Author Archives: kiril

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: BlueTeach

Founded in 2009 and based in Paris, France, BlueTeach employs only seven professionals but already has a customer base calculated in thousands of users worldwide. The company self-describes its service as a knowledge sharing community in the Cloud and competes with services like eduFire and Livemocha to attract customers who are eager to gain new knowledge or provide tutoring services.

The service, located at www.blueteach.com, requires only a web browser to run and no additional set-up of software or hardware is involved. Actually, it is a virtual classroom, called Eclass, featuring videoconferencing tools and whiteboard that allows users to embed graphics and other objects. BlueTeach supports Google maps and images, YouTube videos, 3D games, science objects, formulas and other objects required in the learning process. Users are able to upload various types of Microsoft Office documents like Power Point presentations, text documents, spreadsheets, etc., as well as PDF presentations.

A newsworthy option is the ability to teach and learn for free if a tutor has decided to work pro bono. Such being the case, both the teacher and the student can use the service free of charge while sharing lessons on foreign languages, natural science, games, or conducting professional training. Teacher can also benefit from a built-in functionality allowing them to record their lessons and publish them on other social networks in the Cloud.

The cloud-based platform of BlueTeach is not a new invention in terms of original idea, such platforms came to life and ceased to exist in the past with at least several other companies developing similar platforms. BlueTeach can be picked out from the crowd thanks to its entirely cloud computing nature, users should not take care of any additional software nor they have to be familiar with a specialized software to conduct an online lesson, any of the popular web browsers will do the job for them. Of course, all users attending a class should have Flash 10 installed on their computers. The platform also features planning and scheduling functionality, allowing teachers to plan and manage their online classes.

Unsurprisingly, the company has adopted its own credit-based currency like many other services providing a sort of online marketplace with teachers being charged by BlueTeach for their paid lessons.  Tutors and teachers are able to set their own per-hour rate while the service calculates the overall cost of a class depending on the duration of educational course of lectures. The company claims that it does not impose literary any restrictions on what can be taught online, though we doubt they offer such a total freedom of expression as the opposite will ruin the core idea of learning and teaching online.

BlueTeach, like almost all cloud-based social platforms, offers public, private, and on invitation only communication between users. It is not quite clear why a teacher looking for more students would like to make its classes private but it is a useful option if a person wants to teach lessons to a relative overseas, for example. In fact, such a functionality is more typical for “genuine” social networks like Facebook despite that most developers consider this option as something that is taken for granted in any modern communication or collaboration application.

More interesting idea, still in development, is the upcoming introduction of a co-browser, which is really an advanced feature that will be worth looking at when this functionality is available. At present, the service compensates for the lack of co-browsing functionality by allowing users to save anything pasted on the whiteboard. BlueTeach also offers cloud-based libraries enabling teachers and students to save resources in the Cloud and access them via their accounts.

In a rare public statement, one of the persons behind BlueTeach, Kemal El Moujahid, insists that the company’s solution: “Will revolutionize person-to-person learning by bringing a global online dimension to educational exchanges.” Press releases have an interesting property; namely, to read oddly in terms of words used to describe potentially useful and promising technologies. At this stage, it is hard to determine whether BlueTeach will manage to “revolutionize” the growing market for educational services in the Cloud. On the other hand, the French start-up aims to develop a service that is an essential part of a knowledge-based society and economy which tend to replace traditional communication channels with cloud-based online collaboration tools.

BlueTeach can be a real rising star, bearing in mind that their technology is developed in-house, if the company’s founders are able to ride the wave of cloud computing and apply a successful business model for the service they offer.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Webdoc

Stock market analysts in the main world financial centers already voice concerns over the overvalued Facebook and Twitter and started asking questions whether these cloud-based services will trigger the next bubble in the IT industry. In the meantime, start-ups like webdoc.com are eager to grab market share in a lucrative market of social platforms aimed at consumers that increasingly share, create and store content in the Cloud.

