Integration of cooperation tools

Technological development has been changing collaboration within and between organizations significantly. When complex, interdisciplinary jobs must be done effectively and efficiently, knowledge workers today need to be able to cooperate flexibly, ad-hoc and across organizational boundaries. Developing integrated system support for this type of cooperation is the mission of the international ECOSPACE project that is coordinated by FIT and involves more than 20 European partners and a budget of over 12 million €. Fraunhofer FIT here contributes its experience and competence in the coordination of large projects with international partners from research, the private and the public sector; we are responsible for the transfer of results through our Virtual Cooperation Lab – VIRAL, and for the development of the integrated cooperation tools.

ECOSPACE reduces information and communication overload by providing integrated solutions. The project developed a reference architecture for integrating different cooperation tools based on a service-oriented approach (SOA). It used Semantic Web technologies for the selection of suitable services and linked together a broad range of services and applications. Thus for the first time different groupware systems have been seamlessly integrated. Together, the results improve contextual and presence awareness, make available information on user behavior when using the cooperation tools and offer a broad range of Web 2.0 tools in a consistent, interoperable cooperation platform.

Practical suitability of the results is safeguarded by the strong involvement of users and user organizations in the ECOSPACE Living Labs; the user-centered design process helps to optimize the systems developed in the project.

More than 60 publications and numerous talks reported the results of ECOSPACE. Expertise and IT-systems developed on that foundation are used in consulting assignments and development projects, e.g. the ongoing development of the widely-used BSCW groupware.

ECOSPACE was partly funded by the European Commission under 6th Framework Program.