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7/26/2007
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Meet Collaboration 3.0

Last week we began our look at Collaboration 3.0, a term we coined to describe a very high level of collaboration, where multiple companies across the globe work together as if they were all part of one giant enterprise.

Our story began with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which was designed and built using Collaboration 3.0 principles and technologies.  Parts for the aircraft were designed concurrently by partners located in 11 countries and then assembled virtually in a computer model maintained by Boeing.

What we now think of as advanced collaboration (i.e. Collaboration 2.0), where we meet in online workspaces or share documents, is nothing compared to designing a complex piece of machinery such as an aircraft where two or more parts that are being independently designed will eventually be attached to the same product.  Concurrent design entails far greater complexity than one might imagine; Under the leadership of Rick Mutter, Boeing’s 787 chief IT architect, Boeing and its partners had to completely restructure their design and manufacturing processes.  Many had to replace existing software in order to use the same product lifecycle management software from Dassault Systémes, Catia.  But that was only part of the solution.Boeing deployed Citrix Presentation Server to enable the company’s designers and engineers to collaborate remotely with partners in virtual team workspaces.   

This was not an out-of-the-box deployment as Presentation Server is designed for text, not graphics.  Boeing and Citrix had to contend with low bandwidth and high latency issues to ensure a viable solution.

Other challenges related to data security.  No data was to be stored on local clients and users required secure access to the Boeing intranet for Unix workstations in addition to Windows machines.

Next week, as we continue this series, we'll look at how Collaboration 3.0 impacted Boeing and the 787 Dreamliner program.

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