RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – A Chapel Hill-based company is striving to take collaboration to a whole new level, utilizing the power of blogs, wikis for simple web-based content creation, and group calendars.

Near-Time, Inc., which was launched by veteran RTP entrepreneurs Reid Conrad and Lee Buck, unveiled their suite of online collaboration tools on Monday. The Near-Time suite is offered as a hosted service.

One reviewer has already given Near-Time high marks.

“Near-Time is fast, easy-to-learn, and capable of interoperating with some of your existing critical assets like email,” said Robin Good at “Content placed on the Near-Time collaboration platform is also replicated on multiple servers, so a full and up to date back-up is always available.”

Near-Time says users can set up a “collaborative community” quickly, utilizing any web browser. The software also works with RSS and XML as well as blog and e-mail applications. An internal notification system is available to keep community members current.

The company has been testing Near-Time with users in more than 40 countries.

For the time being as beta tests continue, Near-Time is offering its service free of charge. Later in March, fees starting at $4.95 a month kick in.

Conrad and Buck sold Extensibility to TIBO Software in 2000.