Hachem, Nabil I.
With current and expected technological advances in computing, it is becoming possible for people to interact, communicate and collaborate without the restrictions and boundaries set forth by geographical locations. One can think of the office environment as one that has no geographical boundaries. We report on our experiences designing and implementing a Virtual Office, a software system whose objectives include enabling the interaction of people in a virtual office environment. The system was implemented as a distributed application, using JAVA, CORBA and an Oracle8 database back-end. Core and basic functionality was implemented. This establishes a strong foundation for a complete implementation of a Virtual Office, along with offering modules to allow for use of the office as well. This functionality includes file transfer, chatting, instant messaging, scheduler/calendar, email, bulletin board, address book, clock, and a calculator. The design's objective was to provide a scalable solution and a distributed framework for the application, which was achieved by the use of a CORBA environment. Extensibility was provided by developing modules within a component-based framework, which allows new components to be added to the existing environment, with minimal effort. Future extensions to the system include audio/video conferencing, a workflow management engine, and document management and tracking capabilities.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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