What are the Different Types of Collaboration Tools?

J. Airman

Common types of collaboration tools include electronic conferencing tools and tools to help project participants more easily create and share information related to the project. Electronic conferencing tools can include videoconferencing tools, audio conferencing tools, and tools for text conferencing. These tools can be used for online conferencing through the Internet, or they might be used over a telephone line or local network. Other types of collaboration tools might be simple tools that the average user encounters every day.

Smartphones enable collaboration via text conferencing.
Smartphones enable collaboration via text conferencing.

Collaboration tools can be hardware devices or software programs that help users communicate to accomplish a common purpose. These types of tools can help streamline operations in a project with participants who are located in different physical locations. Collaboration tools are used to create and share information and organize progress within a project. These types of tools can be used to collaborate on a variety of different things, including projects for work or fun.

Collaboration tools can be hardware devices or software programs that help users communicate to accomplish a common purpose.
Collaboration tools can be hardware devices or software programs that help users communicate to accomplish a common purpose.

One commonly used collaboration tool is e-mail. E-mail can be a powerful collaboration tool because it allows people to send text and media files through the Internet. Disadvantages to e-mail as a collaboration tool include file size limits and limited access for users.

Collaboration features, such as the ability to share files or video chat, will determine how users share information.
Collaboration features, such as the ability to share files or video chat, will determine how users share information.

Many e-mail providers place limits on file sizes and the amount of data that a user is allowed to store. In addition, once an e-mail is sent, access is limited to the people who were originally included in the e-mail recipient list. If more users need access to the original emails, the emails often must be manually sent to the new project participants.

Teleconference phones are often used by businesses to conduct meetings.
Teleconference phones are often used by businesses to conduct meetings.

Media artists like musicians often use collaborative software or websites to design music and communicate with other musicians who can give them input on the music or add parts to the music themselves. A musician collaborating with another musician might send him files through e-mail, and the recipient of the files can use audio editing software to make changes to the file and send it back. The recipient can also give the sender of the file advice or evaluations about the media in the file as part of a collaborative effort. When exchanging files through e-mail as a collaborative tool, participants creating the media must also have compatible software that allows them to view and work on the files.

When an organization needs its members to collaborate frequently, it may require a dedicated set of collaboration tools. A customer service department might use collaborative tools to compile form emails created for common customer service issues using a dedicated collaborative system built for hosting customer service response emails. The same department may also have a list of scripts or frequently used information to help workers on similar tasks benefit from information submitted by other workers.

A technology strategist can help develop software which makes collaboration easier.
A technology strategist can help develop software which makes collaboration easier.

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