PBWorks and Real Time Collaboration

PBworks_LogoPBWorks has announced a “Real-time Collaboration Update”  which brings integrated Instant Messaging collaboration, Live Notifications (activity streams), Live Editing (rather than standard wiki asynchronous editing) and integrated Voice Collaboration with on-demand voice conferencing.

This is a big step up. Instead of being a  mere wiki, the platform now offers different ways to collaborate, but still captures the information in the platform. I assume that is one of the reasons they changed their name from PB Wiki to PB Works.

PB Wiki was the first wiki I ever used. A group used it to plan an international meeting of law firm knowledge management leaders. Now I regularly use the PB Works tools as part of GeekDad information management process.

While I was at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, I spent a few minutes with a bunch of people from PB Works: Jim Groff, the CEO;  Chris Yeh, Vice President, Marketing ; Glen Hoffman, Sales Engineer; Greg lelli, Legal Sales Specialist; and Kristine Molnar, Community Evangelist.

One of the drawbacks of a wiki was the check-in/check-out process. Only one person could edit a wiki page at a time. Google Docs (and to a lesser extent Google Wave) showed us that you can have multiple people editing at the same time and speed up the collaboration process even more.

The PB Works team gave me a demo of the new tools and it was pretty cool. If you are editing a page and realize that you need input of other team members, you can summon them to the page using IM Collaboration, start a Live Editing session, and use Voice Collaboration to initiate an instant conference call. You can do this all in a fraction of the time it would take to set up a web conference, the call line, and communicate the details to everyone.

Since PBworks hosts the  information, you can be up and running in a few minutes.