Think back to Welcome Week of your freshman year. What was the one thing you were most excited about? Was it the new environment, lack of parental authority or the proximity to Tijuana? If you were like most freshmen, it was probably none of the above. The most exciting thing about college life for many students is the incredibly fast T1 Internet connection to which each student in the dormitories and apartments has access.
However, many students soon become disappointed at the severe limitations that are thrown at them from their e-mail servers and digital music lockers. There are problems ranging from a lack of file sharing between Yahoo! Mail and Myplay to there being only six megabytes of storage capacity on Yahoo! Mail.
Students need not worry about these problems any longer, as a new Internet-based company is revolutionizing the electronic industry. In 1999, Edward C. Yu, along with his brother, Irving Yu, created e24/7 Inc., operating out of their Santa Monica home.
The Internet company, which can be found on the Internet at http://www.e247.com, provides all-in-one e-mail, audio/video streaming and storage, free of charge. This is welcome news to poor college students looking for a quality e-mail provider and storage system for their precious digital music.
Edward, who is the chief executive officer of e24/7 Inc., previously worked as an international financier and ventures investment fund professional, a job that required him to travel frequently. In order to lighten his load on cross-country trips from New York to Los Angeles, as well as trips throughout Asia, Edward was inspired to find a way to stay connected to his office without having to carry his laptop and suitcases full of office files, presentations and CDs.
After searching for a centralized service that would allow him access to his communications, data and entertainment, Edward was prompted to create one of his own. The result was the genesis of e24/7 Inc.
Edward became the CEO of the company, while his brother, Irving, became the company’s chief strategy officer.
The primary target audience for e24/7 is college students and online entertainment enthusiasts. Its secondary market is small businesses and home offices.
Online companies are getting an increasingly larger audience. Recent estimates from the eStats Report of Oct. 1999 state that more than 92 million people use e-mail. The report speculates that the number of people using e-mail will grow to 135 million people by 2002.
The company is targeting this audience because, according to a Greenfield Online survey from this year, 15 million college students are e-mail enthusiasts. Of those 15 million, the survey reports that 27 percent of them cannot send or receive large files because it exceeds their online mailbox limits. Of those who were able to receive the files, over 25 percent reported not having enough virtual storage space with which to save the files.
In the same survey, 75 percent of college students reported that a service similar to e24/7 would be extremely valuable.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS
The technology used by e24/7 is an open-source platform that was developed using the Java language. It utilizes Java servlets on the backend and Java server pages on the front.
The site architecture is powered by LinuxOS on a server farm. The site also uses foundry gigabit switches, routers and multiple Network Appliance F760 Filers on the site, all maximizing the storage and speed it offers.
One of the main features on the e24/7 Web site is its e-mail service. The e-mail centric service allows users to access the system from any Internet-capable PC or Mac, ideal for working from home or on a business trip.
The service allows users to transfer files of up to 25 megabytes and also offers features such as consolidation of up to 10 different accounts, advanced bulk filtering and an e-mail attachment manager that saves and organizes incoming files automatically to the user’s audio, video or document storage folders. The e-mail centric service attachment manager is a patent-pending application available only through e24/7.
Another service offered by e24/7 is its virtual storage, which can be fused with other applications such as e-mail or content streaming.
The company also offers up to 100 megabytes of free storage, which allows for fast files transfers via the e-mail centric service.
Unlike other online companies offering virtual storage, e24/7 does not require the download of any special software or the need to accept any Java applets.
The services provided by e24/7 also includes streaming capabilities. The company has optimized its infrastructure so that it will not be a limiting factor at any connection speed. The content can be easily retrieved and stored with the e24/7 service.
With this service, users can send and receive high-bandwidth files such as MP3s and digital video without having to download the file to their computers. The transfer will also not degrade the user’s connection speed, regardless of his connection method (broadband or dial-up).
The video and music manager is another service offered by the company. It allows users to store music and video files, create personalized audio playlists and stream audio and video files directly from their e24/7 accounts.
When compared, e24/7 holds several advantages over some of its major online competitors, including Yahoo! Mail, Myplay and X-drive.
While e24/7 and Yahoo! Mail both offer Web-based e-mail, neither Myplay nor X-drive do so. The maximum e-mail attachment for e24/7 is 25 megabytes, while Yahoo! Mail only offers two megabytes.
X-drive is the only other company that offers file sharing to its users and virtual storage for all content.
Out of the four companies, e24/7 is the only one that offers streaming video and an e-mail attachment manager.
While X-drive offers 50 megabytes of storage capacity, compared to six megabytes on Yahoo! Mail and none on Myplay, e24/7 offers 100 megabytes of storage.
Finally, e24/7 offers 100 megabytes of music file storage, compared to 50 megabytes on X-drive, three megabytes on Myplay and none on Yahoo! Mail.