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Competition Update Update II
- To: <xanadu>
- Subject: Competition Update Update II
- From: Joel Voelz -- "Marketing-in-a-Drum" <joel>
- Date: Wed, 9 Aug 89 13:54:48 PDT
Seems like a lot of my message got last the last time. here it is again:
A well-funded start up called CTI (Coordination Technology Inc.) is readying a
groupware product aimed at providing the flexibility, look and feel of a real
office. It is based on an SQL-Server product (probably Gupta or Sybase) and is
designed to integrate features found in project management, group scheduling
and personal time-management packages more seamlessly - and more visually
- than ever before. Combining SQL database communications functions with
OS/2's ability to link applications, the software will let users on an OS/2-
based LAN Manager network view and contribute to an ongoing project from
any PM application. They are installing it in Beta sites THIS MONTH and have
a general release planned for March 1990. This gives them about six months
of heavy duty Beta. The first version will run on 3COM, 3+OPEN or IBM LAN
Server networks with OS/2 servers and workstations. Each work
station will require 4M bytes of RAM; each server will require 8M bytes. Pricing
is expected to be in the range of $400/user in a 10 user package (this is very
close to the preliminary pricing schedule in Principia although I only have a
group of 5 listed).
It is supposed to have an astounding lifelike user interface that mirrors a real work
environment AND IT CAN SERVE AS A PLATFORM FOR USER-DEVELOPED applications.
They will include a set of visual programming tools designed to let users build
custom automation systems.
For example, a user could build a system that automates the reporting of department
wide sales figures to a sales manager. Once in place (the application), each sales
representative uses his or hers preferred PM-compatible spreadsheet to maintain
individual performance records. Updated spreadsheets are automatically encap-
sulated by the CTI s/w, which has access to each user's spreadsheet; a department-
wide report is then issued automatically to the sales manager at regular intervals.
The user interfface mirrors the physical office environment on screen. Users
begin with a screen that resembles a blueprint of an office, with workspaces for
all users of the system. Mirroring the physical movement of an office worker,
the user employs a mouse-driven icon to "enter" his or her own "work space".
Once inside a work space, the user is presented with a screen containing the
likeness of a desk. On the desk are found replications of calendars, Rolodexes,
project files, etc, etc which can be activated and used much as they would be
on a real desk.
These guys are heavily funded, (they have over $15 Million to date), have been
working on the application for over two years, and have expressed openly that
they expect to spend millions more on educating the market about their product.
This will probably create a bigger flurry when they ship than Lotus' Notes.
A major point to observe is their large effort in providing a USER environment
that has customization tools allowing users to create their own applications.
When you read the Principia Xanadua and get to the part where I say that our
application must evolve into an application environment this is exactly what I'm
referring to. I believe that a large part of the innovation in this market will
come from users- information specialists who have knowledge of specific
information processing techniques and not just from the development community.