There is a “nivio” in the cloud – a new cloud-based service

January 26, 2012, By George Lang

What, you may ask, is a nivio, a sachin-dev-duggal, or a saurabh-pradeep-dhoot? Well, you are about to find out, my dear American tech reader; and in a very big way: nivio is computing’s answer to the pay-as-you-go cellphone!

The innovative company is taking all the pain and cost of computer ownership and placing it on their own servers for subscribers to use.  Today, nivio announced a fully functional Windows desktop on the Cloud.

Mr. Sachin Dev Duggal is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of a seven-year-old Cloud-based upstart called nivio.

Innovation is not the easiest thing to do in the technology world today, but nivio’s philosophy has accomplished it. According to Mr. Duggal, there are three distinct industries serving the current computer market place: software, hardware, and telecom. Each is suffering from an inability to fully profit for various reasons, claiming his nivio enterprise integrates all three into a hyper-smooth, converged offering which allows the user to forget about buying expensive hardware and software packages and simplifies the process with software-as-a-service (SaaS) utilities based in the Cloud.

The signup to create your account is simple.

The customization is also simple and self-explanatory.

The nApps Store simplifies adding monthly software package rentals and the new app is available immediately.  No need to wait for someone to install and configure the app.

According to today’s announcement:

“2012 will be unlike any other year. This is the year your desktop moves to the cloud; the year you find your freedom,” said nivio Co-Founder & Chief Wizard, Sachin Dev Duggal. “nivio is a global start-up that’s bringing the cloud down to earth. With trusted, world class cloud platform partners such as Rackspace and Wyse, we are able to offer a cloud desktop solution unlike any other to our customers around the globe.”

“Now the online desktop takes the storage, OS, software and data off the real PC and puts it on the cloud. That leaves you with the PC box which doesn’t need all the power it required to run and manage all the applications and data previously. It can easily be replaced by a low-cost, semi-dumb terminal [e.g., the new Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble Nook as reported in an earlier DeviceMAG article] which can run the Windows OS and apps on the cloud and access it through the Internet, without any processing done by the terminal. All the processing and data-crunching takes place on the cloud or the sever farms that nivio runs” (Business Standard).

Any device can be used to access the service as long as it supports html 5. Many popular Cloud-based applications will be available from nivio on a pay-as-you-go basis as well; current versions of the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe Photoshop, and Microsoft Project being three of the more notable packages.

Here is how nivio officially describes the service in their official press release dated 01-26-2012:

nivio is a global start-up providing always-on access to desktop applications, data and a familiar Windows environment from anywhere in the world, on almost any device, Mac or PC, android tablet or iPad, notebook or netbook.

nivio’s game-changing business model enables subscribers to pay only for what they need when they need it. nivio’s integrated technology platform with unique IP maximizes capacity, availability and flexibility, while minimizing latency for both storage and application access through an easy-to-use app store.

We managed to get some pre-release time with the desktop and were surprised by the responsiveness of the system.  The only device we could find that was not able to run the nDesktop was a BlackBerry.  We were told by nivio there will be BlackBerry support in the future.

Sure, there are plenty of other free and public, Cloud-based services out there. Some have more free and synch-enabled Cloud storage than nivio nDrive (10 GB), some have more games to play, and some are less expensive; but none provide it on a holistic and pay-as-you-go basis the way nivio does.  On top of that, there are no Windows compatibility issues because a real windows desktop is running on the cloud servers in your own separate space.

The nDrive is your cloud storage.  Synchronizing folders on your computer is quick and simple.  If you have a large amount of data, the initial synchronization will take some time. The folder icon will show a green check in a corner when the folder is synchronized. Newly-created folders show up in seconds.

Not many real challenges face Duggal and Dhoot.  The Internet Infrastructure in the United States is not yet up to the task in many locations, but this shouldn’t matter much to the nivio Windows Desktop, as all the power is running on nivio’s servers and their html 5 thin client can work on just about any speed Internet connection.

The Cloud has come a long way in the last few years and reliability is very good.  You have to remember that the Cloud is not just a server on the internet where you store your information; it is many servers that share the responsibility of keeping your data safe and available at all times.

Security and data protection is robust.  Anti-virus protection using McAfee as the main cloud-wide virus protection allows nivio to easily manage and make sure each isolated nDesktop and nDrive remain virus-free.  All files and file modifications are checked upon upload, download and during access.  Other anti-virus programs are also used to make sure viruses not detected by other programs get discovered.

Inactivity timeouts are enforced so the nDesktop gets locked after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity.  The session gets disconnected after 30 to 40 minutes of inactivity and the only way you can access your nDesktop session is by logging back in.

After three hours, the nDesktop session is terminated.  You will be able to buy an option to allow unlimited connections, but I would not recommend it as a local security issue of someone being able to access your desktop when you are away from your desk.

That said, nivio’s launch in the United States will be initially quite different from the services currently offered in Europe and in India. American users can register at the nivio website and access nDesktop (i.e., the Windows 7 cloud-based operating system) to their own computer, iPhone, or Android device and pay an introductory offer of $5 per month for 10 hours of use. The same offer is reduced to $2 for students. The cost for *unlimited access in the United States will be $15. The convenience of paying only what you need, whenever you need it, is as enticing as the pay-as-go phone is now for many Americans.

Duggal cofounded the entrepreneurial Indian company back in 2004 with Mr. Saurabh Pradeep Dhoot, and together they have made it their commendable mission to help educate as many of their fellow, less fortunate Indian school children as possible. Their answer to that quest has led them to a globally innovative, for-profit business model which puts the software side of your personal computer (PC) in the Cloud instead on your desktop. Additionally, nivio will be offering a small business version of their service starting later this year.

Potentially the biggest thing to hit the West Coast since Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Duggal and Dhoot may sound funny to the American ear but, mark my words; they may be on their way to becoming household names in an industry that is just getting its fiber wet. And when that fiber fully arrives, nivio may be riding the light atop every capitalist-corp in the Cloud.

* Unlimited service includes unlimited monthly use of the Windows 7 desktop (nDesktop), McAfee antivirus, 10 GB of Cloud storage.

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