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Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: iSpaces

Dermot Doherty, Sunne Justice and Guillermo Söhnlein founded iSpaces in 2009 as they were tired of opening different email accounts and Web apps and synchronizing between various computers and mobile devices. The result of their efforts is an Ireland-incorporated company that offers a cloud-based operating environment; namely, a cloud computer or virtual desktop that currently runs best on Google Chrome, but will be released soon on other popular browsers. The platform is written in Object Oriented JavaScript and provides multi-desktop functionality to users who are non-stop in the web.

Actually, the company runs a cloud service named NonStopWeb™, and in addition offers a newly launched product called CloudBrowser™. CloudBrowser is a web browser within a browser that allows users to log in to the company’s platform from multiple computers while saving the state of their interface to the company’s data storage centers in the cloud.  iSpaces runs on any Windows or Linux computer, with Mac coming soon, creating a virtual desktop that simplifies users’ everyday life by eliminating the need to reopen numerous browser tabs and web applications.

The company’s founders claim that they offer a unique service to cloudaholics who are growing in numbers and prefer to store their data and conduct their work in the cloud.“I guess I would qualify as a “cloudie” since I spend so much of my time using a variety of Web apps, including 6 different E-mail accounts, Google Calendar, SalesForce, QuickBooks, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. I normally have 4-5 Chrome windows open simultaneously, each with 5 or more tabs,”  Guillermo Söhnlein, CEO of OceanGate and co-founder of iSpaces, said in a recent press release. “Before iSpaces, I would have to either lug around my laptop or re-open each window/tab on my home, work, and travel computers. Now that I use iSpaces all I need is an Internet connection and NonStopWeb keeps all of my work persistently available. I now live completely untethered while still staying connected,” he added.

Dermot Doherty came up with the idea to create iSpaces forced by his need to access all his open tabs and Internet-based application anywhere and anytime. In addition to a persistent web presence and a browser within a browser, he developed a multiple desktops (called Spaces) functionality, enabling users to arrange windows depending on their preferences.“iSpaces is designed for everyone who wants to simplify their digital life,” Dermot Doherty, the company’s founder and CTO said in a statement. “I often work from multiple computers and was tired of wasting time logging in and out of various Web applications. I wanted to create a technology that made my digital life easily accessible and persistent. iSpaces is a whole new breed of technology, it’s part computer, part OS, part desktop and part browser. I call it a cloud computer,” Doherty added.  “Welcome to the future of computing,” he concluded.

Such a bold statement can be justified only if one is familiar with the core idea of cloud computing and related services. Virtual data storage spaces have been available since long ago, however the resulting services took some time to be developed. When it comes to “virtual desktops”, we are not speaking about a remote connection to another computer but for a computer working session that is executed in the cloud and saved in the cloud. Thus, any user can restore his or her last session, or any previously saved session, which is stored in the cloud without the need to reopen multiple tabs, windows, documents or applications running in the web.

The service features secure and encrypted storage that is replicated while data is backed up regularly.

Most, if not all, cloud-based data storage providers apply the same policy but none or few of them offer a service similar to the virtual desktop provided by iSpaces. In addition, the service features a secure web-based phone called SpacePhone (which is in SpaceWorks, iSpaces testing lab, but on the horizon.) OfficeSpace™ is a functionality integrating Zoho Office Suite in the platform, enabling users to work with Microsoft-created documents.

A major advantage of iSpaces is that the company offers its service free of charge, limiting the amount of free storage to 1 GB. The platform does not need local installation on users’ computers and is compatible with Windows XP, Windows 7 and Linux.Such an advanced free-to-use offering is tempting to many users who need such functionality despite that 1 GB of free storage is quite a limited amount of data space in today’s world. On the other hand, the company is offering a pretty revolutionary service that is still in its initial stage of development with Salesforce appearing as iSpaces’ sole competitor at the moment.

iSpaces currently has a group of 33 angel investors and has just opened up its second round of fundraising.  With the economy reviving and investors starting to look for lucrative opportunities again, we can expect that iSpaces will attract greater interest from venture capital firms. Looks like iSpaces has taken the right course, avoiding redundant publicity and developing its beta-stage service in semi-stealth mode.  However, the company bets on a promising technology although the time is not yet ripe for iSpaces to monetize its innovative approach toward cloud computing services.

By Kiril Kirilov

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