Excellerating Reality

Houston firm makes Microsoft app collaborative

Houston  September 26, 2001  Advanced Reality Inc. announced today that its Presence 2.0 product has been used to make Microsoft's ubiquitous Excel operate in a real-time, fully collaborative environment. In this environment, Excel can also interact with other applications and databases in a peer-to-peer environment across LANs and the Internet, while remaining secure and scalable.

"It took only one week to make a fully functional prototype of collaborative Microsoft Excel with Presence 2.0  using only one developer's time and making no changes to the existing code," said Jeff Hoye, CTO of Advanced Reality. "Engineering a collaborative version of Microsoft Excel in such a short time span demonstrates the ease with which we can take existing applications and make them collaborative." The newly released version was productized in seven additional weeks.

"This is not a screen-sharing or file-sharing solution," noted Derek Ruths, chief scientist and architect of the Presence system. "It is a revolutionary change in the way collaboration is done that is data-centric. We make the actual data collaborative in a distributed, peer-to-peer environment. &However, the most important benefit of Presence 2.0 is how it integrates with existing applications  rapidly making them real-time collaborative across a peer-to-peer network without a server backbone."

Originally developed at Rice University, the technology behind Presence 2.0's collaborative Microsoft Excel solution is delivered using a zero-maintenance applet. In the Presence environment, Microsoft Excel can be used to collaborate on documents with any number of participants in real-time, and with security features. Business rules and a history model can be enabled in the Presence environment, and a participant may enter or leave the collaboration at any time without affecting the remaining participants.