Adobe has demonstrated two hosted services - codenamed Pacifica and CoCoMo - that will allow developers to add real-time collaboration, including voice over IP, to Internet applications.
Pacifica will allow developers to integrate voice, messaging and user presence information into applications built using Adobe Flex, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) or Flash.
Flex is Adobe's development environment for building “rich Internet applications” (RIAs), web-based applications with multimedia for a rich user experience. AIR, which is currently available in beta-test form, allows developers to take those web applications and move them to the desktop.
CoCoMo will be based on the Adobe Connect web conferencing service, and will let developers integrate certain parts of Connect's functionality into other applications. Basically, the company is turning Connect into components for its Flex development environment so developers can build and host collaborative applications on Connect, said Adobe chief software architect Kevin Lynch.
Adobe is beginning a private beta test of Pacifica this month and plans to have the service available more widely next year. Meanwhile, the next version of Connect will be built on CoCoMo, but the company has not specified a time for that release.
Lynch said services such as Pacifica and CoCoMo are part of Adobe's strategy for providing the ability to add real-time business collaboration to RIAs. Companies such as Microsoft and IBM already offer collaboration desktop and server software, but Adobe is approaching the market from a different perspective, he said.
"People are using web-based content to collaborate in real time," Lynch said. "We have great experience with this, with client technology like Flash. We hope to deploy this collaboration in a way that will work for everyone."
Lynch said Adobe is building on its strengths in web technologies such as Flash and software such as Acrobat for collaborating on desktop documents, to compete in this market, he said.
Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst at research firm Zapthink, said Adobe is still trying to figure out its business model around its collaboration services. But it has a great opportunity to create a new way for workers to collaborate that extends what competitors are doing.
"They're not trying to reproduce the word processor. They're trying to create a new model that changes the whole concept of sharing documents and collaborating with other people online," he said. "This market is theirs to capture."
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