US20110010424A1 - Unified addressing, sending, and receiving collaboration service - Google Patents

Unified addressing, sending, and receiving collaboration service Download PDF

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US20110010424A1
US20110010424A1 US12/690,038 US69003810A US2011010424A1 US 20110010424 A1 US20110010424 A1 US 20110010424A1 US 69003810 A US69003810 A US 69003810A US 2011010424 A1 US2011010424 A1 US 2011010424A1
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communication modality
collaboration
computer
sending
unified
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Andrew Fox
David Marshall LaPalomento
Ian Edward Roughley
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Micro Focus Software Inc
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Micro Focus Software Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/10Office automation, e.g. computer aided management of electronic mail or groupware; Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings or time accounting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F16/00Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor
    • G06F16/40Information retrieval; Database structures therefor; File system structures therefor of multimedia data, e.g. slideshows comprising image and additional audio data
    • G06F16/48Retrieval characterised by using metadata, e.g. metadata not derived from the content or metadata generated manually
    • G06F16/489Retrieval characterised by using metadata, e.g. metadata not derived from the content or metadata generated manually using time information

Abstract

Collaboration information can be sent by a collaboration team member in accordance with a sending communication modality. Another team member's unified messaging inbox/outbox can receive the collaboration information and provide the collaboration information to the other team member in accordance with a receiving communication modality. A unified messaging configuration specification can be used to specify the receiving communication modality.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/224,778, titled “COLLABORATION TOOLS” and filed on Jul. 10, 2009, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/236,005, titled “PRESENCE-ENABLED INBOX” and filed on Aug. 21, 2009, both of which are hereby fully incorporated by reference herein.
  • This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, titled “COLLABORATION SWARMING” and filed on October , 2009, U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ titled “INTELLIGENT CO-BROWSING AND CO-EDITING” and filed on October , 2009, U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ titled “AUTO GENERATED AND INFERRED GROUP CHAT PRESENCE” and filed on October , 2009, U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ titled “UNIFIED EDITABLE INBOX” and filed on October , 2009, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ titled “PRESENCE-ENABLED INBOX” and filed on October , 2009, all of which are commonly assigned with this application and are hereby fully incorporated by reference herein.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The disclosed technology pertains to multi-user collaboration environments, and more particularly to facilitating the transmission of content between collaboration users.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Current collaboration systems require that teams of various sizes and in varying degrees of formation or cohesiveness work together to generate, process, review, revise, and coordinate information from a number of different sources. Collaboration teams must choose a single communication modality, such as e-mail groups or shared addresses, blogs with comments, text messaging, voicemail, micro blogs, shared folders in a shared file system, or shared logins, for example. While this may be sufficient for a given small team that requires each team member use a certain tool, such an arrangement does not work well when used in situations where there are multiple teams that overlap and may be using different tools or communication modalities.
  • Among the various deficiencies with current systems is the problem that, because each team in a given collaboration must decide on a single common communication modality, each member of the team must have access to that same technology with software or hardware that supports the selected communication modality. For example, if a user Alex wants to collaborate with a team that has selected Twitter as the common communication modality, Alex must first obtain a personal Twitter account. Consider another example where a user Rachel wants to collaborate with a team that has selected HTML-based e-mail as the common communication modality. In order to participate in the collaboration, Rachel must first secure a client that is capable of both sending and receiving HTML-based e-mails. If Alex does not wish to obtain a Twitter account and Rachel does not wish to install an HTML-based e-mail client, then both users will be effectively shut out of their respective collaboration teams.
  • Thus, there remains a need for improved tools and mechanisms for team-based collaborations.
  • SUMMARY
  • Embodiments of the disclosed technology include a unified address or common addressing arrangement that allows for the sharing, posting, and notification of collaboration content independent of any particular communication mechanism being selected as a common communication modality for the collaboration team. Collaboration team members are thus no longer interrupted and burdened with needing to know, let alone specify, which communication mechanism should be applied every time he or she wishes to communicate with other collaboration team members.
  • Embodiments of the disclosed technology may allow for the mapping of a unified “send” action on the unified address to be mapped to a specific communication modality such as sending an e-mail message, posting a blog entry, or sending an SMS message, for example. Thus, each collaboration team member may use a unified address technique for posting, sending, publishing, sharing, commenting, responding, editing, or performing some other type of information interaction event in connection with another team member regardless of whatever communication modality is actually being used.
