Social Networks in Large Enterprises

To promote awareness about the applicability of social software within the enterprise, a large German company commissioned Fraunhofer FIT to develop Web 2.0 showcases for its innovation exhibition. Aim of the project was the identification and interactive presentation of social networks between the visitors of the exhibition. For this FIT designed and realized various approaches by using different kind of Web 2.0 technologies.

For the registration the participants of the innovation exhibition used a web-based registration form. In addition to the standard address information, people were also asked to upload a portrait photo and to provide some keywords about work topics, place of birth, favorite holiday destination, preferred soccer team, sports, drinks, literature, and music.

On the date of the exhibition each participant received a name tag that was actually a RFID tag with a unique tag number. This enabled the visitors to interact with the showcases.

Showcase 1: Visitors Network

The Visitors Network visualizes on a touch sensitive plasma screen the current visitor of the showcase as a central node and all connections to other visitors that have indicated same or similar keywords in their registration form. As soon as the visitor selects a keyword or another person in the network, the showcase highlights the resulting subordinated network that spans around that topic or person.

Showcase 2: Group Network

The Group Network presents the last three visitors of the showcase, their locations and interests, and the connections resulting from their common grounds.

Showcase 3: Mashup

The third showcase demonstrates the use of mashups as a suitable technology in Web 2.0 applications. All work places, birth places, and favorite holiday destinations are visualized as a collage in Google Earth. At each location a flag is set that shows the visitor’s name and picture, and the name of the location. Then a flight is started in Google Earth that settles all locations one after the other.

The two day innovation exhibition has been visited by more than 500 employees and costumers of the company. The most interest received the showcase with the geographical localization of the places and holiday destinations. Discussions with the visitors led to a number of new ideas on how Web 2.0 technologies may be introduced gainfully in further application areas of the company.

In November 2008 FIT has demonstrated these showcases during the 10. E12-Gipfel "Internet of Services". Again the social networks were identified from the user data of the registered visitors.