Already completely funded on Kickstarter and shipping later this month according to the project details, the Transporter allows users to easily setup a completely private file sharing network without having to rely on the cloud for data storage. Developed in Santa Clara, California, the obelisk shaped hardware simplifies the process of networking devices between friends, family or co-workers. The Transporter offers remote access from any Internet-connected device like laptops or smartphones and there’s no monthly recurring fee to access your data through the Transporter.
Similar to the cloud, users can link multiple Transporter devices in order to share data. The proximity of the devices doesn’t matter as long as the Transporters are connected to the Internet through a wired or wireless connection.
For instance, someone with a Transporter in Los Angeles can link to another Transporter in Boston in order to constantly sync data between the devices. In addition, a secondary Transporter device isn’t required to access the data as long as an invite has been sent over email. A user can share photo albums and videos privately with family by sending them a link instead of uploading the private data to a remote server using a third-party service like Dropbox.
Regarding design, the device is covered in a black plastic shell which pops off in order to connect a 2.5-inch hard drive. The Serial ATA (SATA II) device allows users to connect a hard drive between 160GB to 2TB in capacity. Besides the power connection and Ethernet port, the LED ring on the front of the Transporter provides a visual indicator of storage space left on the attached hard drive, Internet connectivity and hard drive activity. While initial setup requires a wired connection, there’s also an option for a Wi-Fi adapter for positioning the device away from the main router in a home or office.
Since data is never stored online, the privacy of a Transporter network is significantly better than third-party networks. While the cost is somewhat significant up front, the Transporter will ultimately save consumers and small business owners money in monthly fees over time.
For instance, the cost of a single Transporter and the average 1TB 2.5-inch hard drive is about $270. According to the project details, that’s enough space to store 1000 high definition movies, 200,000 songs or 500,000 photos. However, the cost of one year of Dropbox’s premium 500GB plan is $49.99 a month or a $499 yearly fee.
Though the browser interface, users can check out extensive details about the type of data on their network of drives. In addition, the interface allows users to set bandwidth limits on downloading and uploading data as well as alter the number of users or Transporter devices that can access specific folders. Email invites to view data within a specific folder can also be sent through the interface. Beyond the browser-based controls, the Transporter software includes a desktop application to monitor data transfers as well as a folder to browse files that’s very similar to the standard Dropbox folder. Files can be dragged and dropped from the desktop interface in order to be shared with users.
To date, the group behind the Transporter has raised approximately $169,000 and the Kickstarter funding round ends on Friday Jan 11, 2013. Windows and Mac clients will roll out at launch and an iOS application is currently in active development for Apple mobile devices.