The Swiss-based Webdoc is a relatively young company, founded in 2009 by a group of serial entrepreneurs and geeks, and regardless of its name, suggesting a collaborative cloud platform, it is more a Facebook-like service. The company employs about 15 people, according to its public Linkedin and CrunchBase profiles, but has the ambition to offer “open spaces for social expression”. The company boasts a brand new approach to social platforms but unbiased observers will hardly find any significant differences between Webdoc and Facebook, at first glance.

At second reading, however, one will realize that Webdoc offers possibility to insert almost unlimited types of content into their “webdocs”. Most cloud-based social platforms allow users to put text, pictures, videos and music into their profile pages, “walls”, whatever they are called. Webdoc offers functionality to integrate interactive applications like slideshows, games and polls into a webdoc. In addition, users can put into their webdocs web services like Twitter or Google Maps.

Actually, some of the companies we already reviewed in the Top 25 European Rising Stars Series are applying similar approach and deploy analogous functionality in their cloud platforms, services and software. The difference is that Webdoc is a more spontaneous platform where people are able only to listen to others and to group around topics, events, and content. It is not an original idea, though, not many other services bet on such a policy.

Webdoc is a simple to use platform featuring drag-and-drop functionality while allowing users to add even entire web sites to their postings. It seems that the company has decided to enable users to embed almost everything into their webdocs, realizing that digital content is experiencing fast-paced development that widens the bounds of the social platforms as a widespread instrument of communication.

Unsurprisingly, Webdoc features private and public conversations with private ones differing from the public webdocs in their limited number of friends allowed to see the content that is put into them. Users can log in with their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which is another advantage in a world of growing number of personal digital accounts and hints that the company wants to build on the popularity of these services before trying to oust them. It looks like a clever business model for a start-up still gaining popularity and lacking finances to fight multi-billion behemoths in an open duel. At the same time, applying of such relaxed approach toward account policy opens the door for more loyal Facebook and Twitter users to try what Webdoc has to offer.

The company is still waiting for a major financial boost by venture capital investors despite that it is not quite clear whether the founders of Webdoc are actively looking for external financing. The company attracted the attention of those who keep a close eye on the cloud industry and innovative IT companies as well as professionals who understand that gradual development can be more advantageous in long-run compared to an aggressive marketing campaign backing an underdeveloped product.

Webdoc is not aggressively promoting their product nor they are fueling the hype around the company. One should be aware, however, that companies like Skype, ICQ, AVG, etc., emerged outside the Silicon Valley but gradually evolved becoming well known world leaders in their respective market segments.

The Bible tells a story about David who managed to overcome Goliath armed with a sling not a catapult, and the same story reiterates during history of humankind, including history of business and market development. Webdoc started a promising project in the Cloud, yet we have to see whether the company is capable to gain momentum or will fizzle out like many other start-ups in the technology sector which failed to materialize a good business idea.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Memonic

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Memonic

Memonic Attacks Specific Markets with Its Cloud-based Personal Notebook

memonicZurich-based start-up Nektoon Inc. was founded in 2009 to launch a new cloud-based service called Memonic and since then managed to become a popular online service in Europe. The company competes with services like Evernote, providing customers with a personal online notebook to store text, pictures, videos or sound they found in Internet. Memonic allows users to capture essential content of any web page, store it in their personal cloud-based notebook and access their accounts anytime through different devices. Actually, Memonic is a sort of Storage as a Service with extended functionality.

The service was launched in November, 2009 by co-founders Dorian Selz, Felix Hürlimann, Patrice Neff, Christoph Hauzenberger and Toni Birrer who managed to secure USD 200,000 in seed funding for Nektoon. The Swiss-headquartered company received USD 1 million in angel investor funding in May 2010 and since then no news on new rounds of funding have been revealed. Memonic, however, won several awards in just a couple of years, including an award for innovative and promising business idea.

