An interesting twist on personal storage is set to launch this spring and be demoed at CES next week. LyveHome is a $299 box that syncs media across all of a person’s devices, making sure that every photo and video is stored in at least two places, and making educated guesses about which of those devices will be the most likely destination where a user wants to access it.
LyveHome is the latest project of Tim Bucher, a serial hardware entrepreneur who has also done time at Dell, Apple and Microsoft. (Bucher previously debuted his mobile entertainment service Zing at one of our team’s D conferences, and it was later bought by Dell.)
Lyve Minds (previously known in stealth as Black Pearl Systems) has been closely watched for some time. The company already has 90 employees and is backed by Seagate, among others.
The LyveHome device is a box — about the size of a small speaker — that stores multiple terabytes of media, and has a touchscreen display that has a screensaver, sort of like a digital photo frame.
Unlike with competition such as the Apple Time Capsule, LyveHome owners can glance at the device to quickly monitor the health of their various backups, including computers, mobile devices, other external drives and online storage services like Dropbox.
In an interview, Bucher explained that he thinks LyveHome tops other personal media management options because 1) It is proactive — once the iOS, Android, Windows and Mac apps are installed, they automatically suck in any new photo or video they detect. 2) It’s cheaper, because there are no ongoing storage costs. And 3) People have the freedom to choose any and all devices they want to use with the system.
“We are a life memory company,” Bucher said. “I don’t have to do any syncing and blinking and dinking; it’s just connected.”
Lyve doesn’t actually store media on its servers — it’s all in the box in your home — but it does keep an online index of all of a user’s files. It tries to proactively evaluate the merits of sending media to various devices — for instance, videos might be stored on a tablet for easy access, and frequently viewed media might be kept on the user’s phone where it is ready and waiting and doesn’t have to be downloaded.
That means people will have to buy into the wisdom of the LyveHome system to fill up their available storage, though they’ll be able to make some manual adjustments.
Also, LyveHome doesn’t currently support multiple accounts, but that will come with a software update, Bucher said.