PBworks Gets a Better Interface for Improved Collaboration

Hosted business collaboration suite PBworks has received a major update, aimed at improving the scalability and security of the app while also delivering a more intuitive interface. The new version takes advantage of newer web technologies like HTML5 to deliver a faster, more streamlined collaborative experience.

PBworks Releases Customer Relationship Edition

PBworks today released a Customer Relationship Edition of its enterprise collaboration software. Unlike most existing CRM apps, which are primarily reporting and management tools, PBworks’ new app is is designed to be used at all stages the sales cycle for external collaboration with prospects and customers.

10 Unsung Collaboration Tools — Many of Them Free

Collaboration is in full swing on the web, for both social and work-oriented purposes. Most of us can rattle off the well-known applications that are available, but there are many targeted, useful collaboration apps that are more offbeat. Here are 10, many of them free.

PBworks Adds Template Store

PBworks, the enterprise collaboration and productivity tool formerly known as PBwiki (see our previous coverage here), today announced the launch of its Template Store, which will allow users to distribute templates to other users. Templates customize the initial PBworks experience with a structure, rather than starting with a blank workspace, and can include:

PBworks to Add Real-time Collaboration Tools

At the Enterprise 2.0 conference today in San Francisco, PBworks (formerly PBwiki, see our previous coverage here) announced that it is adding built-in, real-time collaboration tools to its wiki software. The new suite of tools will include in-app IM, Live Notifications of changes to an organization’s workspaces, Live Editing of documents, and Voice Collaboration.

The planned changes should make collaboration using PBworks much easier and faster, with less need to rely on external services. For example, imagine that you’re working on a document and you’d like some input from your team. You could use the built-in IM tool to see who’s online, direct them to the page, start a Live Editing session (which lets them see any changes you make to the document in real time), and even set up an ad hoc conference call using the Voice Collaboration component.

IM Collaboration, Live Notifications, and Live Editing will be available for free to customers with Project Edition and Legal Edition plans beginning Nov. 17, while the Voice Collaboration component should be available in early 2010 (pricing hasn’t been set yet).

Would you use built-in voice chat/conference calling if it was added to your favorite collaboration suite, or would you continue to use an external conference calling app, like WebEx?

PBworks Introduces Project Edition

pbworksLogoPBworks (formerly PBwiki) today introduced PBworks Project Edition, a modified version of the collaborative wiki software that incorporates some project management features.

Simple project management functionality, like workflow management, task assignment and milestones, is built right into the tool, so there’s no need to use a separate app like Basecamp to handle simple project management. This makes PBworks an attractive option for teams looking for a tool for collaborative project tasks, like document authoring, requirements gathering or design review. Task management is kept together with the actual task itself, which makes a lot of sense.

This idea of providing task and project management functionality in apps that are used for the tasks seems to be gaining popularity; we recently saw Box.net add task management features to its file-sharing service, for example. Including task management functionality within an app should help many teams handle project management tasks themselves, reducing the need to have a designated project manager on simpler project. (PBworks calls this “organic project management.”)

PBworks Project Edition costs $20 per user per month, with “guest” licenses (for clients and contractors on a particular project) available for free.

Have you tried PBworks Project Edition? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Carriers Looking to Block Free Wireless Broadband?

Update: TR Daily reports that the vote will be delayed because of “misunderstanding” which loosely translates into lobbyists did their job and got FCC to back up. FCC has taken the vote off the website. I will report more tomorrow as I get the details. (Original story below the fold.)

Original Story: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s political ambitions might spur him into delivering “free wireless broadband,” if some Beltway insiders are to be believed. His plan, however, is not sitting well with carriers, satellite operators and even some public interest groups.

What Martin wants to do is basically have another auction of advanced wireless services (AWS-3) in the 2155-2175 MHz-band and reserve a portion of the wireless network that uses these frequencies for free wireless broadband. The plan was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The FCC is likely to vote on Martin’s idea of delivering 768 kbps wireless broadband access for free next week. I’ve been told the date is June 12th.

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