  • By allowing for a custom mapping from a common unified address to specific communication modalities for each member of a collaboration team, embodiments of the disclosed technology essentially move collaborations from a “First Personalized Mechanism then Share” paradigm to a “First Share then Personalized Mechanism” paradigm. Unlike current systems, implementations of the disclosed technology do not require that each member of a given collaboration team have the same technology installed or available as all of the other members of the team.
  • The foregoing and other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates an example of a collaboration system using current collaboration tools.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram that illustrates an example of a unified addressing collaboration system in accordance with embodiments of the disclosed technology.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram that illustrates an example of a unified addressing configuration specification in accordance with embodiments of the disclosed technology.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a system in which embodiments of the disclosed technology may be implemented.
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart that illustrates an example of a machine-controlled method of sending a contribution to a collaboration team in accordance with embodiments of the disclosed technology.
  • FIG. 6 is a flowchart that illustrates an example of a machine-controlled method of receiving a contribution from a collaboration team member in accordance with embodiments of the disclosed technology.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Embodiments of the disclosed technology may include a common or unified addressing mechanism that may be used in connection with any of a number of different communication modalities. For example, a common addressing and sending/receiving mechanism may be mapped to one of several communication modalities that may be used by a particular collaboration team member. A team member that desires to share certain information with other team members is thus not burdened with needing to know, let alone select, the particular information sharing mechanism selected by the team or by each individual recipient; rather, each member of the team may select his or her own communication preference without needing to inform the sender of the selected modality.
  • A unified address and sending/receiving mechanism in accordance with the disclosed technology may be accessed from technology-specific communication tools such as e-mail messages, twitter posts, or blog entries. The unified address and sending/receiving mechanism may be incorporated directly into applications or accessed indirectly through special addresses or tags such as embedded comments or embedded fields. For example, a team member may tweet, i.e., enter a twitter post that may have a special hash tag to enable the backend server to recognize and send the tweet through a unified communications server to other team members that may be using other communication modalities. Alternatively, the team member may send an e-mail message with special comments in the subject line or post blog entries with embedded tags.
  • Particular addresses may be preconfigured to have associated therewith certain carbon copies. A backend communications server may recognize the carbon copies and then translate between the sending communication modality and other receiving modalities that are unique to other members of the team. For example, if another team member specifies text messaging as his or her preferred communication modality, the system may send collaboration contributions to that user via text messages, regardless of whatever communication modality was used to send the information by the posting user.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates an example of a collaboration system 100 using current collaboration tools. In the example, a collaboration team consists of four team members—Amy 102, Bill 104, Charlie 106, and David 108—that communicate with each other using four different types of communication modalities: Internet 110, e.g., blog postings, e-mail 112, file sharing 114, and voice/text messaging 116. While user Amy 102 has made all four communication modalities 110-116 available to herself, the other users have only selected, e.g., installed and/or activated, one or two different modalities for communication in the collaboration.
  • If user Amy 102 wishes to communicate with user Charlie 106, for example, Amy 102 must have available, installed, and ready to use clients for the same technology that Charlie 106 has selected as his preferred communication modality, i.e., file sharing 114. Similarly, if Amy 102 wishes to communicate with user David 108, Amy 102 must have accessible to her the same communication modality, i.e., voice/text 116, that David 108 has selected.
  • While Amy may have all of the communication modalities 110-116 available to her and may thus communicate with each of the other team members 104-108, not all of the other team members 104-108 have all of the communication modalities 110-116 installed and available to them. Thus, communication between all of the team members 102-108 is simply not achievable using the illustrated system 100.
  • For example, while user Bill 104 has selected two different communication modalities, i.e., Internet 110 and e-mail 112, neither Charlie 106 nor David 108 has selected either of the Internet 110 and e-mail 112 modalities. Charlie 106 and David 108 may not be configured to connect to the Internet 110, may not have appropriate accounts created, or may not even have access to a computer, for example. Thus, there is currently no communication available between Bill 104 and either Charlie 106 or David 108 using the illustrated system 100. That is, neither Charlie 106 nor David 108 will receive any contribution that Bill 104 sends to the collaboration team.
  • In contrast, FIG. 2 is a block diagram that illustrates an example of a unified addressing collaboration system 200. In the example, each of the users Amy 102, Bill 104, Charlie 106, and David 108 have a unified addressing inbox/outbox 202-208, respectively. Each unified addressing inbox/outbox 202-208 is configured to select a particular communication modality for the corresponding user based on a preference indicated by the corresponding user, for example. Each unified addressing inbox/outbox 202-208 is also configured to provide an identification of the selected communication modality to the other unified addressing inbox/outboxes 202-208 to facilitate the passing of information between the users 102-108.
