I have been thinking about how collaboration would fit into the standard ISO/OSI model. What I concluded was that I have to add 2 layers on top of the current model.
These new layers represent the interaction of the application with the users (GUI layer) and the user using the application for interactions (collaboration) with other users.
Layer 9- Interaction Layer - describes how a user using a collaborative application interacts with another online user
Layer 8- GUI Layer - describes the interaction between the user and the application
Layer 7- Application Layer - may add data encryption
Layer 6- Presentation Layer - Defines ASCII, EBCDIC, MDI, MPEG, PICT and GIF
Layer 5- Session Layer - Protocols include: SQL, NFS, RPC, and NetBios
Layer 4- Transport Layer - provides flow control and error recovery (TCP, UDP)
Layer 3- Network Layer - Local addressing and does end-to-end delivery of packets
Layer 2- Data Link Layer - Translates data into frames and adds CRC
Layer 1- Physical Layer - Encodes and transmits data bits
So why am I posting this technical description of how data gets transported and used by a user for collaboration? Because it extends a well accepted technical model to include people and collaboration. These extensions may make engineers howl in fury, and marketing people smile, it's purpose was actually neither, but rather to start to include the user and their behaviors onto this conceptual model and communications stack.
I would love to hear your opinions on my extensions.
David Coleman, Founder and Managing Director of Collaborative Strategies, has been involved with groupware, collaborative technologies, and knowledge management since 1989. He is a frequent public speaker, an industry analyst, and author of books and magazine articles on electronic collaboration and knowledge management. David can be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com. Follow David on Twitter.