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Because of the variety of types of collaboration services used in enterprises today, there is difficulty in integrating related work threads from different collaboration environments. Each collaboration tool differs in storage model, APIs, content organization, content addressing, content formats, user authentication, and user interface. Nevertheless users prefer to be able to choose which collaboration tool they use for a given interaction, and over the course of long-term collaboration, will typically use a variety of tools, including email, instant messages, wikis, blogs, web conferences, and shared documents. The solution presented here is to provide a federated integration of these different collaboration tools to make content access and transfer straight forward between different systems. Additionally, we enable the user to achieve this federation by working directly in the client application of their choice; we illustrate this with plug-ins for MS Outlook, Internet Explorer and Skype. Our architecture integrates both desktop and server-centric tools. Additionally it is now possible to use hosted collaboration services in the cloud. This further complicates the ability to federate collaboration tools because of requirements to protect enterprise information and information flows. We present an architecture to address the federation of cloud-based collaboration services.
Date of Conference: 12-13 Dec. 2011