SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA -- If you need to get work done on a PC when you're not at work, you could ask your company to install a virtual private network. You also could run remote-control software. Or you could use DataPod--a new peer-to-peer system that an Israel-based startup is introducing here at Demo 2004.
DataPod is due for launch in April; the product will list for $100, with an introductory price of $70.
Targeted at business types with multiple PCs, DataPod syncs files, e-mail, and browser bookmarks between two or more PCs over the Internet. The software runs in the background on each system?-say, an office computer and a home one--transferring data on the fly via an SSL-encrypted peer-to-peer networking connection.
For instance, when an e-mail message arrives on your work system, DataPod notices and automatically copies it to your home machine. The system also offers a browser-based interface, providing access to data from any Internet-connected PC.
DataPod's developers say that its peer-to-peer design and automated synching are especially well-suited to small companies that don't have much in the way of IT resources.
"You don't need to set up a VPN or servers," says Sharon Carmel, president and CTO of DataPod. "The data will find its way."
But Carmel says that DataPod's biggest competition may come from users who continue to e-mail files to themselves to move files from one computer to another. "Everybody's doing the workaround--but you have to remember to do it," Carmel says.
DataPod users can also share files with coworkers or acquaintances who also use the software. But the company stresses that DataPod won't compete with controversial file-swapping programs used to distribute pirated music. "You cannot make public folders and have your own little Kazaa," Carmel says.
The company says it's already working on features for future versions of the software, such as the ability to sync a PDA, a memory drive, or other handheld device with PC-based data.