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A project extranet is a computer network or portal that allows controlled access from the outside, for specific project purposes. In a business-to-business or, more specifically, a construction context, an extranet can be viewed as an extension of an organisation's intranet that is extended to users outside the organisation, usually partners, vendors, and suppliers, in isolation from all other internet users, and without granting access to an organisation's entire network. It can also describe a separate website forming a secure, centralised repository accessible by all authorised project participants.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, several industries started to use the term 'extranet' to describe centralised repositories of shared data (and supporting applications) made accessible via the web only to authorized members of particular work groups - for example, geographically dispersed, multi-company project teams. Some applications are offered on a software as a service (SaaS) basis.
For example, in the construction industry, project teams may access a project extranet to share drawings, photographs and documents, and use online applications to mark-up and make comments and to manage and report on project-related communications.
In 2003, in the United Kingdom, several of the leading vendors formed the Network for Construction Collaboration Technology Providers (NCCTP) to promote the technologies and to establish data exchange standards between the different data systems. The same type of construction-focused technologies have also been developed in the United States, Australia and mainland Europe.
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