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Creo is going to change how we send large files to each other. Tokens is a groundbreaking product, and I think it has every chance of becoming a widely used standard for file transfer.
Here’s the problem that Tokens exists to solve: if you have a file – a presentation, for example – that weighs in at 30MB, it’s beyond what email etiquette would allow as an attachment. There are a few choices. You could FTP it to a server, but that requires a little expert knowledge and a server you can use. You could always send an email anyway, but many email gateways block attachments of that size, and if the connection is anything less than broadband a 30MB email is about as welcome as a request to jump off Canary Wharf and land on a bicycle with no seat. ISDN is another tried-and-trusted method, but that too requires equipment and a level of expertise.
The solution offered by Creo is elegant, simple and cross-platform compatible. Simply drop your presentation on the Token Creator and a Token is created. The Token is a 1K file that you attach to your email. The recipient needs the free Token Redeemer, but once installed, double-clicking the Token starts the download of the files. It’s secure and encrypted, and can be downloaded whenever you like. The Token can be time-limited, so the file deletes itself after a week or a month. The transfer happens using the same protocols as the Web, so there should be no issues with firewalls. The process is pretty miraculous, so it seems reasonable to expect that it will take some complex setup. It’s even more amazing because it takes almost no setup.
Here it gets complicated to explain, but there’s really no need to understand this bit. When you create a Token, the files you’ve dropped on the application are compressed and stored at a location of your choice. Single users will hold it on their local hard drive; bigger networks may use a central server. When the Token is received by somebody outside your local network, the Redeemer contacts a Creo relay server. The relay server doesn’t hold the files – just the routing information. The server contacts your machine or server, even through a firewall, to retrieve the file. Of course, this means your machine needs to be on when the Token is redeemed, which is why it’s better to have it running on a server if you are on a network. However, it should also work even if you’re all alone at the end of a home broadband connection.
There are some limitations, but relatively few. Each copy of the Token Creator software is limited to a 5GB per month limit. This should be plenty for most users, and is really there as a theoretical limit. In theory, you could send a Token to any number of recipients, so if it was included as part of a spam broadcast it could potentially cause a problem. The 5GB limit stops that possibility, and Creo says that nobody has yet reached the monthly limit. If you buy the Server version, it comes with ten Tokens seats, and each one has a 5GB per month limit – so 50GB per month should be enough for most normal use.
The Creo Token approach to file transfer is simple to use and inexpensive – and the great thing is you don’t have to transfer files until connected at broadband speeds. It might take a little while for people to catch on, but I’m sure it will be popular. Go to the Creo Web site and take a look at the demo. Its elegance and ease of use makes it the best and most polite way to throw files around the Net.