  • Consider a first example in which Charlie 106 drafts a technical specification for a particular aspect of a new software application. Charlie 106 then sends the technical specification to the rest of his team using his unified addressing inbox/outbox 206. Here, Charlie's unified addressing inbox/outbox 206 is essentially acting as a universal outbox. For example, Charlie's unified addressing inbox/outbox 206 may communicate with David's unified addressing inbox/outbox 208, for example, to determine David's preferred communication modality, i.e., voice/text 116. Charlie's unified addressing inbox/outbox 206 may thus send the technical specification as a text message to David's unified addressing inbox/outbox 208.
  • Charlie's unified addressing inbox/outbox 206 may also communicate with Amy's and Bill's unified addressing inbox/outboxes 202 and 204, respectively, to determine Amy's and Bill's preferred communication modalities and send the technical specification to both Amy 102 and Bill 104 in accordance with the communication modality for each corresponding user.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram that illustrates an example of a unified addressing configuration specification 300 that includes a listing of communication modality preferences for a particular user. In other words, the user can essentially establish particular carbon copies for certain collaboration contributions and specify the circumstances under which they are to occur. For example, each collaboration team member can configure his or her account so that, whenever another team member posts a pertinent contribution, the system will be able to determine how to distribute the contribution to the other collaboration team members. That is, the user can essentially configure rules that specify how he or she wants his or her content shared to other group members as the content is posted.
  • In the example, the user has expressed a preference for sending and receiving information in connection with two different collaboration groups: “Tech 1” and “Tech 2.” Regarding the first collaboration, i.e., “Tech 1,” the user has expressed a preference for all of his or her contributions to be sent via a particular e-mail messaging service using a specified email address. The user has also expressed a preference for receivable content to be delivered via a text messaging service to the phone number provided in the unified addressing configuration specification 300.
  • Regarding the second collaboration, i.e., “Tech 2,” the user has expressed a preference for sending information via postings to a specified blog. The user has not, however, indicated in the unified addressing configuration specification 300 a particular communication modality for receiving content in connection with the “Tech 2” collaboration. Embodiments using the illustrated unified addressing configuration specification 300 may assign a default communication modality for receiving content pertaining to the “Tech 2” collaboration, for example.
  • One having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that implementations involving a unified addressing configuration specification 300 are not merely passing information along; rather, such systems are essentially creating a construct for each collaboration team member's involvement with his or her particular collaboration groups.
  • A user may use his or her personal unified addressing configuration specification 300 to also provide information that may be pertinent to the selected communication modalities. For example, a user may provide his or her current phone number and/or e-mail address. Additionally, the user may wish to use different phone numbers and/or different e-mail addresses for different collaborations. Thus, if a user were to be assigned a new phone number, he or she would only need to update his or her unified addressing configuration specification 300—there would be no need to proactively alert the other team members to the updated information because the other users' unified addressing inbox/outboxes would automatically retrieve the information as part of the information transmission process.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a system 400 in which embodiments of the disclosed technology may be implemented. The system 400 includes a network 402, such as the Internet or a company's intranet, that may facilitate interaction between multiple devices such as desktop computers 404 and 406 and laptop computers 406. Other devices such as a personal digital assistant (PDA) 410 and mobile devices 412 and 414, e.g., cellular or smart phones, may also be used as part of the system 400. A remote database 416 may be used to store information pertaining to users' unified addressing inbox/outboxes such as each user's unified addressing configuration specification 300. Alternatively, such information may be stored locally on a particular user's device.
  • In the example, Amy 102 is using the first desktop computer 404, where her personal unified addressing inbox/outbox 202 resides. Bill 104 is using the second desktop computer 406, on which his personal unified addressing inbox/outbox 204 resides. Consider an example in which Bill 104 decides to comment on a particular blog posting that Amy 102 has authored on the Internet 110. Once Bill 104 has sent his comment via his unified addressing inbox/outbox 204, Amy's unified addressing inbox/outbox 202 retrieves the comment in accordance with the particular communication modality that she has specified in her unified addressing configuration specification 300, e.g., via e-mail 112.
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart that illustrates an example of a machine-controlled method 500 of sending a contribution to a collaboration team. In the example, a user contributes to a collaboration by posting content to be sent to the rest of his or her team using his or her unified addressing inbox/outbox, as shown at 502. The user may decide to send content such as a certain technical specification that he or she has recently updated, for example.
