Editorial Contact:

Marc Gendron

Marc Gendron Public Relations





Advanced Reality Boosts Enterprise Productivity by Embedding Real-Time Collaboration in Microsoft Excel

Presence-AR Adapter Allows End-Users to Conduct Real-Time Collaborative Session and Edit Spreadsheets from Within Familiar Excel Application

HOUSTON, March 25, 2002 – Advanced Reality™, Inc., the company that makes applications collaborative, today announced the availability of the Presence-AR™ Adapter for Microsoft Excel, which enables enterprises to add real-time collaboration capabilities to any copy of Excel running in their network. The Presence-AR Adapter boosts productivity and speeds document review cycles by allowing end-users to launch a secure peer-to-peer collaborative session from within a standard copy of Microsoft Excel and create, view, and modify spreadsheets in real-time with an unlimited number of colleagues.

Unlike traditional collaboration systems that require users to learn a new interface and work in a separate collaborative workspace, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel delivers immediate results by using the existing Excel application while maintaining its familiar look and feel for users. In light of the recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruling that shrinks the deadline for filing quarterly financial reports from 45 to 30 days, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel can be indispensable in helping public companies shorten the review process for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

"In 2002, leading edge enterprises will begin to use new technology that embeds knowledge management and collaboration directly in the applications used most by knowledge workers. Portal vendors beware," said French Caldwell, Vice President, Information and Knowledge Management, with leading analyst firm Gartner.

Same Excel Interface, Made Better with Collaboration

The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel supports Excel’s core functionality during collaborative sessions including the ability to enter data and formulas; edit data and formulas; cut, copy, and paste cells; drag and drop cells; as well as create and insert new workbooks into a collaborative session. In addition, a history of document changes made during a collaborative session is recorded in each cell’s comments field, while a history of document changes made within any collaborative session is recorded in a SQL Server database.

Centralized Installation

For fast and easy deployment in distributed enterprise networks, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel can be centrally deployed by IT staff without any end-user intervention. Once installed, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel adds "Begin Collaboration" and "End Collaboration" buttons to the Microsoft Excel toolbar and enables end-users to create, join, leave, and end a collaborative session. During collaboration, the peer-to-peer based Presence-AR Adapter for Excel allows a session to persist, or fail-over, even when the host signs-off or is inadvertently disconnected. It also provides load balancing and supports client/server configurations so that a collaborative session can be hosted by a server to allow participants to join and leave at their convenience.

"The ability to add real-time collaboration, virtually overnight, to the familiar Microsoft Excel interface represents a significant opportunity for enterprises to enhance end-user efficiency and productivity," said Derek Ruths, Chief Technical Officer, Advanced Reality. "The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel is the first of many packaged solutions from Advanced Reality that will enable enterprises to instantly add real-time collaboration capabilities to commonly used applications and achieve an immediate return on their investment."

Configurable Security

To meet enterprise security requirements, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel encrypts data using SSL as it moves between participants. It can be configured to request multiple authentication technologies, including passwords, digital certificates, and token cards, to confirm users’ identity before they are allowed to join a session. The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel also enables the owner of a workbook, or an administrator, to specify the regions of each worksheet that each participant is allowed to modify.

Extending Excel Collaboration to Other Applications

To meet specific customer requirements, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel can be further customized by Advanced Reality to support additional Excel features. The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel can also be used to integrate Microsoft Excel into collaborative sessions linking several different applications that are interacting with the same data. This is possible because the Adapter is based on the Presence-AR collaboration platform, which uses a "data-centric model" that makes the data itself collaborative, and is not bound to a particular hardware platform, operating system, application, or user interface. By simply developing an adapter for each new application, enterprises can make entire business processes collaborative. For example, a consumer goods company could integrate Microsoft Excel, a packaged knowledge management system, and a custom project tracking application in a collaborative environment to enable product management teams to respond more quickly to changing market conditions.

Pricing and Availability

The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel is available immediately from Advanced Reality. Enterprise site licenses for an unlimited number of users start at $50,000. Integration services for customizing the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel and enabling collaboration between Excel and other applications are available from Advanced Reality.

Company Background

Founded in October 2000, Advanced Reality, Inc. develops software that makes existing and new applications collaborative without the need for complex programming or expensive infrastructure. The company’s flagship product, Presence-AR, enables real-time collaboration across any computing platform, operating system, application, and access device. Advanced Reality customers are enterprises, commercial software vendors, and service providers that want to make existing, and new, applications collaborative. Advanced Reality is privately held and headquartered in Houston, Texas. To contact Advanced Reality call 713.526.4860, visit us on the Web at http://www.advancedreality.com/, or write to info@advancedreality.com.

# # #