Focus on Belgium: Aventiv set to launch NomaDesk hosted storage

With the cost of storage falling, demand for online storage services has been rising at a steady rate.

The success of a host of companies in this sector, led by US-based services such as iDrive and Apple's iDisk, which forms part of the company's .Mac suite of hosted consumer services, has underlined the demand from both consumers and businesses for reliable, cost-effective and easy to use online storage and document sharing resources.

As IT PRO discovered during our Focus on Belgium series, Europe is set to add another service to the mix, in the form of NomaDesk from Belgian start-up Aventiv.

A spin-off from Belgian technology agency the Institute for BroadBand Technology IBBT, Aventiv is currently trialling NomaDesk ahead of a full launch in 2008. NomaDesk is designed for small workgroups of two to 20 users, looking to share and collaborate on files and folders, with all the content accessible online via a secure storage area.

The IBBT is a research institute founded by the Flemish Government, focusing on information and communication technology (ICT) in general, and applications of broadband technology in particular.

One of the key differentiators for Aventiv and NomaDesk is the focus on keeping control of the service in-house.

"We have not outsourced bandwidth or traffic management to a third party provider or content delivery network," said Filip Tack, chief executive of Aventiv who founded the company in 2004. "We are managing the service in house with our own people and our own technology."

NomaDesk is designed to integrate with the existing Windows Exporer file manager within Windows, making access to online stored content transparent to the end user, though this does for the moment exclude native use of the service on other platforms such as Mac OS and Linux.

For the moment, people can trial the service for free, but it will switch to a subscription model once the service emerges from beta next year.