The online notebook offered by Memonic is available as a web-based service and is accessible in Windows, iPhone and any Smartphone. Apart from online knowledge gathering functionality, the application allows users to share the content they stored under their online accounts as well as possibility to edit collected information.

Memonic features several basic modules or functionality that should be included in any cloud-based application designed to serve as an online notebook. The first one, the web clipper allows users to select text, images or videos from web pages visited by customers. The web clipper works as a bookmarklet or browser extension while the application is automatically indexing all the content captured by the users. The capturing tool is also able to mail users’ notes to their Memonic accounts while creating new items is also possible. Thus, the content of the personal notebook is searchable, which is not an innovative functionality but is worth mentioning.

The company calls its folders, containing various items organized by users, “Sets” and these Sets can be organized by dragging and dropping an item to a list or by using special menus. In addition, an item may belong to a particular Set or a group of Sets. Memonic has a built-in text editor allowing users to edit the content of items while adding or removing images to an item.

Sharing functionality is essential part of any cloud-based application and Nektoon added such feature to their Memonic service. The application allows users to share their collected content via email, Facebook and Twitter while any item can be labeled as private or public. Private items can be shared too, using a guest password that unlocks the content of a private set of items.

Recent hacking competitions showed that iPhones, and smartphones, in general, are not the most secure devices to use for private browsing but Memonic follows the overall industry trends and made its application accessible via such devices. Memonic supports iPhone, iPad and iPod and offers data synchronization for offline browsing and reading. The application is available on the iTunes application store but we suggest to be careful what you store online using your mobile smartphone.

The Windows version of Memonic adds more functionality to the application with possibility to write notes and take screenshots. Users are allowed to extract text and pictures form various Windows applications like text and presentation editors while saving clipboard is also possible. Notes and screenshots created offline can be uploaded automatically to a user account when the application goes online.

The company offers two types of free accounts, Instant and Standard, with the latter providing additional sharing capabilities, mobile access, iPhone application, and create by email function. However, both free account types do not provide SSL encryption, which is a serious disadvantage.

An unbiased observer might ask: “Why should I use Memonic if services like Google Docs exits?”. The correct answer is that Memonic is not trying to compete with cloud services like the one offered by Google Docs and other collaborative platforms.

There are plenty of cloud-based collaborative tools around while Memonic bets on another, yet underdeveloped, niche. The growing market for cloud services and the related boom of Internet-based operating systems and devices is creating an entirely new market of cloud storage services. The growing number of Internet PCs and smartphones force their owners to seek affordable, secure and user friendly methods to store their data collected during Internet browsing sessions. Why should a user in Africa purchase an expensive laptop to browse the web if the market offers cheap web OS PCs while services like Memonic provide cloud storage space for the user’s collected valuable content. Add functions like sharing and editing and you get a good idea why services like Memonic are the likely winners in a fast paced cloud computing environment.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Timetric

Not many scholars tend to launch a successful business, especially in a highly competitive environment offered by technology sector. Timetric’s cloud-based service was started by Andrew Walkingshaw, Toby White and Dan Wilson in Cambridge in the United Kingdom with Walkingshaw and White graduating in Cambridge while Dan Wilson received his PhD in computational chemistry from the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 2005.

The hosted service for managing and analyzing statistical data uses the Timetric Platform and was developed by the company’s co-founders during their work on computational physics research. Physical simulations require processing of large data volumes and the three scientists were writing software to manage such data, which led to the creation of Timetric Ltd and the website powered by the Timetric Platform.

Timetric managed to close its first round of seed funding in March 2010 after the company was named among the winners of London Mini Seedcamp 2009. Investors in Timetric include Stefan Glänzer who is executive chairman and founding investor of Last.fm, Alex Zubillaga, Sherry Coutu, a well-known serial entrepreneur and founder of Interactive Investor, Matteo Stefanel, and Sean Park and Udayan Goyal of Nauiokas Park.