  • The user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may then determine a particular communication modality for the team member, as shown at 504. For example, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may consult a unified addressing configuration specification 300 that is either stored locally on the user's device or resides at a remote location. Once the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox has determined what type of communication modality to use for the team member, the unified addressing inbox/outbox may then send the content out to a central portion of the collaboration system using the user's particular communication modality, as shown at 506.
  • At this point, the unified addressing collaboration system may facilitate the transmission of the posted content, i.e., the technical specification, to another team member in accordance with his or her preferred communication modality, as shown at 508. If the other team member has expressed e-mail, for example, and the system is able to obtain an e-mail address for the other team member, the unified addressing collaboration system may then send the technical specification to the other team member's e-mail address.
  • The system may repeat this process for each team member. For example, after sending the content to the other team member at 508, the system may determine whether there are any other members of the collaboration team, as shown at 510. If so, the process returns to 508. Otherwise, the system halts the transmission process for the particular contribution, as shown at 512. Because the system may thus deliver copies of a single contribution to multiple users that may each use different communication modalities, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may be referred to in certain embodiments as a universal outbox.
  • FIG. 6 is a flowchart that illustrates an example of a machine-controlled method 600 of receiving a contribution from a collaboration team member. At 602, a collaboration team member sends a contribution to the team by posting a new comment to a blog entry, for example.
  • A user's unified addressing inbox/outbox becomes aware of the posting user's contribution, as shown at 604. For example, the posting team member's unified addressing inbox/outbox or the collaboration system itself may send a notification message to the other team members' unified addressing inbox/outboxes in connection with or in addition to the posted comment. Alternatively, each user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may monitor identified information sources within the collaboration system continuously or at certain scheduled times or intervals.
  • As soon as the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox becomes aware of the newly posted contribution, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may retrieve the contribution from the posted location, as shown at 606. In certain embodiments, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may proactively retrieve the contribution. Alternatively, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may passively receive the contribution directly from the sender's universal outbox or from a component within the collaboration system.
  • The user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may also determine the user's preferred communication modality for the corresponding collaboration team, as shown at 608. For example, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may consult a unified addressing configuration specification for the user. Alternatively, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may use a default communication modality.
  • Once the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox has retrieved the new contribution at 606 and identified the user's preferred communication modality at 608, the user's unified addressing inbox/outbox may now send the information to the user in accordance with the user's preferred communication modality, as shown at 610. For example, if the user has indicated a preference for text messaging in connection with the pertinent collaboration team, his or her unified addressing inbox/outbox may send the new information to him or her as a text message. The user's unified addressing inbox/outbox thus sends the information to him or her regardless of whatever communication modality the posting user used to post the new information at 602.
  • User Scenarios Involving Implementations of the Disclosed Technology
  • Described below are several different user scenarios that serve to illustrate a variety of implementations in accordance with the disclosed technology. One having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that these examples are provided for purposes of demonstrating various different configurations of the disclosed technology and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention.
  • Consider a first example in which Jim, a member of a small technical documentation team consisting of five people, creates a first draft of a user's guide. Jim would like to share his progress with and solicit feedback and comments from the other team members using a current collaboration system. Accordingly, Jim edits the document using a particular word processor and then saves the file to his local hard drive. Jim then uses a particular e-mail program to send an e-mail messages to all of his team members with the document as an attachment.
  • In the e-mail message, Jim may ask his team members to review the document and reply with comments and suggested improvements. Unless all of the other team members have both a compatible e-mail system and word processor, however, they may not receive the document and, even if they do, they may not be able to contribute to the collaboration effort by marking up the document with their feedback, for example.
  • In contrast, consider an alternate version of the first example in which Jim writes his document using an implementation of the disclosed technology. For example, rather than using a stand-alone word processor and e-mail client, Jim uses a rich editor, e.g., a smart editor that has been integrated with unified addressing capability. Once Jim has finished revising the document, he may select “To:” from the application menu bar and enter “myteam.” The system may then send the document out to the rest of the team using a unified addressing mechanism. That is, the system may send the document to each team member included in Jim's “myteam” unified address in accordance with whatever communication modality he or she has specified.
  • In the example, Jim may not know and, more importantly, does not need to know whether each team member has specified e-mail as the preferred receiving modality. In fact, each user may have selected, unbeknownst to Jim, an entirely different communication modality for receiving the information from Jim. The system is able to recognize which modality to use for each user based on the unified addressing mechanism.
