Wolfe's Den: Mad Rush For Enterprise 2.0 Patents - InformationWeek
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Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Wolfe's Den: Mad Rush For Enterprise 2.0 Patents

Vendors are vying to lock up rights to the social-enterprise. Here's a selective look at cool patent tech from Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText , and SAP, as well as two surprising newcomers.

Resilient Goes Threaded
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Their E2.0 patent application, number 20100169888, "Virtual Process Collaboration," seems to stem from Resilient's work. It makes use "thread servers," which are the traffic cops of the envisioned collaboration process:

"Process Thread Servers may have built-in support for defining and executing the common building blocks of any process--reviews, approvals, delegation, assignments, messages, reminders, forms, security, rules, etc. They may function as a built-in project manager and personal assistant for process participants, keeping the information about the processes they stores organized, accessible and secure, reminding participants of pending or late deliverables, etc."

Reading deeper into the application, one gets the impression that it revolves around keeping collaboration environments synchronized. For example, it notes that when one process or thread is modified, that may reflect user actions, which in turn have to be communicated out to other processes.

One can see how a company involved in acting as an interceptor for http requests, authenticating them and then granting access to a server (or not) would have the smarts applicable to manage a collaborative environment, which likely looks not all that dissimilarly schematically.

8) Microsoft: Managing Group Communications

Patent number 7,747,719, awarded on June 29, 2010, has the full title, "Methods, tools, and interfaces for the dynamic assignment of people to groups to enable enhanced communication and collaboration." Credited to inventors Eric Horvitz, Carl Kadie, and Sean Blagsvedt, its intent, putting it into my own words, is to connect affinity groups of people via a communications channel.

This functionality is illustrated a screen showing the members of a volunteer fire department handled by a groupwise manager. A second figure (click through to the slideshow to see both views) is a simulated shot of a user interface screen by when individuals set policies for how often, and under what conditions, they receive update messages.

What's your take? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at alex@alexwolfe.net.

Follow me on Twitter: (@awolfe58)

Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.

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