After about a month of preparation I'm thrilled to announce a new open source project to build support for contextual collaboration. The project is called rVooz (a contraction on rendezvous) can be found at www.rvooz.org.
From the rVooz web site:
rVooz is a software suite designed to make contextual connections, or "contextions," between people who may or may not have a priori knowledge of each other. It is designed to bring people together even if they don't have each other in their buddy lists or know each other's phone numbers.
The rVooz suite consists of software clients that post context, a Salient Server which finds context matches, and Voozers that coordinate the connections by distributing presence or starting sessions...
To understand what this means, imagine looking at a web page and seeing all of the other people looking at that web page added to your IM client buddy list in real time (and removed when you leave). Or, in a military context, imagine that you are reviewing an airspace, a target, an area of interest, or some other context and all of the other operators working the same context (in whatever system they are using) are dynamically added to your buddy list. This is just the beginning, in addition to "contextual dynamic presence", rVooz may also be leveraged to dynamically establish VoIP sessions without any of the parties knowing each other's phone numbers or SIP addresses in advance.
The project is interesting as it may be the first free and open source project funded from day one by the Department of Defense (or it might not be, hard to tell!). It is also interesting because it has been selected to be as appealing to a non-DoD audience as it is to the DoD. If this turns out to be true (I am sure hoping so) it will open up a really interesting chapter of collaboration between two seemingly completely different domains.
The project is brand new but has the beginnings of the "Salient" back-end service in place and has started a "voozer" that works with the OpenFire Jabber/XMPP server. We're hoping that as we continue to build out Salient the community will help us develop voozers for a variety of collaboration environments.
If it sounds interesting stop by www.rvooz.org and check it out.