  • Consider a second example in which Sue is a researcher in a team of people that is currently working on gene splicing. Sue regularly posts to her blog about her experiments and their results. Sue keeps most of her research in a database but uses a browser-based blog editor to post her blog entries. She constantly monitors her blog to see if other team members write any comments in connection any of her posts.
  • Sue seeks more than mere acknowledgment of her work, though—she is also seeking feedback from and interaction with the other team members in connection with the information that she posts. However, in order for the other team members to collaborate with Sue, e.g., interact with the information posted on her blog, they would each need to not only access Sue's blog but also have access to and actively use a tool that would enable them to post information such as comments to Sue's blog.
  • In contrast, consider an alternate version of the second example in which Sue writes her blog entry using an implementation of the disclosed technology. For example, rather than using a browser-based interface to a blog server, Sue types a document using a rich editor, e.g., a smart editor that has been integrated with unified addressing capability. Sue may then select “To:” from the application menu bar and enter “myteam.” The system may then post the document on the blog server and also send it to the other team members using whatever communication modality each team member has specified.
  • Once a team member decides to comment on the document or post other pertinent information, the system may send the comment(s) and/or additional information to Sue using whatever receiving modality Sue has specified. For example, Sue may desire to have the system send any comments to her document sent straight to her mobile device so that she no longer needs to actively monitor her blog directly for any such comments.
  • Consider a third example in which Sharon is a staff reporter who is working with two new partners on a breaking story. It is crucial that each member of this small collaboration team share his or her notes and newly-gathered information as quickly as possible with the rest of the team. The team members all use mobile devices with text messaging and they e-mail each other regularly. They also have a shared calendar so that they can see who is where and what each person is doing.
  • If one of the team members in the example gets a new phone number, however, each of the other team members must update their address books or else any communications to and/or from that particular team member may get lost. For example, until the other users are apprised of the new phone number, any text messages they send to the old phone number may not get transferred to the new phone number and, even if they do, the extra time needed for forwarding could be detrimental.
  • In contrast, consider an alternate version of the third example in which Sharon contributes to the collaboration using an implementation of the disclosed technology. For example, Sharon may write her status or new information as a microblog entry using a rich editor in a mobile device application, e.g., a smart editor that has been integrated with unified addressing capability. Sharon may select “To:” from the application menu bar and enter “myteam.” The system may then send Sharon's information as a text message to all of her team members without requiring her to maintain a list of her own contacts or groups with constant updates to those lists.
  • In the example, Sharon may not know and does not even need to know whether her information is being sent to the other team members as text messages, let alone what phone numbers the system is using. Also, some team members may have specified that the system is to send Sharon's information to them not as text messages but as entries on a personal chat client, for example. As users post replies to Sharon's messages, the system may send the replies to Sharon as text messages based on Sharon's selection of a preferred communication modality. They system may also enable Sharon to respond to the replies via a text message-type application on her mobile device.
  • General Description of a Suitable Machine in which Embodiments of the Disclosed Technology can be Implemented
  • The following discussion is intended to provide a brief, general description of a suitable machine in which embodiments of the disclosed technology can be implemented. As used herein, the term “machine” is intended to broadly encompass a single machine or a system of communicatively coupled machines or devices operating together. Exemplary machines can include computing devices such as personal computers, workstations, servers, portable computers, handheld devices, tablet devices, and the like.
  • Typically, a machine includes a system bus to which processors, memory (e.g., random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), and other state-preserving medium), storage devices, a video interface, and input/output interface ports can be attached. The machine can also include embedded controllers such as programmable or non-programmable logic devices or arrays, Application Specific Integrated Circuits, embedded computers, smart cards, and the like. The machine can be controlled, at least in part, by input from conventional input devices (e.g., keyboards and mice), as well as by directives received from another machine, interaction with a virtual reality (VR) environment, biometric feedback, or other input signal.
  • The machine can utilize one or more connections to one or more remote machines, such as through a network interface, modem, or other communicative coupling. Machines can be interconnected by way of a physical and/or logical network, such as an intranet, the Internet, local area networks, wide area networks, etc. One having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that network communication can utilize various wired and/or wireless short range or long range carriers and protocols, including radio frequency (RF), satellite, microwave, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 545.11, Bluetooth, optical, infrared, cable, laser, etc.