Timetric provides cloud-based Data as a Service (DaaS) for websites and publications interested in presenting statistical data in various spheres. The service offers interactive and sharable graphs featuring interactive visualizations. Reputable publications like The Guardian, Financial Times,  Citywire and This Is Money are among the customers using Timetric’s Chartroom.

The company can offer cost-effective solutions for its service is hosted in the cloud and publishers must not take care of aggregating and processing large data volumes to incorporate interactive pages containing statistics in their news services. Timetric’s Chartroom pages allow writers to reuse graphics and visualizations anywhere, enabling readers to share a Timetric Chartroom in a couple of clicks. The platform supports all major browsers and graphs are able to run on iPhone and iPad.

The company describes its Timetric Platform as a cloud-based, proprietary time series database, statistics aggregator, and visualization system. In addition, Timetric claims its team is able to build a customized service very quickly because the service is based on their own platform.

Cleverly enough, Timetric Benchmark is collecting data from public sources around the globe, which means the company is covering data sources like central banks, national statistical offices, etc. to provide analytical services based on statistical data. Taking a brief look at the number of such sources of statistical data worldwide shows that a platform aggregating data from public sources can be a very reliable source of information for hundreds and thousands of public data sources exist. When a software is able to collect all those data it becomes a powerful source of comparable information that can be of benefit to individuals and businesses alike. Providing data in real time and allowing users to securely share such data is just another advantage of Timetric.

The company claims that its service is not business intelligence or web analytics but a platform tracking, measuring and collecting all key metrics of an enterprise regardless of where the data originated. Timetric API allows business owners to create subscription services and manage access control, payment and delivery of data to customers.

Timetric graphing widget is based on Adobe Flash and supports major web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE 6 or later. The company’s product is built on top of open source software including Python, Django, jQuery, Postgres, and Tokyo Tyrant. Developers working for Timetric also created or contributed to the creation of a number of software products like Sunburnt, which is a Python-based interface for working with the Solr search engine. Other products include Raphlot – a port of Flot to use the Raphaël APIs and Appengine-mailer, which is a limited RFC2822-over-HTTP proxy for running in Google App Engine. As3xls is a library for reading Excel files from Actionscript 3 and is extremely useful when the matter in hand is reading statistical data.

The future looks bright for Timetric for today’s world relies and depends on information and data to an unimaginable extent. At present, the company is not running a multibillion business but one could hardly find any reasons for Timetric not to monetize its know-how and become a leading DaaS cloud service provider. Moreover, it is encouraging to witness the growth of a company founded by scholars that are taking advantage of ever growing market for data while offering a cloud solution that is very cost effective. Thomas Edison is a good example of this type of inventor and entrepreneur and despite that Timetric co-founders did not invent the electric bulb, which changed the way of living of mankind, they are offering a promising knowledge-based cloud service that obviously bears great potential.

By Kiril Kirilov

U.S. Authorities Grant Three Patents for Cloud Container Technology to AppZero

U.S. Authorities Grant Three Patents for Cloud Container Technology to AppZero

Massachusetts-based technology startup AppZero announced the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the application virtualization company three patents providing critical capabilities to its cloud solutions. These patents lay the foundation for AppZero’s Cloud Container Isolation ™ technology, the company said on its website.

The company was granted three patents; namely, Patent # 7,757,291, titled “Malware Containment by Application Encapsulation”; Patent # 7,774,762, named “System Including Run-Time Software to Enable a Software Application to Execute on an Incompatible Computer Platform”, and Patent # 7,784,058, called “Computing System Having User Mode Critical System Elements as Shared Libraries”.

AppZero also announced some details on the patents’ capabilities that include ability to isolate applications from one another and from the underlying OS, avoiding application conflict. If a virus manage to break the system it is limited to a single container, protecting other applications and the OS.

