Q&A with Polkast founder Hong Bui about making the Cloud consumer-friendly and easy to use
Recently-launched Polkast, founded by serial entrepreneur Hong Bui, allows consumers to easily create a personal cloud to connect and transfer files between all of their devices, regardless of platform. The Capo Beach, CA–based company was founded in December of last year.
SUB: Please briefly describe what Polkast is and the value proposition you offer.
Bui: Everyone is talking about cloud services. Instead of sending your content up to the cloud, Polkast brings the cloud to you. Polkast creates your own “direct cloud” dynamically, letting your mobile devices directly access your home base (PCs). Polkast automatically detects your proximity to the PC and choose the fastest route: Wi-Fi or over the Internet. Polkast then opens a secure connection and encrypts all transmissions. So you can securely access all of your content directly.
By maximizing Wi-Fi bandwidth, Polkast allows users to retrieve any of their data files up to 10x faster than the traditional cloud. This “Direct Cloud” approach also means privacy and security are 100 percent under your control. And removing cloud storage limitations means access to 100 percent of your files. Using Polkast is as easy as downloading the free app and logging in.
For users—Polkast lets them skip the old routine of uploading, syncing and waiting for their data, as well as the storage limitations and costs that come with the traditional cloud solution. Polkast offers a ‘premier’ solution—access to 100 percent of user files, 100 percent control over the data, delivered faster than any competitor, and at no cost.
For resellers, the Polkast story is about giving consumers the ability to get the most out of their tablets—driving customer satisfaction and additional purchases. Modern tablet computers are meant to act in concert with a user’s primary computer, vs. in the past when most computers were purchased as a replacement for an old one. As consumers add these new mobile devices to their lives, data access and synchronization with their primary computers can be a real point of consumer frustration. Polkast makes it easy for users to share and transfer files to and from any tablet—meaning resellers can promise maximum consumer benefit with the lowest amount of consumer effort—a winning combination. Tablet plus Polkast equals a greater value and a greater consumer experience.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Bui: People are tired of messing around with the cable and negotiating with 2GB storage limits and the slow bandwidth.
Polkast is up to 10x faster, more secure, and no storage or size limits (than) even wire and cable vendors because you no longer need them to transfer contents to and from your iPad, iPhone, Android phone and Android tablet. With Polkast’s Direct Cloud framework everything can be transferred over the air.
SUB: What differentiates Polkast from your competitors (or from those offering similar services)?
Bui: We are customer-centric company; therefore, most of our time is focusing on customers and what can we do to make their digital living more productive and fun.
The typical cloud solution, (i.e. dropbox, box.net, even iCloud…) forces a typical user to siphon an ocean of digital content through the straw of the Internet. Furthermore, 2-5GB of cloud storage means accessing data is a challenge when the average person has several hundred Gigabytes of data on his PCs. So there is a huge disconnect between the current cloud offering and how much data people actually have.
Polkast was built from the ground-up to remove the cloud data storage limitation and allow users to have access to all the files across their PCs-at home or at work. Depending on your individual requirement, Polkast could be an alternative or complementary to those solutions.
SUB: How are you getting the word out about Polkast?
Bui: Right now mostly through grass roots word-of-mouth, and some bloggers have written about us. Even with the effort just beginning, Polkast was a top download in the productivity category.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind Polkast?
Bui: We have to admit that a tiny part of our inspiration for Polkast came from not wanting to get off the couch.
Ever since the tablet revolution hit we’ve been loving our new iPads and tablets. All this new technology is making our lives better and easier. With one exception.
These days, if you have a computer, a laptop, a tablet and a smart phone, moving files from one device to the nextall the time is a daunting and frustrating task. The solutions for getting your computer files onto your mobile devices are still way too complicated, costly and incomplete. Frankly, it was giving us a headache.
Our mission—we believe you shouldn’t have to think, it should all just be there. Not certain files, but all of your files. And nowaiting. No way. Just instant access to everything on your computer.
SUB: When was the company founded, and what were the first steps you took to establishing it?
Bui: Finding and building the core team and working on the prototype as a proof-of-concepts.
SUB: Are you looking for outside funding?
Bui: We are not pursuing funding at the moment. If we were, it would be all about get-big-faster.
SUB: Do you plan to raise funding in the near future?
Bui: We will raise money as needed to fuel growth.
SUB: What have the biggest obstacles been so far to building Polkast?
Bui: To innovate you have to break a few rules. Our biggest obstacle was building a solution that avoided the pitfalls of the current cloud products—namely slow speeds, limited file availability, and expense. We found that a system in which the devices directly communicate with one another eliminated all three of these problems in one solution. Direct connection speeds between devices far exceed Internet download times and rival wires for overall convenience. And once devices are connected via WiFi, there is no limit to how much data they can transfer between each other. Eliminating costs-another obstacle, became easy when we no longer used the cloud and the data fees associated with that type of solution were removed.
SUB: What are your goals for Polkast over the next year?
Bui: Simple. That everyone with a tablet will use Polkast in some way.
Polkast – www.polkast.com