NextPage taking P-to-P content sharing offline

NextPage Inc., which develops peer-to-peer content sharing software, this week released a module that allows for offline access to content stored on corporate networks.

The company's new NextPage Solo module for its Nxt3 platform allows users to download files from a Nxt3 content-sharing network and store them on their laptops or burn them onto a CD-ROM. Previously, users had to be connected to a network to gain access to any information on Nxt3.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu uses the software in its 22 offices in the United Kingdom so auditors can take current copies of policies, regulations and best practices on the road with them.

NextPage is different from other P-to-P vendors such as Groove Networks Inc., which develops software to connect groups of users.

Nxt3 users peer-to-peer technology to connect servers into a content-sharing network using a company's existing data repositories, such as file systems, document management systems, Lotus Notes, or extranet sites. Each repository becomes a peer on the network, obviating the need to aggregate data into a central repository. Users can then search for documents across an enterprise using just the Nxt3 interface.

With NextPage Solo, users can earmark documents and folders they want to replicate. The operation is similar to the theory behind Lotus Notes, which allows users to replicate data and work on it without being attached to a network.

But unlike Notes, which allows users to make changes and synchronize those changes back to a server, the current version of Solo is designed primarily for read-only access to documents.

"You need special rights to author content offline and synchronize it with the system, but the capabilities to provide those rights are there today," says Bruce Law, vice president of corporate marketing for NextPage.

Solo is targeted at in-the-field auditors in data-intensive industries such as accounting, legal and insurance underwriting, according to Law.

The Solo software installs on a desktop and works by taking a snapshot of the content earmarked for replication. Updates to the information are automatically synchronized whenever the user reconnects to the Nxt3 content network.

NextPage Solo is available now and ships with Nxt3, which is priced at US$85,000 per 250 users. Current Nxt3 users will get the software as part of their normal upgrade cycle.

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