This potentially revolutionary little device offers all of the benefits of the cloud yet with none of the drawbacks. It might be one of the biggest buzzwords in technology but even two years ago, as surveys show, most consumers were confused by the cloud, and what it is, even though most people around the world use some form of cloud computing or storage every day, whether it’s when they log into a web-based email account or back up a computer to a service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Also Read - Google brings new delete policy for Drive files from October 13
And while the idea of cloud storage in particular — being able to access any type of file or document from any device anywhere in the world, as long as there’s an Internet connection — is a brilliant one and one that more and more people are embracing, it has a number of problems as well as benefits. Also Read - Google to introduce subscription-based Google One service in India
Firstly, it’s public, so anyone could conceivably hack it. Secondly it is someone else’s cloud not yours, you’re just borrowing it — what if the company goes out of business? And the third, and biggest, problem for many is cost. That introductory 2-5GB of free storage soon fills up and then you either have to delete files to save space or start paying a premium to get more storage. Also Read - Google One is the new and revamped paid expanded storage plan
This is the motivation behind Sherlybox, essentially an expandable private cloud you keep in the home but can access anywhere. “We want more storage, we want to keep our privacy and we want to get things done faster,” explains the device’s co-creator, Blazej Marchiniak of the gadget.
So, instead of uploading data to mysterious servers belonging to a cloud company, Sherlybox connects to a home Wi-Fi network and creates a private network that you and only you can sign into whenever there is an Internet connection.
As well as creating a network, the little device can be specified with an internet hard disk for local storage (up to 1TB) but can also support a further 127 devices — from flash drives to standalone hard disks, connected via USB. This means that once set up at home, you can keep adding more storage or rejuvenate old devices.
Its creators, Sher.ly, have this week turned to Kickstarter to take the device from the working prototype stage to a fully-funded reality and have set a rather modest campaign goal of $69,000. And just three days in the Sherlybox had already attracted over $52,000 in pledges.
But that’s not surprising because as well as unlimited storage, the device promises faster upload and download speeds than any existing cloud services. In other words, it’s like Dropbox on steroids.
And, once set up, you can invite others to access documents on the device, but you have total control over what each person can see and when privileges are removed, the documents and files are remotely deleted. So it could be a great alternative to sites like Facebook for sharing photos with friends and family.
The supporting software also features collaborative tools and messaging systems so it can be used for working on a project with a team and capturing feedback and iterations and redrafts of documents too.
If funding it successful, Sherl.y hopes to start shipping the first Sherlyboxes to backers by April 2015. The company is looking to sell the gadget for $149 without an internal hard drive and for $199 with ITB of onboard storage included.