Another functionality allows the software to package unmodified desktop and server-side applications from old operating systems (OS) for secure delivery to, and execution on, new OS versions, the company said.
Patents also include capability to package fully configured applications and their dependencies into a portable and reusable OS-free Virtual Application Appliance (VAA) which can be copied and run quickly without installation.

A capability of particular interest to cloud services providers is the ability for rapid provisioning of server and desktop business applications from the data center to/from and among clouds.

“Everyone says their solution is unique, but nothing says “unique” quite like a patent. While I’m certain that the granting of 3 patents will increase the company’s recognition as a credentialed innovator, what our customers care about is the business agility that AppZero brings to the enterprise, ISVs, and cloud providers alike. They get to run their business applications when and where they choose, with elasticity and ease – without lock-in. The innovation protected by these patents form the heart of this agility,” Greg O’Connor, AppZero CEO, explained in a press release.

Greg O’Connor founded AppZero in 2009 and since then the privately held company attracted the attention of leading technology investors like serial entrepreneur Nigel W. Stokes, Canada’s BDC Venture Capital and another Canadian venture capital company, VenGrowth.

The company’s solutions allow cloud providers and enterprises to easily move applications to the cloud and back again if needed through its OS-free VAAs, which are self-contained units that are completely portable. AppZero offers software that creates, runs, and maintains VAAs in Linux, Solaris, and Windows environments.

It is a good news that companies compete to patent their cloud solutions and a new wave of such patents could be expected during the year. It is unclear how many cloud computing related patents are pending worldwide but the emergence of cloud computing market as a major driving force in technology sector will inevitably open the flood gates for numerous original innovations in the sector. On the other hand, many cloud startups  – offering for free solutions – rely on open source technologies to develop their products, therefore, one could expect that most cloud patents will appear in the paid segment of the cloud computing services.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Mvine

Serial entrepreneur Frank Joshi founded Mvine Ltd. in 2005 as an online record label and music social network but he soon realized that B2B cloud platforms have great market growth potential and Mvine platform was re-designed to serve also as a social businesses software system. Recently, the company released its new social business platform in the United Kingdom and most experts agree that Mvine is trying to set foot at markets traditionally occupied by business collaboration platforms like Microsoft Sharepoint and Salesforce Chatter. The UK-based company also faces other serious competitors like Google Docs cloud-based service and platform and the Jive Jive social networking platform.

The company claims its cloud-based platform is more secure and more capable that other similar products offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Unlike other platforms, Mvine bets on niche markets trying to serve particular communities, rejecting the one-size-fits-all business model applied by leading companies in the field.

People think that the internet has changed the way people do business, ironically in some respects it has and it hasn’t: the internet hasn’t replaced human communications, it has enhanced them. At the same time it takes the drudgery out of mundane processes and allows people to focus on the content of messaging, letting the technical worry about distribution. Mvine’s technology tries to find better ways to do transactional processes which will typically involve people not machines,”Frank Joshi explains in a statement on the company’s website.

The company develops a variety of portals that are based on open source software like Debian (Stable), PostgreSQL, Apache and Perl. The platform offers the usual advantages of cloud computing and open source technologies like scalability, high level of customization and acceptable degree of security functionality. Mvine uses Perl’s Mason HTML template software that allows each page users see to be unique for it is dynamically created after user’s log in.

The Mvine platform features capabilities offered by all major cloud collaboration platforms like upload and management of documents, text, images, audio, and video. Users are allowed to create unlimited number of groups and subgroups while various types of communication are available – live/passive communication, instant messaging, video conferencing and telephone calls are offered within the platform. The company has integrated a BI platform in the system, allowing customers to get detailed reports on various events occurring on the website. In addition, reporting can be cross referenced with and linked to other databases.

Mvine develops and supports different types of portals in four different categories: customer portals, business communities, alumni & diversity portals, and membership portals. The first one provides businesses with the ability to run customized dashboards aimed to deliver a customer-centric experience. Customer portals feature central document repository and management areas while providing instant messaging, private messaging, telephony and discussion groups functionality.

