Advanced Reality Adds Real-Time Collaboration to Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server

Presence-AR Enables Users to Launch Collaborative Edit and Review Sessions from within Leading Document Management System

GARTNER SYMPOSIUM/ITxpo, ORLANDO, FL., Oct. 7, 2002 – Advanced Reality™, Inc., the company that makes applications collaborative, today announced from Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2002 a new release of the Presence-AR™ Adapter for Excel that enhances Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) SharePoint Portal Server with real-time collaboration capabilities. The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel 1.3, Advanced Reality’s first adapter for SharePoint Portal Server, enables authorized users to select a document from the document management system and automatically initiate a secure peer-to-peer collaboration session where multiple users can simultaneously edit the file from within a standard copy of Microsoft Excel. Advanced Reality is also developing SharePoint Portal Server-enabled adapters for PowerPoint and Word. The company will demonstrate the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel 1.3 with SharePoint Portal Server integration at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2002 Emerging Technology Pavilion Booth 914.

“The ability to launch a collaboration session directly from documents in SharePoint Portal Server combines the benefits of document management with the productivity gains of real-time collaboration,” said Brian Asselin, Director of Information Technology at Harborside Healthcare, a long-term healthcare services provider that operates 49 facilities in Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island. “The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel will enable us to significantly reduce review and approval cycle times for key business processes while leveraging and enforcing the centralized controls that are set up in our SharePoint Portal.”

Integrating Document Management and Collaboration

To compress cycle times for time-sensitive business processes, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel combines real-time collaboration with the powerful document management capabilities of SharePoint Portal Server. From within the familiar default folder view in SharePoint Portal Server, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel adds a “Collaborate” link to each Excel document. By clicking on this link, an authorized user can launch a secure peer-to-peer collaboration session that automatically checks out the document if it’s available. Other participants, with the proper access permissions, can join the session from inside and outside the corporate firewall using their local copy of Excel. During a collaborative session all participants can view and modify the document, and see each other’s changes in real-time.

If the document is already checked out, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel will search for an active collaborative session involving the file and join the user to the session if permissions allow. At the end of each collaboration session, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel automatically checks in the document, including the changes made, to SharePoint Portal Server. The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel preserves and enforces all the document management controls defined in SharePoint Portal Server including version tracking, user roles, and access control permissions.

Interactive and Intuitive Tools

For increased productivity during collaborative sessions, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel adds two interactive capabilities to Microsoft’s spreadsheet application: chat and find/follow user. Chat allows participants to send each other text messages during a collaboration, which are logged in chronological order identifying which spreadsheet was being viewed when the message was sent. The find/follow user function eliminates the “where are you now?” syndrome by displaying to participants joining a session the current spreadsheet being viewed by the initiator of the collaboration. If enabled, this capability also ensures all users in the session have the ability to automatically “follow” any other participant as that participant moves around in the spreadsheet.

Seamless Access Controls

To prevent unauthorized access to documents, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel enforces the access control rules defined in SharePoint Portal Server. This tight integration prevents unauthorized users from starting or joining a collaboration session. In addition, the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel integrates with Windows NT/2000 and Active Directory authentication to provide single sign-on that allows authorized users to join a collaborative session without being prompted for a password.

“To speed up deadline-oriented business processes like financial reporting, enterprises need tools that support real-time interaction and allow multiple participants to jointly review and edit the same document,” said Derek Ruths, Chief Technical Officer, Advanced Reality. “The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel extends the powerful document management capabilities of SharePoint Portal Server with a real-time collaboration environment that takes place within the familiar Excel application and consequently requires no end-user training.”

Pricing and Availability

The Presence-AR Adapter for Excel 1.3 supports SharePoint Portal Server 2001 and Excel 2000 or higher. It is available immediately from Advanced Reality. Pricing for 25 non-transferable licenses, session directory software, and relay server software starts at $5000. Integration services for customizing the Presence-AR Adapter for Excel and enabling collaboration between Excel and other software applications are available from Advanced Reality.

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

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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, or write to