NICTA P2P spin-off targets games, collaboration apps

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NICTA P2P spin-off targets games, collaboration apps

Spin-off gains $2m venture funding.

NICTA spin-off Scalify has set its sights on games, virtual worlds and enterprise collaboration software with network middleware that promises better performance and lower costs.

The company, officially launched this week, has worked on $98,000 in funding from Commercialisation Australia since November and this week won $2 million in venture capital from Starfish Ventures.

Its flagship, peer-to-peer Badumna middleware has been in development for four years and uses the same User Datagram Protocol (UDP) used in popular peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent for low-latency data transmissions over the internet.

Scalify chief executive officer Steve Telburn said peer-to-peer networking was inherently more scalable than a traditional client-server approach, since each user automatically contributed capacity to the network.

He said the technology could reduce web hosts’ server and bandwidth costs by up to three quarters.

“All other networking middleware is based on a pure client-server model,” he said, pointing to multi-user applications as those likely to see the greatest benefit.

Telburn said Badumna could improve latency and responsiveness of networks by transmitting information directly between one user and another in a single "hop", instead of passing through a third system under a client-server model.

“There are applications in any scenario where content or information is exchanged in real-time amongst groups of users so collaboration applications, healthcare, education, location-based services are all potential markets,” Telburn said.

“Some of our customers are already coming up with ideas we never considered,” he adds.

Badumna's scalability could also allow for “un-sharded” massively multiplayer online games, where all players join a single instance of the game instead of being split into several smaller virtual worlds due to the limitations of client-server architecture.

The setup requires fewer physical and virtual servers, driving down complexity and cost.

Telburn said the company was “working with some large and well-known publishers” but declined to name them due to confidentiality agreements.

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