January 28, 2006



Posted: 06.01.05

Dr. Do More

One doctor plus three work locations equals a prime candidate for P2P syncing.
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By Michelle Maisto

Dr. Julian Davies is a busy guy with a lot of data, a lot of documents and a lot of information to keep track of. “I’m a pediatrician that focuses on internationally adopted kids—that’s sort of my specialty,” Davies explains. “I work at the University of Washington at Seattle in a pediatric clinic three days a week. And two days a week I’m at home doing pre-adoption consultation, such as reviewing information about kids before they are adopted, talking to parents on the phone, helping them out and things like that. And then one day a week I’m at a different clinic location. So I’ve got the two work locations and a home location and I rely on computers heavily for my work.”

Davies also accumulates a lot of research—which is really only useful if it’s easy to access and sort. “I’m sort of a big computer dork when it comes to pediatric stuff,” he says, mingling sheepishness and pride. “I have an enormous reference library of articles, patient hand-outs and just anything I read online and use special programs to capture and save to my hard drive. I also have a lot of computer-nerd utilities that are hard to keep in sync and keep preferences and keep databases synced from computer to computer. And it’s not really practical for me to carry a laptop from place to place.”

Davies was a perfect candidate for a computer-to-computer file-syncing solution, and he knew it, and he’d been trying to find a good fit for some time. USB drives weren’t cutting it, he tried Unix-ported solutions, and Groove Networks’ desktop sync product was good for work-group collaboration but wasn’t quite what he needed. Then Davies found BeInSync.

“I basically did a big search on what was available for synchronization products out there. Back in September when BeInSync was rolling out and getting some publicity, I tried it out and liked it,” says Davies. “When I came to BeInSync, I’d been desperate for a way to keep all of my reference libraries organized. But more importantly, I used a desktop search program called DTU Search to basically search my little personal reference library, and it was a pain to have to re-index information on multiple computers, as well as all of these utilities that I want to keep synchronized.” With BeInSync, that all happens automatically.

At its launch, BeInSync offered users the ability to seamlessly and securely work on data located on different PCs; no matter which of their PCs they worked on, the latest version of the file was there. It was also distinct in that it required no server, no hardware and no Internet connection. Because the solution operates on a P2P network, users don’t need to download their latest version; information is automatically synced at intervals when the PCs are online. As VP of marketing Adi Ruppin says, “The data is following you, instead of you chasing your data.”

BeInSync also offers data sharing, which lets users and selected peers share files and always have the latest version. Version 1.0 let users sync between three devices and launched at an astonishing introductory rate of $5.95 per user per month. It was a great success. Hundreds of thousands of people from more than 150 countries have downloaded the software since it was introduced, says Tal Barnoach, BeInSync CEO.

On April 11 of this year, BeInSync unveiled Version 1.5 (at an introductory rate of $59.95 per year), which Ruppin calls “the next-generation of remote access.” With 1.5, users can now share from any folder, instead of having to drag a file to the “share” folder. It’s also completely Wizard-driven, to help make it even easier to use, and it’s integrated with Explorer, so users can work directly from the right-click menu, in lieu of the BeInSync interface. Version 1.5 requires zero configuration, and the company claims it’s 250 percent faster than the previous version.

“I think my favorite thing about BeInSync is it actually worked pretty much flawlessly, as advertised, in terms of keeping all of those things synchronized—synchronized without me having to waste more time tweaking than I’m saving using the product,” says Davies.

Is he working more efficiently now? “Absolutely,” he insists. “When I started working [at the clinic] I was dragging an 8-pound laptop to all of my different work sites, and I don’t have to do that anymore. My home and my work computers are synced—I don’t even think about it anymore. I do a lot of presentations, teaching med students and residents, and it’s great. I’ll be working on it at home, and I don’t need to stick it on a thumb drive or burn CDs. I just go to work and it’s there.”

It’s also given him peace of mind, as far as back-up goes, says Davies, proving that even doctors don’t always do what’s best for them. “I’ve not been a religious back-up guy. So knowing that just about everything that’s important to me is synced up, is good.”

Davies finds the Outlook synchronization functionality a little low in features, and so that’s one aspect of BeInSync he doesn’t take advantage of. He would hate for that to cast a negative light on the product, however, and he pauses before insisting, with a little comic inflection in his voice: “I’ve played with a number of file synchronization solutions out there, and it’s absolutely my favorite. It gets my top recommendation!”

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