No more recurring fees for data storage and sharing
March 1, 2013
A Kickstarter-funded product, The Transporter takes social sharing of data files off of the cloud.
The folks who brought you Drobo—a family of external storage devices that holds massive amounts of data in removable hard disk drives—recently launched a new company, crowd-source financed via Kickstarter, called Connected Data, Inc., that promises personalized, private cloud-like data sharing that's not in the cloud via a just-introduced product called The Transporter, which just became available at Adorama.
The Transporter is claimed to be an easy way to store and share files with computers and other Transporter devices anywhere in the world, safely and privately. Connected Data says this eliminates recurring file storage fees required by cloud-based social storage services, and eliminates the need to synch files over the Internet. There are no data use limits, so you can share any file size.
The Transporter is said to be a private server; it is not shared with others, as is the case with cloud-based services, and all information is encrypted as it is transferred. Files are never stored in the cloud.
Also, The Transporter looks cool. A bit larger than a cup of coffee (or perhaps an inverted ice cream cone), it has a glowing ring around its base that is blue when everything is working, but changes to yellow or red as disk pace gets filled up, or if the Internet connection is lost. To set it up, you need to connect the unit to a switch or wireless router and plug in the power.
You also need to set up a free online account, that lets you manage your Transporter. Use this to create shared folders and send invites to friends or co-workers to view it. The person you're sharing with doesn't need to own a Transporter to view the file you're sharing. If anyone makes changes to a file, those changes are quickly copied to all shared devices, so it should work for collaboration.
In order to use The Transporter you'll need a router with an available Ethernet port (RJ45) that's connected to the Internet, and should have DHCP turned on as well as UPnP or NAT-PMP. The Transporter connects over Ethernet or Wi-Fi (Connected Data is working on a list of approved Wi-Fi adapters), and works on all common Wi-Fi networks. However, Connected Data recommends keeping Transporter hard-wired into the router for optimum performance.
Once you've connected The Transporter, open your computer and use a browser to get online and create an account. Once that process is done, you're ready to go.
If you are used to services like Dropbox, setting up and managing folders is pretty straightforward, and the sharing tools are similar to what you'd use if you were on a cloud-based file-sharing service. But what's cool is that you can actually manage multiple transporters—a boon if you tend to work with huge files and fill up your hard drive. The interface tells you how much space is available and breaks down the types of files are being stored. You can also control bandwidth usage.
Here's a video that Connected Data prepared as part of its Kickstarter campaign that demonstrates how to set up The Transporter. It's a good tutorial, and gives you a sense of what the user interface is like.
The Transporter is worth considering if you want to eliminate recurring fees for sharing files, and is flexible enough so you can work remotely and still be able to synch files between your laptop and a distant Transporter automatically. The Transporter is available now from Adorama in 2TB and 1TB hard drive for $399 and $299, respectively. At these capacities they have plenty of room for most file sizes. You can also get an empty Transporter with no hard drive for $199.