The platform offers extended functionality to business communities by allowing organizations to connect remote offices and teams, including mobile employees, through a cloud-based service. Mvine’s cloud platform boasts secure environment for enterprises to share and collaborate on various projects in different file formats, providing unified content management and cloud storage facility.

The company develops two major types of cloud-based social software for alumni & diversity communities. Alumni Communities for schools allows customers to manage and administer their community portals while publishing important information about the school and its activities. The platform also features tools for mass communicating messages to community members although this cannot be considered an advanced functionality anymore. Alumni communities for businesses provide similar functionality, betting on social networking as a tool for creation of devoted communities that can assist business development.

Membership portals offered by Mvine take advantage of available cloud computing technologies providing instant messaging, telephony and video conferencing functionality. Portal owners can create different subscription levels and get a holistic view of the site and coherent analysis.

Recently, Mvine’s platform has been adopted by a number of clients, including British Telecom, that are eager to outsource their document management and online communications to the Cloud. The platform features integrated document management, CRM, data integration, content publishing, security, identity management, online communications and business intelligence (BI) and analytics, functionality, which makes it a real competitor to rival services offered by mastodons like Microsoft and Google. At present, the company is targeting primarily the financial services sector and insurance companies in particular. Mvine established a subsidiary company, named Exvine, to target the insurance industry with former former Lloyds of London chief information officer Chris Rawson heading the new business unit.

Mvine loudly announced the launch of its businesses collaboration platform in the cloud but it is hard to assess whether it will be able to grab significant market share in the coming years. Nevertheless, the company is aiming at business sectors that rarely experience financial difficulties and, provided that its platform is well accepted, it could witness fast paced growth of its services. Mvine has long been on the radar of those interested in cloud computing start-ups but it finally unveiled a solution that can help the company to set foot at the lucrative market for online collaboration and cloud-based B2B services.

By Kiril Kirilov

Mindgine Unveils First Social OS and Mini-computer To Power Cloud Networks

Mindgine Unveils First Social OS and Mini-computer To Power Cloud Networks

Mindgine, a Chicago. IL.-based not for profit technology company is set to launch its Mindebian Micro and Mindebian X micro-computers that interface with a social cloud network, enabling users to take advantage of various open-source applications while saving significant amount of energy. Mindgine has created two versions of a plug computer that is environment friendly, provides unrestricted access to numerous applications and protects user’s privacy and security in the Cloud, the company said. It took two years of research before the company was able to unveil the new platform with its research team working on projects for NASA, General Motors, Bosch, Ford, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Northrop Grumman, Google, Facebook, and Etas in the meantime.

Mindebian Micro and Mindebian X are using an operating system named Mindebian OS and allow users to control the plug computers from over 13,000 mobile devices via Internet. Enthusiasts are encouraged and allowed to create create new applications within the community as well s new hardware aimed at enhancing the functionality of the system. The platform also allows users to upload, share and stream files via other social network websites like Facebook, the company explained.

The company’s operating system provides compatibility with all major operating systems like  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X and Mac 10.4 and above, and Linux 32bit kernel and features unlimited capability for widespread used mobile platforms such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows. Users can utilize Mindebian computers in various ways with Mindebian Micro and Mindebian X being able to act as an external firewall, IP camera controller, virtual private network, proxy, transcoder, game emulator, etc.
Mindgine computing is completely nonrestrictive and interacts with the evolving world of mobile communication, yet at the same time is energy-resource friendly and contributes positively to research development in science, medicine, and technology. We believe in a community courageous enough to calculate mankind’s greatest queries with a philanthropic approach,” Peter Wojtowicz, Mindgine CEO, said in a press release.

