At the dawn of the broadband era, peer-to-peer technology became closely associated with music file sharing, thanks to programs like Napster and Kazaa. Later, the emergence of protocols such as BitTorrent linked P2P to movie and television downloads. P2P became a red flag for MPAA, RIAA and other content-rights owner groups worldwide.
Over the years, P2P has found many legitimate uses and has found a way into everyday life. Why… even Akamai, which had scoffed at P2P, decided to acquire Red Swoosh.
“P2P has a bad reputation, but what we are showing is that it is not a file sharing technology, instead it is a legitimate technology,” Mikkel Dissing, CEO of RawFlow said in a conversation we had a little while ago.
RawFlow is a 6-year-old company that has developed a peer-to-peer streaming software platform for sharing live video streams. It is currently developing a personal broadcasting technology called Selfcast, also based on P2P technologies.
Nevertheless, the Akamai-Red Swoosh deal, announced last week, prompted me to think about how pervasive P2P really has become in our lives.
* P2P telephony: Skypeand its $4.2 billion price tag – that says it all.
* P2P TV: Joost and Babelgum are just a start. More like Zattoo are joining the party.
* Personal P2P: P2P sharing of photos, videos and other files with family and friends is becoming increasingly common place. The list of start-ups chasing this nascent market is growing by the month. Tubes is the latest to join the party.
* P2P Video Delivery is growing in popularity, especially in places where 10 megabit/s broadband connections are commonplace.
* P2P data syncing between computers.
* Distributed computing is another area where we have seen P2P technology shine. SETI@Home is a good example.
Are there any other examples that are missing from this list? Let us know.
17 thoughts on “P2P, now for Pretty Much Everything”
One of the more useful applications of P2P is software patch dissemination, especially in the online game arena where a patch can range up to 250 megs.
Hi Om, I have been following your comments on P2P for quite some time now – and am glad to see the number of serious companies leveraging the benefits of this architecture to solve real problems.
I would like to add Meeting Coordination/Calendar Sharing to your above list. Check out Tungle (www.tungle.com). We found that using a P2P architecture reduces our overall infrastructure cost, but more importantly assures privacy of information for our users.
P2P is a powerful and usefull tool whose activity will have a dramatic impact on both Wired and Wireless Broadband Metro networks.
Of special concern to us in this Metro Area Wireless Mesh market is the impact this type activity will have on the first generation (single and dual radio) Mesh Networks deployed today and unfortunately still being planned in many Muni markets.
Recent reports on faltering Mesh Networks will become common as P2P acitivity continues to grow in these Portable/Mobile markets.
A properly designed Wireless Mesh Networks with the right equipment can handle the P2P activity today and near term.
I thought eBay bought Skype for 2.4 billion?
I’d like to see some better video conferencing solutions. Mac to Mac is great with iChat but unfortunately, most people don’t have Macs. Skype is good but there has to be something out there that is better.
SIP P2P company called Damaka (www.damaka.com)
Has anyone heard of this 5 year of SIP P2P company called Damaka. I have heard that they are similar to Skype and they offer P2P Encrypted Application Sharing, Desktop Sharing, Whiteboarding, Video Mail, Voice Mail, Voice Call, Voice and Video Conference and PC to Phone, Dial-In, and Dial Out services and all this is done end to end encrytped.
I heard they are getting into Pocket PC too.
Has anyone heard of these guys and if so, what is your opinion on the company??
Unyte just launched a beta version of their desktop sharing tool that works in P2P mode:
i am in this industry for a long time, I think TVKoo is much better than Zattoo or alike, since Chinese copyright environment help P2P live TV increasing and developed so easily. The TVKoo technology seems to be amazing, one server of 100M bandwidth could support global users of more than 300 000 users simultaneously. The super low cost leaded by P2P technology might show us the personal TV worldwide in the recent future.
So the point here of P2P is not what most people think of as traditional P2P. Napster, Gnutella, etc – even Bittorrent to some extent uses something called unstructured P2P. Its essentially not standard and has significant scaling flaws, and fault tolerance. The way to go is really using something called DHT – distributed Hash tables (the secret sauce behind new P2P). Bittorrent does not use it and will hence die unless it modifies its protocol. DHTs, are scalable, fault tolerant, and secure. (read up -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_hash_table)
DHT based companies will thrive. Example of its impact is evident through the fact that microsoft has used (created) something called Pastry. Its Splitstream product is very interesting. I am also sure its making a new one.