  • Embodiments of the disclosed technology can be described by reference to or in conjunction with associated data including functions, procedures, data structures, application programs, instructions, etc. that, when accessed by a machine, can result in the machine performing tasks or defining abstract data types or low-level hardware contexts. Associated data can be stored in, for example, volatile and/or non-volatile memory (e.g., RAM and ROM) or in other storage devices and their associated storage media, which can include hard-drives, floppy-disks, optical storage, tapes, flash memory, memory sticks, digital video disks, biological storage, and other tangible, physical storage media.
  • Associated data can be delivered over transmission environments, including the physical and/or logical network, in the form of packets, serial data, parallel data, propagated signals, etc., and can be used in a compressed or encrypted format. Associated data can be used in a distributed environment, and stored locally and/or remotely for machine access.
  • Having described and illustrated the principles of the invention with reference to illustrated embodiments, it will be recognized that the illustrated embodiments may be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles, and may be combined in any desired manner. And although the foregoing discussion has focused on particular embodiments, other configurations are contemplated. In particular, even though expressions such as “according to an embodiment of the invention” or the like are used herein, these phrases are meant to generally reference embodiment possibilities, and are not intended to limit the invention to particular embodiment configurations. As used herein, these terms may reference the same or different embodiments that are combinable into other embodiments.
  • Consequently, in view of the wide variety of permutations to the embodiments described herein, this detailed description and accompanying material is intended to be illustrative only, and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention. What is claimed as the invention, therefore, is all such modifications as may come within the scope and spirit of the following claims and equivalents thereto.

Claims (20)

1. A unified messaging system, comprising:
a first unified messaging inbox/outbox configured to receive collaboration information and provide the collaboration information to a first user in accordance with a first receiving communication modality, wherein the collaboration information was sent by a sending user in accordance with a sending communication modality; and
a first unified messaging configuration specification configured to specify the first receiving communication modality.
2. The unified messaging system of claim 1, wherein the first receiving communication modality is different than the sending communication modality.
3. The unified messaging system of claim 1, wherein the first receiving communication modality is provided by the first user.
4. The unified messaging system of claim 1, further comprising:
a second unified messaging inbox/outbox configured to receive the collaboration information and provide the collaboration information to a second user in accordance with a second receiving communication modality; and
a second unified messaging configuration specification configured to specify the second receiving communication modality.
5. The unified messaging system of claim 4, wherein the first receiving communication modality is different than the second receiving communication modality.
6. The system of claim 4, wherein the first and second receiving communication modalities are both different than the sending communication modality.
7. The system of claim 5, wherein the first and second receiving communication modalities are both different than the sending communication modality.
8. A computer-implemented method, comprising:
receiving a collaboration contribution from a first collaboration team member;
for each of a plurality of other collaboration team members, a unified addressing inbox/outbox determining a receiving communication modality for the corresponding collaboration team member; and
for each of the plurality of other collaboration team members, the unified addressing inbox/outbox sending the collaboration contribution to the corresponding collaboration team member in accordance with the corresponding receiving communication modality.
9. The computer-implemented method of claim 8, further comprising each of the plurality of other collaboration team members specifying the corresponding receiving communication modality.
10. The computer-implemented method of claim 9, wherein the specifying comprises each of the plurality of other collaboration team members recording the corresponding receiving communication modality within a unified addressing configuration specification.
11. The computer-implemented method of claim 8, wherein at least two of the receiving communication modalities are different from each other.
12. The computer-implemented method of claim 8, wherein the collaboration contribution was sent from the first collaboration team member in accordance with a sending communication modality.
13. The computer-implemented method of claim 12, wherein at least one of the receiving communication modalities is different from the sending communication modality.
14. The computer-implemented method of claim 12, wherein at least two of the receiving communication modalities are different from each other and are also different from the sending communication modality.
15. The computer-implemented method of claim 8, wherein the receiving communication modality comprises a default communication modality.
16. One or more tangible, computer-readable media storing computer-executable instructions that, when executed by a processor, perform the computer-implemented method of claim 8.
17. A computer-implemented method, comprising:
a unified addressing inbox/outbox receiving a collaboration contribution from a first collaboration team member;
the unified addressing inbox/outbox determining a sending communication modality; and
the unified addressing inbox/outbox sending the collaboration contribution in accordance with the sending communication modality.
18. The computer-implemented of claim 17, wherein the sending communication modality comprises one of a group consisting of e-mail messaging, text messaging, blog posting, and file sharing.
19. The computer-implemented of claim 17, wherein the sending communication modality comprises a default communication modality.
20. One or more tangible, computer-readable media storing computer-executable instructions that, when executed by a processor, perform the computer-implemented method of claim 17.
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