||The challenge addressed by the OSMOS project is to provide construction participants with effective access to project information regardless of its form, format, and location, and on the other hand with increased flexibility to support smooth co-operation between non co-located teams, and the co-ordination of their work and activities in an environment that promotes trust and social cohesion.Driven by requirements specified by industrial partners, OSMOS aims at focusing on the specification of industry requirements including intra- and inter-company information process models, identification of required tools, interfaces and services for the Virtual Enterprise (VE), specification of construction groupware services including system architecture, interfaces and necessary extensions to common construction applications. The OSMOS consortium is developing two Internet-based prototype groupware services, hosted in Finland and France, including low entry tools for accessing project information in a VE. The latter include browsers for accessing distributed project information, tools for quick set up of the infrastructure for a new VE, and tools for typical asynchronous communication.The paper will give, first, a general background on the Information and Communication Technology use in construction, with an emphasis on IT tools supporting team work. This will be followed by a summary of the requirements of the OSMOS system based on the analysis of the current practices within the participating companies. These requirements form the base of the OSMOS specification, comprising a set of information models as well as a set of services packaged in the form of an OSMOS Application Programming Interface. The paper will then concentrate on 2 of the following services: the e-mail based communication service, and the document cross-referencing/information management service, selected as specific targets for the 1st iteration of the OSMOS project. The objective of the e-mail based communication service is to provide users with mechanisms for exchanging electronic information and messages, examples of which include electronic letters, e-mail, documents, etc., and generalised functionality archiving messages within the VE, search and get email addresses according to specified criteria, and so on. The second service (document cross-referencing/information management ) is to provide users with mechanisms to relate any particular nugget of information with other information to which it relates based on its semantics (meaning), regardless of its actual form and storage format. The paper then proceeds with a detailed overview of the application and potential of the web-based generic services for construction virtual enterprises in the OSMOS project. A demonstration of the initial web-based versions of the “Virtual Enterprise Management system” (VEM) and the OSMOS information browser is then presented. The VEM, as the name implies, manages a VE in terms of registering, modifying and deleting users, roles, access rights, classes, objects, services/methods, etc.. More functionality will be added for security, authentication, session management, logging facility, etc. The OSMOS browser on the other hand communicates with the VEM and serves as the main user interface presenting different views to the project data and through these views makes available invokable methods for individual objects based on user roles, rights, and view preferences.Finally, it is worth mentioning that the results presented in this paper though targeted towards the construction industry are in fact generic enough to be translated to other industry sectors. The project is supported by 4 user interest groups in Finland, France, Sweden, and UK.
Harvey S, Marache M, Samad Kazi A, Rezgui Y, Zarli A, Hemio T (2001).
Web-based generic services for the construction virtual enterprises in the OSMOS project. Coetzee G, Boshoff F (ed.); IT in construction in Africa 2001; Mpumalunga, 30 May - 1 June, South Africa; ISBN 0-7988-5531-2,