The traditional strengths of small and medium-sized entities such as flexibility, quick decision making as well as local co-operation lose their effectiveness in a business environment which is becoming more and more global. Quite often small and medium-sized entities have to co-operate with business partners, clients and suppliers from all over the world. Therefore, in order to keep their strengths small and medium-sized entities have to make more use of information and communications technology and work together in virtual networked teams.
This idea is the starting point for a project called “CoVES – Collaborative Virtual Engineering for SMEs” which was initiated by the Fraunhofer IAO and is supported by the EU. The project’s objective is the development of a flexible collaboration platform tailored to the special needs of SMEs in the fields of research and development (R&D). This platform enables project partners of a company network to access relevant data at any time and from anywhere. Company applications (e.g. CAD, PDM etc.) as well as project management and communication services (VoIP, chat etc.) will then be integrated into this open and extendable collaboration platform. Access to this platform is particularly geared to mobile applications so that it will be possible to use terminals like PDA, smart phones or laptops.
The project consortium consists of twelve companies and research institutions from seven European countries. The project will run until February of 2009. Further information is available on the website of the Fraunhofer IAO.