Trampoline bounces into enterprise social computing

UK start-up Trampoline Systems's enterprise social-computing software helps workers find and track others in their organisation with specific knowledge

UK social-networking start-up Trampoline Systems has announced the launch of its enterprise social-computing software, which seeks to help workers find and track others in their organisation with specific knowledge.

The software, Sonar Dashboard, announced on Tuesday, is the third in a trio of Sonar modules to be released by Trampoline. Sonar Dashboard is a web-based client that takes data gathered by Sonar Server and allows an individual to explore other people in their organisation according to "themes" that are associated with them.

A person using Sonar Dashboard has a profile that is automatically generated alongside a list of themes, presented as weighted tags, and their contacts within the organisation. Trampoline chief executive Charles Armstrong said the major difference between Sonar Dashboard and other recent social enterprise software launches, such as BEA's AquaLogic Interaction 6.5 and the Web Parts component of Microsoft's SharePoint Server 2007 software, is the ability to scan a user's data and automatically update the information that is associated with them in the network.

At the back-end of Trampoline's software sits Sonar Server, which looks through emails, documents, blogs, wikis, contact databases and any data that is associated with an employee, to create the themes that form the basis of the system, said Armstrong. The software does not make available the contents of these information sources, only the themes associated with them. Even so, said Armstrong, privacy is still important. "We took a view from very early on simply to give users control over what is shared and what is private, " he said. "You can blacklist individuals, document repositories, and your 'themes' are only added to your profile once you have given specific permission."

The tags allow a person to discover others within the organisation according to themes. Connections between people can be explored. Currently this shows connections according to individuals' contacts databases but Armstrong said, in future, it will show people connected according to the contents of the documents they are working on, using the natural language-processing element of the software.

Armstrong would not disclose pricing details for the software, which is currently in trials in three large organisations. A virtual appliance that will run on VMware Player is available, he said, though this is not available for download because it requires a "small amount of work" from Trampoline's development team to make it work. Trampoline recently generated $6m (£3m) in initial funding.


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