I am Iqbal Gandham, one of the founding team at Nivio. It's been a long journey and it’s nice to get some real feedback from users at last. Bryan's article has given you the highlights, so I thought I should answer a few of your questions.
@Gabriele: Developing countries are included in our model; I'm actually in India, typing this via Nivio, as we speak. Our research shows that the initial outlay combined with the problems of actually maintaining a working, patched, secure computer in remote areas presents a barrier for computer uptake. Nivio offers solutions to these issues.
The problem with bandwidth, we're going to have to hope the ISP's can fix....and they are, bandwidth availability is improving all the time.
As for carbon footprint and the environment, we haven't as yet done a calculation but if someone knows how to do an accurate one, do let us know.
We are seeing a shift in the developed world to a nomadic culture (webworkerdaily covers this well). In addition more and more people are opting for working at home, hence as you mentioned the business world could / would really benefit from Nivio, especially in terms of securing data, and providing the employees the freedom to operate from wherever they are.
@: times they are repeating: Great thing about fashion, it always comes back :-) ...well we hope. The idea behind Nivio does in some way model the thin client fat server model, we would however like to think that we have added enough bells and whistles ( Applications on demand is live, desktop synchronization is coming soon.), to move it away from a vanilla thin client, which is a little...out of fashion.
As you say, Nivio does give people the chance to "run" new apps on old hardware. Perhaps we really should push the green angle, cutting emissions and recycling...
@ Michael Davis: Obviously we don't condone anyone doing anything illegal on the system. IANAL but the exact legal position would depend on what you were doing and where you accessed the system from.
@Still need PC's for the browser : We recognized this is an issue, for example, when we looked at the Indian market we realized that around 80% of our potential market do not have a PC, hence we had to come up with a solution, unfortunately I can't say what it is yet. Watch this space.
@ Gary: Gaming is an interesting one since we can deliver all the power you could want off our grid, BUT, and yes there is a but, and it is a big one, the rate at which gaming requires screen refreshes poses a challenge. A challenge which we are throwing a lot of PhD’s at, and hopefully will come up with a creative answer to ...ideas welcome.
Nivio works great for patching, for the retail/commercial world that is a huge plus. There is also another angle just think of trying the latest OS and latest software without buying.
@Kevin O'Rourke: Without giving too much detail away, cost wise this is a valid solution for developing countries as long as the bandwidth is there, in the old days we needed roads for business, today we need bandwidth. The structure we have designed, our systems are not centralized, means that accessing from any country should not be a problem.
@Kevin Hall: I hear Citrix :-), well we always knew we would get compared, and it’s not a bad thing. The big difference is that with Citrix your IT manager needs to setup equipment. Citrix doesn't really give the user freedom, just the IT manager. Nivio gives you the freedom, all you need is a web browser. I guess each solution has its own space; our space is just bigger :-)
@Brian: "Service looks quite sweet” - thanks. The speed to us is crucial, without it Nivio does not work, we aim to maintain this speed...and hence Nivio’s benefits at all costs.
You guess correctly with some of the target market, the business world needs a few more value adds, which we are working on, and there are existing solutions which have tried to attack the business world. We felt a solution for the "normal" user was needed, and looking at the way things were moving, email online, project management online, CRM online, we just decided we may as well put all of windows online....I guess we could have called it Windows Live ;-)
Internet cafes are a target as a channel to market, but it is upto the user, they can use it where ever there is a browser.
Regarding applications on demand, we have just improved our control panel, you can select apps from there, we are adding to the list as fast as we can...but we need some help, we need to know which apps you would like, just tell us on our forum http://forum.nivio.com/
Video playback, yes a problem and one which is being addressed by those wearing white coats, its all down to buffering.
@Chris: Privacy, A little early to comment, but there is a reason why we are in Switzerland, of course we need to comply with the law but.....
Protecting data and ensuring access to data is vital. Next week a release of a little tool called Nivio Sync ( Took a long time to think of the name) will be released, this will allow you to upload/download and guess what ?, Sync all your files. Nivio is not about locking up your data, quite the reverse; instead it’s a way of giving you more freedom.
@Alan Edwards: Currently the only apps that you can install are listed within the Nivio Control Panel. If you select an application which is not on your desktop, but which is listed, it will be loaded onto your desktop immediately. Of course the list is limited initially, but as I said earlier if you require an app which is not listed, just pop along to our forum http:// forum.nivio.com and let us know what you require, we will try our best to get it online for you.
We recognize the privacy and security concerns that people using Nivio may have. As a business our success will lie in being open and upfront with our users to build trust. If we had sniffers or loggers, someone somewhere would eventually discover this, and Nivio would close overnight, this is a risk we will not take. Unfortunately these words will not give everyone comfort, hence we are looking into having Nivio verified by a third party.
Regarding safeguarding access to your data. There is always the possibility that a company could fail, however your files will not be lost, all data can be copied off Nivio using a our new Nivio Sync tool , slated to be released early next week, hence you can keep a copy of all your files locally if required.
Pen drives, will provide the right sort of access to files and applications for some people. They too however have their limitations, not least of which are the potential for loss or theft and the risk of virus infection when used on public access PCs.
As for the Apple software, this comes along with software such as iTunes, and allows Apple software to be updated.
Thanks to one and all for posting comments, if you wish to chat to me and the rest of the team just pop along to the Nivio forums highlighted above.