County Durham Development Company (CDDC) has created Netpark Net, a virtual science park.
This follows the success of the actual Netpark science, engineering and technology park, in the north-east.
Netpark uses Communigate Systems's Communigate Pro and Pronto communication solutions.
Pronto provides Netpark Net with unified communications, including voice over internet protocol (VoIP), instant messaging (IM) and video conferencing, to enable organisations located outside Netpark to benefit from the specialist services offered as if they were Netpark tenants.
The vision for Netpark Net was to allow businesses, scientists and technologists to collaborate by sharing information or views in a similar way allowed on Facebook or Myspace.
Shah Amin, web developer for CDDC, said: 'One of the major benefits of using Communigate Pro and Pronto is that they integrate completely with the existing Netpark Net website, allowing CDDC to customise the user interface with branding to make it look like a Netpark Net product.' Via Netpark Net, users have access to the latest VoIP technology, enabling companies to connect to customers and suppliers more easily and ensuring the virtual office is not tied to a specific geographical location.
Users are encouraged to use instant messaging (IM) to share documents and experiences.
Additional collaboration will be facilitated by the provision of a wiki, a collaborative space containing pages that can be freely written or edited by users of the community.
A number of directories give users the option to promote services and access new opportunities collated from a range of different regional, national and international sources.