Actually, Mindebian OS is the first social operating system intended to power a social cloud consisting of micro computers. Broadly speaking, users create their own cloud server by installing and activating their micro-computers, which use their idle processor time to process information for Berkley’s Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. Mindebian Micro and Mindebian X offer different processing power with Mindebian Micro being depicted as the smallest plug computer in the world, which in addition uses far less energy that “traditional” PCs. For its part, Mindebian X features nearly three times more processing power than the base model allowing users to conduct more intensive researches, the company explained.

Moreover, users are able to direct their own computers’ computing power to a research project of their choice. Therefore, a Mindebian user can re-direct computer’s power to conduct researches in various scientific fields like astronomy, biology and medicine, humanities, etc., depending on his interests and preferences.

A Mindebian plug computer costs only USD 61 while the company offers early access to its beta platform for just one U.S. dollar. In addition, Mindgine plans to give free mini-computers to college students, developers, and others who contribute to the cloud-based community and share their innovative vision for social cloud computing.

The Mindebian concept means developers are only limited by their imagination, not by resource or finance. There is a realm of super computing developers haven’t yet had the chance to create, and Mindgine are here to facilitate that realm and ensure it becomes a mainstream reality,” Tomasz Wojtowicz, Mingine CFO, revealed.

Mindebian’s mini-computer conception and the release of Mindebian OS illustrates how fast cloud computing evolved in the past couple of years. One should expect more projects like this to emerge in the years to come, despite that utilizing idle computing power of PCs is not a new idea, and more computing communities like Mingine to come to life. A totally interconnected world affords limitless opportunities to researchers and average users to utilize the power of their computer to the maximum possible extent. Cloud computing is just one of the solutions but it also offers other advantages like social networking capabilities and rapidly growing number of open-source applications running in the Cloud. We have to see whether Mingine’s experimental project will be a huge success or another nine days’ wonder, however, their efforts should be admired for Mingine’s innovative approach sets an example of clever utilization of cloud computing capabilities and potential.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Kwaga

Web-based email services and applications are considered a classic example of cloud-based solutions offered by a large number of providers. Kwaga, however, goes a step beyond traditional cloud email services and offers a solution based of applied computational linguistics, which is able to understand email texts and take appropriate actions depending on the type and content of the message. Actually, applied linguistics is interested in artificial intelligence and a number of research laboratories around the globe have offered interesting applied solutions over time. However, few companies managed to offer a full-scale working product on the market, a product that can be easily utilized in PC users’ everyday activities and electronic communication.

France-based Kwaga was founded by Philippe Laval in 2008 and its SmarterEmails™ semantic toolkit, launched in October 2009, is available from the Google Apps Marketplace (Kwaga Context). SmarterEmails is a cloud-based solution that determines the relative importance of email messages using Kwaga’s cloud servers showing forgotten emails or messages that have to appear at a fixed date and time, for example. Kwaga claims that its proprietary semantic technology understands email text, detecting urgency, action requests, deadlines, contact details, etc. More interesting functionality is the ability of SmarterEmails to detect open-issues, meeting proposals and cancellations, and invoices. It looks like a simple software solution, however, those engaged in computational linguistics are aware that such solutions require sophisticated algorithms and advanced technology.

The company takes advantage of its semantic know-how to incorporate its product in various business platforms including Google Apps and the iPhone. Meeting cancellations are delivered Iphones through push Email technology, for example, with SmarterEmails detecting such messages in the background, working of Kwaga’s cloud servers. The company cloud-based solution is also offered as an extension for Google Chrome and via Google Apps Marketplace.

Another advantage of Kwaga’s solution is their lack of ambition to create a standalone email application but to focus on what they do best – semantic analysis. Therefore, SmarterEmails is able to work inside various email applications with Kwaga’s software running in the cloud without changing core user interface or functionality. Actually, the semantic tool extracts information that requires some sort of action from the user allowing customers to decide what to do when such information is delivered to their desktop or mobile device. The cloud semantic tool does not interfere in the normal operation of an email application until the user requires assistance.
Public versions of Kwaga are available for Gmail and Google Apps Mail while administrator of Google Apps domains can install the Kwaga contextual gadget for Google Apps for all users of their domain. All major browsers are supported while iPhone users should install the Kwaga Application for iPhone to use the service.

