EVO – The Collaboration Network



The EVO (Enabling Virtual Organizations) System (http://caltech.edu)
is based on a new distributed architecture, leveraging the 10+ years of experience of developing and operating the large distributed VRVS collaboration system now in production. The primary objective of EVO is to provide an improved system and a service to the LHC and other major High Energy Physics programs that fully meets the requirements for usability, quality, scalability, adaptability to a wide range of working environments, reliability and cost. The EVO infrastructure automatically adapts to the prevailing network configuration and status, so as to ensure that the collaboration service runs without disruption. Because EVO is able to perform end-to-end monitoring, including the end-user’s computer as well as the network infrastructure, we are able to inform the user of any potential or arising problems (e.g. excessive CPU load or packet loss) and, where possible, to fix the problems automatically and transparently on behalf of the user (e.g. by switching to another server node in the network, by reducing the number of video streams received, by adjusting audio volume, etc.). The integration of the MonALISA agent-based system (http://monalisa.caltech.edu) into the new EVO architecture was an important step in the evolution of the collaboraton service towards a globally distributed dynamic system that is largely autonomous.
The EVO Client (called Koala) is based on Java and runs on the 3 main Operating Systems used by the scientific community: Windows, Linux and MacOS.ViEVO3DSome of EVO’s features and functions are summarized below:

  • Instant messaging functions and presence information (i.e. available, busy, … )
  • Private or group chat during a meeting
  • Meetings-by-invitation, ad-hoc meetings, booked meetings, and permanent meetings
  • Playback and recording functions (of the entire session[video, audio, whiteboard, Instant Message, Chat,..]


  • Shared files, high resolution sharing of any screen area, and whiteboard functions
  • Support for several standard videoconferencing protocols: H.323(Polycom, Tandberg, …), Session Initiation Protocol (RTP) used by most of the collaborative applications.
  • Automatic TimeZone adjustment and Multi-Language support (English, French, Slovak, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish, and Chinese)
  • Firewall-friendly and support for Network Address Translation (NAT)
  • End-to-End encryption of all the media (video/audio/chat/IM/ …)
  • A new video application based on OpenGL where all the live video windows and other objects are embedded in, and may move in a three dimensional space. (This application, which uses the graphics processor unit (GPU) to offload the main CPU and leave it free for other work, is currently available on Windows only, support for other operating systems will follow soon.)
  • A integrated telephone gateway allows users to join an EVO meeting through the normal phone system

Complete documentation is available. Please read it for a full description of EVO.

Feedback from the user community is very important to us. It allows us to make the system more robust and reliable, and enhance its functionality. Don’t hesitate to send email to us if you are facing any issues. We’ll be glad to help troubleshoot the problem as quickly as possible, and update our documentation or EVO itself where needed, based on this experience.





What are Virtual Teams?

Virtual teams have an old origin even though with the spread of technology it seems that this type of modern workforce is a new concept.

Ever since the creation of the Roman Empire and the coming together of current day military personnel who operate outside of their encampment, virtual teams have always existed.

In brief, geographic dispersal has been the key reason virtual teams are created.

Seven Virtual Teams

Here are the 7 Virtual Teams and a brief synopsis of how they work:

  1. Service Teams – Technical support and service is provided around the clock
  2. Project and Development teams – Decisions for all projects are made by all members
  3. Network Teams – Where a common goal is the purpose for collaboration
  4. A Parallel Team- Where it’s important to find improvements in systems and processes
  5. Work and Production Teams – Performance is ongoing and there is team membership
  6. Functional Oriented Teams – Work with management on a routine basis
  7. Action Teams – Handle emergency response situations

A virtual team refers to a group or collection of individuals who work together from divergent geographic locations. These teams specifically depend on communication technology such as video or voice conferencing, emails and fax, in order to accomplish one or more organizational tasks collectively and without having to be in the same location. The work is predominantly achieved electronically using virtual communication technologies; some team members may never get to meet each other face-to-face.

Team Building

Fiber-optic technology has facilitated the task of creating these virtual teams to communicate off-site in a very effective manner.

The scope of virtual teams is enabling many companies to find and hire the best talent without worrying about geographic location.

There is almost no need for a hierarchy within the business of virtual teams. Teamwork is the modus operandi and everyone is a team player or team leader in their own virtual way.

Many virtual team members have skills that they can share with others and all are accountable for their performance, even if they are geographically dispersed. Some employees work out of the office and others out of their home, but all know their responsibilities and carry their duties in a determined way to make the end result meaningful and well-presented to the client within a deadline.

What are some of the Challenges?

Virtual teams may deal with global time differences for one. Culture and local business customs may dampen the practice between teams. Some may disengage or lose trust; others may lack clarity and lose the cooperation factor. Priorities and goals may remain unclear and brainstorming may not work well in such cases.

Successful Virtual Teams

In order for a virtual connection to take place successfully, here are few things to take into consideration when creating virtual team membership:

  • Team members must become more efficient in team synergy.
  • Members must adapt to, and adopt state-of-the-art technologies available.
  • Resilience to change and being adaptive must be learned.
  • Flexibility is needed regarding responses to organizations and market requirements.
  • Fluidity in team membership and participation in skill assimilation is a must.
  • New members should become seasoned within a determined timeline.

In resume, virtual teams have access to each other and are provided with all types of information on a full-time basis, if necessary, across time and space, via communication technology. Common skills and complementary purposes make virtual teams interdependent in order to achieve perfect performance. Goals are shared and the work approach is such that all are mutually accountable for the success of the team, project, and company that has been established in a virtual team environment.

« Previous Page