Social Business: Qortex Collaboration
With so many team-oriented productivity applications to keep track of, it seems like it's hard to get any work done. But Qortex, issued this week in beta from Tokyo-based company The Plant, tries to gain the competitive advantage by distinguishing between high- and low-priority information.

Qortex is the first product from software development company The Plant, and it emerged from an internal tool developed to increase productivity and communication. Anatole Varin, founder of The Plant, said in a statement that "most teams are buried in a pile of apps they're expected to use to communicate,” while users keep “adding on more apps that are really just standalone features." He added that the collaboration and productivity market "is desperate for an integrated tool that is intelligent enough to keep people from getting drowned in irrelevant information and conversations."

The Problem of Noise

The public beta of Qortex follows a year-long private beta, during which the company said more than 1000 users in Japan and China kicked the tires. The application includes a timeline, private groups, chat, task management and knowledge-based tools, which The Plant said replaced a variety of free and paid apps with a single one. The public beta is available at no cost, and the full version, coming out later this year, will include both a free version and a premium version available as a monthly subscription, with levels containing additional features.

In trying to get above the clutter of social productivity apps for the enterprise, Qortex is targeting what it describes as "the relevance and noise problem," which it aims to be the first to conquer. In the announcement of the public beta, the company said its app has produced "tremendous improvements in productivity and communication" among firms with large groups of knowledge workers and many contractors.

Timeline, Entries

The company is highlighting several features that directly address the clutter and relevance problem. Artificial intelligence technology is utilized to identify different priorities for various kinds of information, and users can "tuck away" information they've already read. The timeline automatically tucks away previously-read messages, so that only new or relevant content is displayed. When users are not logged onto Qortex, notifications are delivered only through email.

Every entry has a version history, can be linked to and from other entries, and can be turned into a simple slide presentation. A to-do list allows deadlines to be set for tasks and assignments made to any user, there is a secure drag and drop file exchange, and information from any group can be shared with an external contact.