At the DEMO conference here in San Diego, there a number of companies launching that offer new ways of collaborating online.

Qtask is one of them.

The company boasts a unified collaboration environment for businesses. As the newest entrant in project and portfolio management, Qtask will have to show it’s better than the rest. At the core of its organizing principle is personal and team accountability. That removes confusion over who is responsible for what.

Russell Mix, CEO and cofounder of Qtask, said the software is designed to have cross-disciplinary teams collaborate across multiple locations. Changes to the projects are instantly updated and each team member can instantly access other team members’ changes. Records are kept for all communications. Discussions are automatically organized based on the project or topic at hand so it’s easier to stay in touch.

“There is no tool today that has all those services so nicely and efficiently together,” Mix said. “You can tie everything to everything.”

The software has automatic version control so it’s harder to lose documents and easier to view a history of changes to a document. Participants log into the site so that they can use it as a “software as a service.” It requires no installation or customization to get projects going and works on any device that accesses the web: PCs, Macs, or cell phones. You can easily add features such as a dashboard, wikis, file sharing, RSS syndication and compliance requirements.

It’s free for the first five users on one account for the first year with five hours of training included. Each additional user costs $50 a month. Over the next six months, the company will add new features and services.

The company was founded as Prolific in 2003. Qtask spun out in July 2007. It has 27 employees and is self-funded so far. The top competitors include Microsoft Project and Microsoft Sharepoint.

Meanwhile, Plandone is another company launching at DEMO with a set of collaboration tools for project management. The Petaluma, Calif. company is going up against competitors like MS Project, MS Outlook, Basecamp, Daptiv, Clarizen.

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