By: Roger Whitehead, Director, Office Futures
Published: 21st May 2012
Copyright Office Futures © 2012
Here are outline details of three new/newish services that have caught my eye recently.
1. Revisu is a SaaS-based collaboration tool for those who don’t have or wish to invest in a full-function enterprise network system. One of its co-founders describes it as "a dropbox for documents you share with a team". That team is likely to comprise graphic designers or architects as well as their clients.
The system is intended to work with common file types, including Microsoft Office files, PDFs and images. Each document has its own, shareable URL, which you can email instead of sending the file itself. It is designed to work with Google Docs but, unlike that, to let you put comments anywhere in a document.
Sign-up is free and gives you 256 Mb of storage and a link to one other user. You can sign in directly or use a Facebook, Twitter or Google identity. Other plans are “Freelancer”, costing $5 a month and allowing 4 users and 1 Gb of storage, and “Agency”, costing $20 a month and allowing 20 users and 4 Gb.
The above are what it should do. In practice, Revisu never managed to digest the small jpg file or the PDF that I used as tests, nor to upload a small Word file. (I tried via current versions of Firefox and Google Chrome.)
These are fundamental failings, so it looks as though more work is needed. That’s a shame, as I think there’s room in the market for a light and simple sharer.
2. Rizzoma is a continuation of Google Wave by other means. It’s a free, open source rewrite of that now defunct project. Many people (me included) regret Google’s decision to drop Wave; Rizzoma is one of several projects trying to give it new life.
The service is intended not only to allow (quasi) real-time sharing but also to provide a context for email and instant messages. The aim, as in Wave, is to help you identify content that has current relevance to you. It also, says Rizzoma, lets you share and organise messages and documents the way you want. You will soon be able to list them in a mind map (‘spidergram’) as well as a list.
Sign in is via your Google account and you can, if you wish, use any existing Google contacts to start an address book. Google Wave users can import their existing ‘waves’.
Rizzoma looks smart and has promise. Its success depends on whether the people behind it can get the support and airtime they need.
3. Trello is a free SaaS-based project management service, based on the Japanese Kanban ( 'visible signal') system. It uses the idea of project boards, each of which contains lists. The lists contain the Kanban cards. Everything is updated in (quasi) real-time, with relevant personal notifications going to individual users. Users can upload attachments to cards.
Sign in is direct or via a Google account. Access is via an iPhone or a browser. Its maker — Fog Creek Software — suggests using Trello for such activities as software programming, event planning, recruiting and publishing. Trello can also work as a personal to-do list. It lacks some of the more complex functions found in full-blown project management software but that’s the point.
Trello works well and is easy to understand. (If you like technical details, the company blog gives an insight.) It is the most polished of the three services I’ve looked at here. As with any start-up, its maker will need to find a way to make money out of it.
I’ll briefly cover another three services in my next posting.
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