Groove has announced shipments of Groove Virtual Office version 3.0. Previously called Groove Workspace, the company believes that the new name more aptly characterizes the ways customers use the software. With the objective of doing more than enabling team collaboration, this version is intended to allow large commercial enterprises to cost-effectively deploy Groove in order to support any business process, project, or information-sharing requirement that spans the networked office environment.
The Groove Virtual Office version 3.0 upgrade includes hundreds of enhancements such as more robust control and management of Groove client software and an enhanced forms tool. The forms tool is intended to allow non-technical users to quickly create custom applications that extend live, structured data from internal systems to mobile workers and third parties. Customers worldwide have been trialing version 3.0 since March, including Lowe Worldwide, Reuters, GlaxoSmithKline, and Hewlett Packard.
Groove Virtual Office software is comprised of core capabilities--secure data synchronization, activity awareness, and contextual conversation--designed to let teams work together virtually, online and offline, independent of geographic or organizational boundaries, while flexibly supporting their unique work styles and requirements. Corporate and third-party developers can also develop custom tools or access Groove's core capabilities via other applications. IT departments can centrally manage Groove deployments and usage, and integrate Groove data with centralized systems and databases.
Enhancements to Groove Virtual Office version 3.0 include: Launchbar--to view and access Groove workspaces, contacts, and activity from a single location; Rapid applications with enhanced forms--for rapidly creating business process-specific applications and connecting them to back-end databases and systems. The product comes with 10 ready-made yet customizable forms templates to help users get started; Windows-integrated folder synchronization--for securely sharing files across any number of a user's own PCs, or among multiple users' PCs, even across firewall boundaries; Expanded alerts and activity awareness--to signal when individuals come online, enter workspaces, and perform important activities through visual, audible, and spoken notifications; Improved performance--to quicken the start-up time and navigation of the Groove user interface, as well as data transfer among users; Third-party Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) support--to enable organizations to use their own certificate authorities for identity authentication; Activity auditing for regulatory compliance--to centrally capture workspace activity and data on users' PCs for regulatory compliance; Expanded Web Services API--for creating discrete applications that consume some or all Groove virtual office capabilities such as synchronization and presence awareness; and .NET API--for developing custom tools or bots that run within Groove Virtual Office, using VS.NET as the integrated development environment.
Groove Virtual Office version 3.0, comprising client and server software and development offerings, is available immediately. Groove Virtual Office Professional Edition v3.0 is priced at $179; Project Edition at $229; and File Sharing Edition at $69. Hosted Relay and Management services are priced at $40 per user per year. The list prices for customers who want to deploy their own servers are: Groove Enterprise Relay Server, $14,995; Groove Enterprise Management Server, $19,995; and Groove Enterprise Integration Server, $9,995.
Groove Virtual Office v3.0 runs on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 5 or later), Windows 2000, or Windows XP, Windows 98, and Windows ME, and requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0. The software requires a PC with an Intel Pentium 400 MHz or higher processor (or equivalent) with a minimum of 256 MB of RAM, 100 MB of hard disk storage, and a 56 kbps modem (local area network, DSL or cable modem preferred). A sound card, speakers, and microphone may be required to use the software's voice and audible alert capabilities.