Claire O'Neill and Melina Taylor
Online collaboration has countless numbers of advantages that can be experienced by many worldwide. Depending on what people are doing, whether they are simply emailing each other, sending files through the Internet, or just adding their thoughts and opinions to an online forum, they are collaborating online.
Collaboration has been a part of human activity since humans existed. They worked together to hunt for food, build infrastructure, and take care of everyday tasks together. But what is new, and shown to be very beneficial is the ability to collaborate online.
The Internet has created a huge collaboration platform, amongst which millions of users across the globe can contribute to. Businesses, students, or any group that need to collaborate can do so much more easily with this platform. Online tools have been created to accommodate collaboration even more, and thus have encouraged many diverse groups to engage collaboratively with others online. Examples of these tools include Instant Messaging (IM), web-based mind-mapping tools (such as www.mindmeister.com and www.robohead.net), and web-based central workspaces. They enable users to create projects, swap files, and change and/or edit anothers work. These tools have changed and are continuing to change how we work and are constantly giving rise to new opportunities for almost anyone, anywhere in the world.
Businesses can meet with clients and colleagues without the aspect of any geographical borders causing a problem. Most corporate businesses are grasping the ability to have video conferencing using the Internet connection. People can meet with their team to discuss their plans or projects with one another and share documents in this live environment. The main benefits of web conferencing include reduction in costs, more hours beneficial to work, and more team engagement and interactivity.
As the Web eliminates the problem of geographical placement among collaborators, businesses can now save on travel expenses as the need to send employees to meet clients and colleagues abroad is no longer as necessary. Adding to this, employees with the availability of the Internet at home can now be afforded more time to work on projects. Web conferencing gives them the travelling hours back, and with more hours in the day to collaborate, the employee has the means to do a more productive day’s work. Web conferencing along with the likes of Google Docs enables all employees to be kept up to date on projects, as they are all able to work on the same ‘virtual’ page.
Acting together in an online setting can add to the quality of a project or product. It offers quick questions and answers to each other about the project, and can offer user feedback too, which is priceless to consumer markets. For example, if a business was releasing a new product to the market, they can ask for consumers to gather on a web page and give feedback of their thoughts and opinions on the new product or service. This method of consumer research can become really valuable.
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