In any case, P2P (DHT based) is about scaling in a world where the last mile is a small straw and we’re trying to get a watermellon through. Until this straw becomes a big pipe, P2P is needed for distributing content (any content) but…it has to be done right. DHTs…the way to go.
Anyone know of companies using DHTs? (Chord, Pastry, Bamboo, Tapestry, etc)?
Acceptance of P2P as a standard part of the OS, media player, or browser has been a long time coming. Opera already has bit-torrent, but when do we think Microsoft will put P2P downloads into WMP. It can’t be long coming. I would have thought MS, Real Networks, and even WinAMP (AOL?) will likely need to put P2P into their players pretty soon. And what about leggit downloads from Napster, which does not appear to use p2p anymore.
On the downside, until we start getting better upstream bandwidth from ISPs in the UK I can’t see how I could keep running P2P on any of my machines all the time. What is more, P2P is NOT a green technology – it requires me to keep my PC on all the time. Good for other people’s download speeds, not so good for the planet.
I could not agree with you more. P2P has has become pervasive in our lives. I’d like to add “damaka” (http://www.damaka.com) to the above list. damaka is world’s most innovative SIP-based, Peer-to-Peer Communication and collaboration software.
damaka is the most feature-rich P2P SIP application – with Voice (P2P, PC-to-Phone, Phone-to-PC, Phone-to-Phone), Video (P2P, 4-Party Conferencing, VideoMail, VideoProfile), IM (IM chat, conference and Connectivity to other IM networks from within damaka), Desktop Sharing, Search & Whiteboard.
Check out damaka: http://www.damaka.com
I’m an early Skype adopter, a late follower for BitTorrent and we work with the guys at RF. However although P2P is a neat consumer application it hasn’t built value (like search for example). P2P apps have crushed the music industry and crippled the PSTN telcos. The wealth lost by the record companies and old-line telcos is vastly larger than what Ebay and Akamai end up paying for Skype and RedSwoosh respectively.
You can also add:
P2P Metrics: Divinity Assets.
It’s been a great ride for P2P over the last year. Our platform for example, Pando (www.pando.com), went from 50K to 5M installs. The next, inevitable step for P2P to reach mainstream ubiquity is consolidation and standardization. Distribution control, reporting and monetization need to mature as well. We’re starting to see these emerging trends, as indeed, P2P is everywhere! Exciting times to be a P2P platform.
Another p2p app talked about in the mozilla circles is Civil Netizen. http://www.civilnetizen.com
What features will make p2p content delivery, especially streaming media such as video, main stream?
Some thoughts that I have pondered over. In my oppinion for a p2p system to become widely accepted and used it has to show some specific characteristics. Below are some end-user centric thoughts.
-End-users have to get used to and comfortable with the idea of sharing bandwidth.
-They have be certain that the p2p software do not compromise their security nor integrity. Doing like some solutions which installs a software and automatically configures it to run 24/7 on the client computer sharing media is simply not the way to get trust. I belive that by default users should not have to share more that the material they download and at the instance when they download it.
-Simple installation! This is a key feature, if the installation process is complicated people will not use it. It’s as simple as that. 3-4 clicks should be the maximum.
-OS agnostic. The p2p system should work on all major platforms and on all major media players. Wether the end-user uses Linux, Mac or Windows it should work seamless. Or uses a media player such as; windows media player, quicktime, flash and real player.
-Browser agnostic. The plugins for the p2p system should work for all major browsers; IE, firefox, safari, opera, it should make any difference.
-It should be based on open standards, no walled gardens making it impossible for users (not end-users) to change system.
What do you guys think?
@eric, sooner or later even china will start to follow international practices. However, I do agree with you that p2p is a great way of saving broadband costs. Another feature that is often disregarded is the scalability feature and spike tolerance with p2p solutions.
@aeomer, I agree with you that for many users the upload / download ratio is an issue. There have been several difference solutions to this problem. Skype make use of users with very high upload bandwidth as “super nodes”. Others want the end-user to share bandwidth 24/7. But the thing is that with just a few users you will get a lower cost that with a traditional content delivery service (server to client).