Cloud service younity integrates with GoPro

Steven Loeb · July 22, 2014 · Short URL:

Younity will organize GoPro videos, and allow users to instantly playback their videos on mobile

I've never had the opportunity to use a GoPro camera, but I have heard that they are quite amazing. That they are the kind of camera that makes people feel like they need to get out there and do something adventerous!

There does seem to be a couple of downsides to them, though: first, the camera makes files that are so big that they cannot be stored on a mobile device so they cannot be rewatched right away. And, second, that the files are not organized or named; they just kind of get dumped onto a computer to be sorted through later.

Now, though, GoPro has solved both of those problems by teaming up with personal cloud service younity, it was announced on Tuesday morning. 

By integrating with younity, GoPro users will be able to instantly stream or share the content on-demand, as well as have their videos catalogued, along with a thumbnail, in order to more easily find their content.

The partnership between the two companies came about because of the rise of video files being stored on younity's platform, Rhett McNulty, ‎Head of User Acquisition at Entangled Media, younity's home company, told me in an interview.

"We don’t see the files that people are consuming because there are no servers, but we can see the different file and media types," he said. "A year ago 60% space would be video, and now that got to almost 70%."

In fact the company has seen a 25% increase in the amount of video content people have in just the last 6 months. At this point, the average hard drive is 64% video content.

At the same time, the company also noticed that many of those videos were being uploaded from GoPro so, around six months ago, younity reached out to the camera manufactuerer and found out that the company was on the same wavelength in terms of what users wanted.

"We said, 'Heres what we’re seeing,' and we found out that was something that aligns with their pain points, including allowing users to better discover their videos, have better access and consume them," said McNulty. "They liked what we are doing."

Right now, younity categorizes files by type, such as movies, TV show and will now include a separate file just for GoPro videos. In the future, the company plans to add the ability to search by metadata so that, for example, someone could easily type in "Hawaii 2013" and have their GoPro files instantly pop up.

For younity, being able to store GoPro videos, and have them instantly replayable for users, is another sign of what differentiates it from other cloud providers, like Dropbox and Box.

Younity allows users to connect their devices so the content that resides on all the devices can be accessed from any of the devices. So if you have movies on your computer, and videos on your iPhone, you can access both from your iPad without having to transfer those movies onto the iPad. The videos and music collections are streamed. 

Unlike other cloud storage providers, though, younity does not actually store the data on a server; rather it embeds a piece of software low in stack in a users file system so that devices think there’s only one operating system, and will think that a phone or tablet is part of the computer.

What that ultimately means is that users can access their files without having to buffer or stream them.

"Our overall goal is to unify all devices and give access to all your files. The GoPro release allows people to conumse their files more easily because there are massive issues around giving access," McNulty said.  "Our  set up allows us to provide video at a much faster rate."

While other cloud providers might be able to handle, and deliver videos, none can do it as fast as younity, he told me, and that is why this is just the beginning for the company.

"This goes beyond just GoPro. It's an easier way to access all videos in more streamlined way."

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younity creates a personal cloud for all your files, built from your devices and your online services, so that all your devices work as if they were a single device. With younity, you can grab whichever device is most convenient without ever thinking about where a file is.

younity is a ubiquitous data protocol that integrates into device OSes, making them inherently multi-device aware. With younity, users can use any device they own and have access to any file as if it was stored locally on that device, regardless of available storage. With younity, devices simply become screens. Customer Problem:  Consumers today are overwhelmingly multi-device users, yet OSes are still designed around single device usage. Consumers have lots of data stuck on their devices. They are unable to put it all in the cloud and/or it costs too much; existing solutions are also management intensive, requiring constant user interaction.

Solution / Product:  younity makes all a consumer’s devices work as if they were a single device. By extracting the file system from an OS and putting it into the cloud, younity establishes a singular file system from multiple devices that is pushed back into the native OS. Thus, the OS does not know where files are stored – on the local hard drive, on another device or some online service or all of those places. This eliminates a file’s stored address from a device to an identity. Any device registered to a user has all that person’s files and all devices look the exact same. The only difference between devices is whether there is enough storage to store local or virtual copies.

 Competitors:  younity is most similar to iCloud. However, unlike iCloud, younity is OS agnostic, application agnostic, file-type agnostic, vastly easier to use and cheap or free for any amount of data. 

Target Market:  Consumers with 3 or more Internet-enabled devices (over 220M people in the US alone). Research shows: the average household will have 2.2TB of data by 2013; consumers will have an average of 5.8 devices/person by 2015; and 51% of households have both MS and Apple products (as of late 2011). Data synchronization products that accommodate partial data start at about $450/year for 250GB of online storage, with utility online storage costing vastly more. There are currently no cross-platform solutions for users that can accommodate all their data, let alone deliver it into their native device functionality.

Questions and Answers

Q. You've been around since 2010, What's the traction been like?

A. The idea for younity was born in 2010, but the company was angel funded and started hiring in summer of 2011. Our product is not a strong fit for "lean methodology"- it is enormously complicated and simply requires a lot of hands working the keyboard to make it work (typical for heavy duty, client-server software). 

The additional challenge was making it simple for consumers. After hiring our team late in 2011, we were able to take our prototype and get a private beta done by July, then launch into public beta in December 2012. Traction has been good since launching in December 2012, we've been adding thousands of users/month and engagement is high.

Q. How are you marketing this? Is there a viral component?

A. Our product is inherently personal (it's a "personal cloud"), which makes the viral coefficient low. However, we've been developing a unique way for people to share any file that is stored on any device making them sharable directly to another person via a private Facebook post. This will be launched the week of Vator Splash.

Q. What's the distribution model? What's the business model? How much will you be charging for this service?

A. younity has a direct to consumer strategy and will be offered as a freemium service that is free for up to 3 devices. For 4 or more, there is a flat annual fee that we anticipate will be around $24/year (although we have not finalized this yet). Other than the limit on devices, the free version of younity is not limited in any way- it is the same as the premium version.

Q. Where do you go from here? What other services could you offer?

A. Currently we are working with a variety of app vendors to enable offline data in their apps via our API. As a ubiquitous data protocol, younity is really about unifying data around a user's identity. This has a variety of applications, with younity being the first. 

Q. Is this a consumer-only product? Are you making something for the enterprise?

A. For now, we are focused on leading in the consumer market. However, we are well aware of a variety of enterprise applications to enable an on-premise younity server with a policy engine attached to it. In fact, we regularly are asked if this would be available now (it isn't).


Rhett McNulty

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