Bypass lengthy download times with Cloudpaging

This technology allows you to stream software directly to your computer

Written by Herbert Lui, Staff Writer

Evernote, Google Docs, and Dropbox have already shown us just how convenient and powerful the cloud can be. You never have to worry about losing files, or syncing them up manually; even collaborating got a lot easier with the advent of these applications. Now, you may never have to download or put software on your hard drive ever again.

Cloudpaging technology offers an alternative to the status quo; we will have the ability to stream software directly to our computers, bypassing the often lengthy download time. For example, cloudpaging will allow you to preview games before you buy them, without having to download a trial version.

Can’t we already do that?

There is a method of streaming games called “pixel-streaming”. This is what we currently know; games are streamed and buffered from a server to your computer. There are various problems with this current method: for example, it’s difficult to scale as server capabilities need to grow as demand starts to grow (exponentially, usually). Also, there are bandwidth issues: apparently, it takes over 3GB/hour to stream a video game! Your internet service provider would drool looking at your bill.

What is Cloudpaging?

Cloudpaging is a technology that allows you to stream applications to your computer. The name consists of “cloud” and “pages”, the latter of which refers to the small fragments of the original application. Where ordinary streaming is great for linear media (like music and videos), it isn’t as suitable for non-linear media, like software. The starting point for software isn’t always at the beginning of the download, so the cloudpaging software figures out which pages users need to download first and proceeds to do so. This means the user can have quick access to the first part of their game or software.

Cloudpaging Photoshop over a network by approxy1

For example, it only takes 6.5% of Photoshop to perform basic image modification. Cloudpaging pioneer Numecent aims to download this particular 6.5% of pages first, so that you can perform basic image modifications with Photoshop. Numecent’s software will then continue to download Photoshop in the background, and previous pages it already downloaded will be cached for quicker access. If you’re interested in more technical details, you can find them over at IDG.

Who’s behind Numecent?

Numecents CEO is serial technology and media entrepreneur Osman Kent. Kent has a pretty unique track record, having created a company called benchMark which he sold to DuPont. He then purchased benchMark back from DuPont, and re-named it 3DLABS (now known as ZiiLABS), and then sold it again to Creative Labs. Kent is also responsible for Songphonic Records.

Real-life Applications of Cloud Paging

You’ve already seen someone playing Unreal Tournament on their tablet, controlling it by tilting the tablet and using gestures. That’s pretty remarkable, but that’s not life-changing. Things get a lot more interesting with cloudpaging.

Imagine: we can now check applications out like we check books out at libraries. Money gets removed as a barrier to learning something (because we never pirate things, right?). Alright, in all seriousness: freelancers can now afford to buy fewer copies of the software they need, people don’t need to wait for crazy download times to use their applications, and companies now have a legal alternative for making their own software more accessible.

Is the world ready for it?

Honestly, I can’t really say. I think that cloud computing is still very much in diapers, and we’re all trying to figure out what to do with it. I definitely know a lot of people that aren’t comfortable not having a hard-copy of things on their hard drive, and I’m also aware a lot of people aren’t too keen on relying on one service provider that has the key to all their software. (To illustrate people’s paranoia (including my own): How many people are averse to using FourSquare because they don’t like the thought of everyone knowing where they are or are not?) I think there’s some progress that needs to be made on the comfort before cloudpaging really spreads itself around the world.

However, according to their promotional video, Numecent has already partnered up with 11 universities and distributed over 3 million copies of AutoCAD (yowza!) to one of their clients.

Will cloudpaging go the way of Oracle’s network computers? Or will it join eyeOS and Jolicloud in ushering the new age of cloud computing?

Get ready, world. The future awaits.

ARB Team
Arbitrage Magazine
Business News with BITE.

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