Kwilt at CES 2019

It’s a new year, a fast-changing environment and the time for us as consumers to take back control of our personal data has finally arrived.

The growth of personal data, mostly from our photos and videos, is basically out of control. Now, we all have a connected professional camera in our pocket doubled with a mobile screen to view anything, anytime and anywhere.

Storing data in traditional ways just doesn’t fit our new lifestyle of taking multiple photos and videos daily. Storing it in the cloud has quickly become the only answer to our photo storage needs, albeit not adopted as THE solution by the masses. The reasons are simple: it doesn’t make sense to pay to store our precious digital assets on somebody else’s premise, totally giving away control and privacy over our personal life memories over the course of our entire lifetime. Not to mention, the limitations of cloud storage from an economic perspective and now from a privacy standpoint are showing in a big way. Only a very few giants, namely Amazon and Google in the western hemisphere, are able to sustain the load of public cloud storage while digital privacy breaches are popping up everywhere on a massive scale.

We’re craving the convenience of public cloud storage coupled with home storage privacy. We want low cost and personal control. What’s even more interesting is that we all have tons of storage at hand at home -think USB sticks and USB drives- laying around at home filled with personal digital content. It’s a big mess of files that are very difficult, if not impossible, to access from a phone or while you’re on the go.

“New” solutions pop up here and there. The latest at this year’s CES is SanDisk’s FlashBack. It’s a PC software that copies whatever you have on a specific model of SanDisk USB sticks onto a mirror cloud storage account. Then you can sleep soundly because you have a second copy in case you lose your USB stick, and you can also access and share it virtually from any PC or mobile phone anywhere in the world. That’s the good news.

Now for the bad news. First, you’ll need to pay each year for as long as you want to keep this ubiquitous access privilege. The maximum capacity offered to you is 256GB today and you will have to pay $9.99 per year. Second, your need for privacy is still not being met because you are storing your content on someone else’s premise. This still leaves you with privacy and control concerns. Third, it will take a very long time to upload 256 GB to the cloud to get started. Your PC will be busy for days. There is also probably a ton of stuff you don’t care about losing and you will never want to access or share again. Regardless, if you have a need for storage, which you do, you will have to go through the tedious task of uploading your personal data and paying for that storage solution for the rest of your life. We simply don’t have the time to sift through and sort out the good content from the bad one and upload only what we really need. That’s life and it’s not going to change anytime soon.  

So, where does this leave us? Well, the easiest way is to plug your home hard drive(s) into a connected hub at home and use it as your personal cloud. Just like your iCloud or Google drive. Believe it or not, the technology is here and maturing quite fast.

The solution is called Kwilt.

The kwilt2 device is getting quite inexpensive and retails for just $89. Second, the Kwilt devices are very powerful and can sustain enough storage for personal or family use. Think about it: if one million people access their content at the same time on a public cloud, Google or Amazon drives need huge amounts of bandwidth and a lot of processing cycles. So yes, Google drive is relatively fast, but not as fast as Dropbox which operates on a smaller and more expensive scale. However, having your very own cloud processing engine at home with a quad-core CPU, 1 GB of RAM and your own, dedicated high speed Internet pipe -like in 150 Mb/s and up to 1.5 Gb/s fiber to the home- is more than enough to access a few photos and even high-def videos a few times a day. It’s also faster than Dropbox! It’s actually faster than any public cloud storage by a good margin, period.

Yes, things have changed a lot lately but it’s all for the better! Photography enthusiasts, GoPro fans and drone aficionados are getting the good news and embracing home hubs such as the Kwilt solution for storing and easily accessing their high-res photos and high-def videos. Connected home devices are now being accepted and adopted by all types of consumers and home data hubs are just that. We see a lot of interest and fast growing sales which means the market is waking up to solutions that offer us full control at a fraction of the cost of cloud storage, and that’s good news for 2019!

Follow our blog posts this week from CES! We’ll be talking about the latest trends and greatest consumer solutions from the industry.

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