Croquet Launches Edge Collaboration Platform and Global Developer Infrastructure for Creating Real-Time, Multi-User Web and Mobile Applications
The world’s perception of what real-time collaboration can actually look like is about to change. Croquet Corporation, the technology leader in Edge Collaboration (a new, rapidly-growing sector of Edge Computing) has launched the Croquet Collaboration Platform™ allowing developers worldwide to create multi-user apps with real-time capabilities never before possible.
While Croquet’s exclusive mission is delivering developer tools and infrastructure – including the Croquet Library, APIs and highly useful frameworks – the company has launched a free reference app called PiiX (Photo Instantaneous Interactive Experience) to showcase the technology. PiiX allows anyone, from consumers to sophisticated developers, to test-drive this revolutionary new collaboration technology right now, with no registration required.
Scan a QR code and watch as PiiX, a real-time, collaborative annotation app jumps instantly onto your phone or tablet. Invite others and as you annotate or manipulate the image, the results appear simultaneously in real-time on all participant screens. All users have simultaneous control. Users often describe the experience as “magical”. But it’s the global infrastructure underneath, with frameworks on top, that make everything possible. Click here to try PiiX.
“We believe that all future applications should be collaborative – including apps for productivity, social collaboration, telemedicine, sports, interactive marketing, AR/VR, SaaS, gaming, you name it,” says David A. Smith, Founder & CTO of Croquet. “With this launch, Croquet is delivering all of the tools and infrastructure developers need to easily build mind-blowing, real-time, fully synchronous collaborative apps that make today’s multi-user apps look like anachronisms. We expect that developers will find amazing ways to use this technology that we haven’t even imagined yet.”
Croquet was funded in early 2020 to pursue development and private beta testing of the infrastructure, libraries, tools and reference app launched today. Use cases for the technology are vast and varied across startups, the enterprise, commercial applications, social collaboration, media, marketing, interactive advertising and social games. See more use case detail on the Croquet website.
A Peek Under the Hood
Croquet’s first-of-its-kind Edge Collaboration infrastructure is deployed globally today on every continent (except Antarctica). It provides a super-fast reflector-based network (with latency as low as 10-15ms, depending on location), as well as a unique edge collaboration protocol and synchronization service that enable real-time collaboration at the edge of the network where performance is best.Servers have long stood between users and real-time collaboration. With Edge Collaboration, nothing runs on servers so developers are free to easily create apps for instantaneous shared experiences.
All the “smarts” of the application are on the client side. Each user is operating a shared virtual machine, with everyone’s device guaranteed to run the exact same program at exactly the same time, in exactly the same way. These client-side, bit-identical virtual machines use a replicated computation model that enables ultra-low latency, low bandwidth synchronization and instantaneous interactions.
Applications generate events which are sent to an Edge Reflector, the architectural center of the Croquet infrastructure, which then redistributes it to each session participant’s replicated virtual machine, providing precise synchronization with exceedingly low latency. Reflectors are small pieces of software that sit on the Edge and are spun up or down as needed anywhere in the world to support high performance sessions. Croquet Infrastructure is highly scalable with reflectors running across the globe, all designed to work with existing online and mobile networks, including 5G. Developers can sign up here to receive a free key allowing them to start using Croquet.
“Croquet is the best thing I’ve seen in computing over the last 15 years,” says Alan Kay, an advisor to Croquet since its inception, and Turing Award Winner long considered Father of the Personal Computer. “It solves massive problems associated with building real-time collaborative applications in extremely elegant ways. The Internet has been needing this for many years.”
Other key facts about the Croquet Library, API and frameworks include:
- No back-end code; simple front-end, client-side only. Easy for even novice programmers
- Fast and simple to implement. Changes the entire multi-user app development dynamic so developers can build and deploy multi-user apps in days, not months
- Application state is automatically shared so new users can join a live session instantly
- Abstracts the developer from powerful underlying infrastructure; it just works
- Multiple frameworks available for critical tasks
- Works globally with extremely low latency
- Privacy-focused; every message is encrypted end-to-end. The servers only see encrypted data; so even leaks would do no harm to privacy
- No timing issues or out-of-order events. Croquet uses “replicated computation” to eliminate message “collisions”
- Edge reflectors exist as software and have no application state; they are extraordinarily scalable globally and can function as a self-proliferating network
- View this technical FAQ on the Croquet website
Development of the company’s current technology was led by Smith and co-founders Vanessa Freudenberg, Aran Lunzer, Yoshiki Ohshima and Brian Upton – a team of architects and engineers in Los Angeles, CA.
“This is an amazing team that has built something remarkable,” says John Payne, CEO of Croquet. “The Croquet Platform and Infrastructure will enable a whole new breed of applications that couldn’t exist before while supporting the addition of collaboration features to existing applications around the world in a highly scalable way.”
The market for collaboration technology as a whole is massive. COVID has accelerated demand by 10 years, but so far the technology has lagged. Croquet changes the conversation, enabling a huge leap forward in developing Instantaneous Shared Experiences.
Croquet Corporation – the technology leader in Edge Collaboration, a new, rapidly-growing sector of Edge Computing – operates a global Edge Collaboration Platform and Collaboration Infrastructure that enables developers to quickly and easily create a vast range of multi-user collaboration apps for web and mobile, at virtually limitless scale. Croquet has its spiritual roots in work begun in the 1990’s by Founder & CTO David A. Smith, Alan Kay, David P. Reed and Andreas Raab in the Croquet Project, an open source 2D/3D environment for collaborative work written in Smalltalk. Croquet was formed in 2019 and funded by SIP Global Partners and a group of experienced technology and financial industry veterans. Visit www.croquet.io.
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