AKO to add blogging, wikis and Facebook-like features as it approaches its billionth user served

In a session on the "State of the Union" of Army Knowledge Online and Defense Knowledge Online, AKO/DKO project manager Col. Earl Nobel said that additional Web 2.0 capabilities, including blogging, wikis and a social networking function similar to Facebook, will be added.

Why can't we be more like Facebook? Okay, so we will!" said Nobel as he went through the new features, which include an improved Web 2.0 interface for Web mail, a blog "channel" for AKO, and a variety of contact and social networking features.

AKO, which currently has 2.4 million users on NIPRNET [Non-secure IP Router Network] and 95,000 users in its secure SIPRNET [Secret IP Router Network] incarnation, is projected to have its billionth unique user by October 2008, including visitors to the public Army homepage and other sites supported by AKO. The current contract for AKO is set to expire in 2010, and the AKO/DKO project team is expected to issue a draft request for proposals for the next contract by the end of October.

The wiki capability, which will allow users to set up secure collaboration areas on NIPRNET and SIPRNET within AKO, is based on the Clearspace collaboration platform from Jive Software.

"The thing that makes AKO unique is that we have a mandate to help people protect their information and create enclaves," Nobel said. "You can choose to share among everyone, or just a small group." He added that his own team has been using a secure wiki to collaborate on contracting issues. "We can have a wiki that's [got] procurement-sensitive [information], and have great collaboration without the outside world being able to see it."

The wiki capability is in a limited beta test now, as is the new Web-mail client. The blogging channel of AKO will be available in limited release next month.

About the Author

Sean Gallagher is senior contributing editor for Defense Systems.

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