebRTC may help enable and accelerate. Hopefully we will enable voice and video to be a part of true real time communication platforms (not based on transaction-oriented protocols such as SIP and H.323).
- “Think about what it is like to work in close proximity to other team members on a great team. You are aware of who else is in the office. You have a sense of what they are doing and working on…You are aware of all this in an ambient way. You don’t have to think about it. It’s like peripheral vision. It’s effortless.”
Some nice elements of design goals for great distance collaboration in Dave’s notes above. Emulate proximity, ambient awareness, peripheral vision, effortless. Easier said than done, of course. But too many solutions aren’t even trying to get there.