Technologically, the semantic tool works via Kwaga servers that access Google IMAP services to receive a copy of user emails and conduct semantic analysis of the text received. The company’s servers are AWS-based and are able to detect and store key phrases using semantic algorithms. Kwaga claims it respects the privacy of users and all emails are deleted immediately after the text is processes, storing only those key phrases that could be displayed to the user when he requests email intelligence assistance.

Kwaga says on its company website its semantic tool has processed over 5 million emails so far (without elaborating the exact time period) which is not so big number of emails to say that SmarterEmails is a widespread popular service. However, semantic tools are something one should expect to be part of many future applications and with growing cloud-computing services market computational linguistics will play increasing role in development of advanced technology solutions. Researchers, and Kwaga, are not really close to a fully operational and trustworthy semantic application that is able to read our emails and fully understand the context and nuances of meanings put in a text message. On the other hand, applied and computational linguistics provide powerful tools for developing semantic-based aiding applications that will be in high demand in an evolving virtualized world.

In early 2009, Kwaga received a small scale seed funding of EUR 600,000 and since then no additional funding rounds were reported. Although not constantly present in the news the company continuously develops its product and is adding new features like Kwaga Context, a contextual gadget for Google Apps that displays the sender’s social profile and user’s common history of threads, natively in Gmail. Kwaga BirdsEye is a new desktop widget version of their semantic email tool with more product enhancements expected in the future. At present, Kwaga is a relatively small European cloud computing start-up but a company one should keep a good eye on. The company barely has real  competitors, which is not necessarily a good news, but a tremendous growth potential for its services exists in an underdeveloped market that will increasingly rely on advanced cloud-based solutions.

By Kiril Kirilov

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Using Big Data To Make Cities Smarter

Using Big Data To Make Cities Smarter The city of the future is impeccably documented. Sensors are used to measure air quality, traffic patterns, and crowd movement. Emerging neighborhoods are quickly recognized, public safety threats are found via social networks, and emergencies are dealt with quicklier. Crowdsourcing reduces commuting times, provides people with better transportation…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Comparing Cloud Hosting Services

Comparing Cloud Hosting Services

Cloud Hosting Services Cloud hosting service providers are abundant and varied, with typical structures affording the reliability of virtual partitions, drawing resources externally; secure data centers; scalability and flexibility not limited by physical constraints; pay-per-use costing; and responsive load balancing for changing demands. While high end (and high price) services offer an extensive range of…

How Big Data Is Influencing Web Design

How Big Data Is Influencing Web Design

How Big Data Is Influencing Web Design For all you non-techies… You’re probably wondering what big data is (I know I was….a few years back) so let’s get the definitions out of the way so we’re on the same page, okay? Big data is A LOT of data – really, it is. It is a…

Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

Off Premise Corporate Data Storage Cloud storage is a broad term. It can encompass anything from on premise solutions, to file storage, disaster recovery and off premise options. To narrow the scope, I’ve dedicated the focus of today’s discussion to the more popular cloud storage services—such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive—which are also known as hosted,…

Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

Cloud Computing Checklist For Startups

Checklist For Startups  There are many people who aspire to do great things in this world and see new technologies such as Cloud computing and Internet of Things as a tremendous offering to help bridge and showcase their ideas. The Time Is Now This is a perfect time for highly ambitious startups to make some…

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing Innovation Sao Paulo, Brazil has had trouble with both energy and water supplies as of late. Despite it is the rainy period. Unfortunately Sao Paulo is very dependent on its rain as a majority of its power is generated from large dams. No water, no energy. Difficult situation for a city of some…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…