Web 2.0: Moving into the workplace

Web 2.0 is moving from the consumer space to the workplace with chip maker Intel promoting the creation of a new software suite.


In yet another sign that Web 2.0 technologies are finding their way from the consumer space into workplace settings, chip maker Intel is spearheading the assembly of a software suite that includes blogging, wiki and content syndication software.

The product, called SuiteTwo, will feature software from SocialText, NewsGator Technologies, SimpleFeed and Six Apart, all considered part of the Web 2.0 wave of internet application makers. In general, Web 2.0 applications are those developed after the dotcom crash that share certain traits: they are usually built on open-standards architectures, are browser-based, employ reusable components and focus on encouraging collaboration and interaction among users.

SpikeSource will support the suite and help Intel with its distribution. SuiteTwo will be aimed at small and medium-sized businesses initially, with plans to place it in the enterprise market later, says Lisa Lambert, managing director of the software and solutions group at Intel Capital, Intel's venture capital organisation.

The move proves that Web 2.0 applications, most of which were originally developed to serve the consumer market, are increasingly being adapted for use in organisations, says Michael Goulde, an analyst from Forrester Research.

"It's the first time anybody has taken some of these new applications together and made them into a package that can be easily implemented," Goulde says.

IT departments are becoming more and more familiar with Web 2.0 applications but are not entirely sure how to deploy them in a safe and controlled manner. "With a lot of them, after you download them, it's up to you to support them, so [IT managers] are a little reluctant to make them a part of their regular business applications," Goulde says. "So having the support behind these new applications is very important."

Intel has chosen the applications well, since wikis, blogs and content syndication applications are proving very convenient and useful in workplace environments, Goulde says. For Intel, it is good business to support any new technologies that users find useful. Meanwhile, the application vendors obtain a powerful distribution channel into the business market, helping them gain access to customers they may not otherwise reach, Goulde says.

Intel plans to expand the suite to include podcasting, social networking and mobile applications, Intel's Lambert says. SuiteTwo will be positioned as an integrated set of tools for internal and external business communications.

The applications have been given a single sign-on feature and a common user interface. Intel will initially optimise them for its server hardware, and later possibly for its desktop PC and mobile platforms, Lambert says.

The chip maker will encourage its partner resellers, distributors and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to adopt the suite and bundle it with their products.

The suite, to be unveiled at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, will be available to early-access users by the end of 2006, with broad availability expected in the first quarter of next year. It will run on server operating systems from Red Hat, Novell and Microsoft.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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