Advanced Collaboration Techniques for More Effective Management: Collaborative Technologies That Are Already Creating Efficiencies and Generating Better Decisions Can Also Be Used for Remote Training, Operations Management, and Research and Development

By Nuyens, Greg | The Public Manager, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Advanced Collaboration Techniques for More Effective Management: Collaborative Technologies That Are Already Creating Efficiencies and Generating Better Decisions Can Also Be Used for Remote Training, Operations Management, and Research and Development


Nuyens, Greg, The Public Manager


Advanced 3D collaboration technologies are being used by government agencies to enhance training, operations center management, and research and development. These new solutions deliver greater value with fewer resources and help public managers shorten cycle times, reduce costs, make better decisions, and act more rapidly than they can when using traditional communication and collaboration methods.

This article provides an overview of 3D virtual workspace technologies and how they enhance and improve intelligence and decision making for work groups and teams. It also describes methods for efficiently leveraging remote subject matter experts, as well as how these solutions enable teams to more thoroughly analyze information and data in real time to improve training, troubleshooting, design processes, and ongoing operations.

In addition, there's a discussion of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center's new virtual Combat Systems Center and how it is evaluating virtual world technology for training, rapid prototyping, collaborative design activities, and war gaming. The article concludes with guidelines and key issues to consider when selecting and deploying these technologies.

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3D Virtual Workspaces--An Overview

Three-dimensional virtual workspaces gracefully integrate many existing communication and collaboration technologies into visual environments that simulate physical work locations, including conference rooms, offices, project rooms, and operations centers. The technology also can be used to create virtual replicas of more specialized facilities, such as the Navy's submarine combat center, a medical ICU facility, or a lights-out data center.

Virtual collaboration technologies support all three communication styles that people use while working face-to-face: speech, gesture, and sketch. Together, these styles enable teams in virtual workspaces to re-create the natural ways they would work together if they were in the same physical location, and help to establish trust within newly formed teams.

With advanced collaboration tools, existing computer applications, data, and assets can be brought into a virtual environment for team members to interact with in real time. Examples of the types of existing data or as-sets that teams or organizations may want to use include movies, images, publications, manuals, 3D models of facilities, equipment, and enterprise productivity applications.

Virtual workspaces enable text chat, voice conferencing, and the ability to collaboratively review and edit a single document, multiple documents, video, images, and 3D models. These capabilities are integrated and synchronized to ensure that everyone in the group is dealing with the same information, which enables distributed teams to make decisions with higher confidence and avoid a misunderstanding of any assumptions or information by constituents.

More important, 3D technologies also indicate sense of presence (who is in the room at the present time, who has been there since the last meeting, and what information is new). In addition, teams can record meetings so that people unable to attend due to conflicts or significant time zone differences can replay them on their own time. Finally, they guarantee the privacy and security of all information, ensuring compliance with information assurance regulations.

Ultimately, advanced collaboration technologies can enable teams to make faster decisions and take action more rapidly than they could with traditional methods. They can increase the speed and efficiency of working, and give users the confidence that they brought all the right information and people (including subject matter experts) together at the right time. The outcome of their deployment is superior results at lower costs than is possible when using traditional methods.

Using Virtual Collaboration Technologies

The public sector is using virtual collaboration tools to reduce cycle times, decrease costs, make better decisions, and act rapidly. …

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Advanced Collaboration Techniques for More Effective Management: Collaborative Technologies That Are Already Creating Efficiencies and Generating Better Decisions Can Also Be Used for Remote Training, Operations Management, and Research and Development
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