Day to day, we all rely on cloud based technology solutions for our email, data storage and online collaboration. Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that the companies we trusted to provide us with these solutions have not always had our privacy concerns at heart.
What is WEDG?
The WEDG is a patent pending self hosted, on-site, secure email and file storage solution with advanced sync and privacy controls.
Once connected to the internet, the WEDG provides everything that you have come to expect from a third party cloud solution, as well as a few you have not.
The WEDG has no monthly fees and doesn’t limit or monitor your usage, nor will it ever share any data with advertisers or government agencies.
All this, whilst being one of the most secure products on the market..
The WEDG combines the power of Gmail and Dropbox with specially developed security, encryption and privacy features built into its core.
This enables you to deliver enterprise class email and file sync/share across all your desktop and mobile devices, safe in the knowledge that your data is stored securely in your home or office.
Because enough is enough - we should all have the option to access our data wherever we go without having to give up our rights to digital privacy.
The WEDG is ideal for home use and will make an ideal companion to existing PC/Mac/Linux or mobile devices you may own.
Just look how a WEDG can securely improve your family life:
Your Precious Files
The WEDG quietly and securely stores your files and syncs them with only the users that you trust.
Meanwhile pictures of your children or important household documents are locked safe and secure from prying eyes, yet always available when and where you need them.
Want to share a photo saved on your WEDG?
Our dedicated app makes it simple to share memories with an existing WEDG user or even those who are yet to set up a free WEDG account.
Email is as easy as ever; only now it’s a lot more secure…
A simple set up process allows you to either use your own domain name, or a complimentary @wedgmail.com account. Once completed, you will be able to access, send and receive all future emails, safe in the knowledge that your account will no longer be monitored or share info with third parties.
Do you struggle to manage events, days off and appointments?
The WEDG will allow you to set up your own shared family calendar, making it easy to push and share important occasions (with notification alerts) between any or all family members.
With a collective three decades of experience working with enterprise IT infrastructure, it’s safe to say that here at WEDG we understand business needs.
We know you need a solution that is not only powerful, but is also simple to implement, has low overheads and minimal maintenance needs.
The WEDG meets these needs, enabling your business with advanced secure cloud solution, all without having to spend a small fortune on server racks and renting a large amount of physical space.
Using our simple set up wizard, rolling out secure cloud technology for your team has never been simpler. Employees can stay on their own devices and admins will always have control over the level of access each team member has.
Enterprise Class Email
Email is one of the core services provided by the WEDG, and is accompanied by industry standard address book and calendar synchronisation.
Email on the WEDG will continue to use your own domain name and once activated, email sent via the WEDG will use industry level security, never allowing your confidential business material to be monitored by third parties.
Permission based Sharing
The WEDG allows you to grant different level of access to what is shared on each account. This will allow you to control the access to your inbox, address book and calendar that a personal assistant may have.
These same access tools can be used to push important dates to colleagues across the organisation or share a global address book.
Best of all, these advanced permissions make the WEDG scalable at no extra cost for a micro to medium sized business.
In today’s world of data breaches, client confidentially is quickly becoming a concern and not keeping on top of your data could land your business in serious legal problems.
At the moment most businesses send their sensitive information to servers owned by large corporations. Often these data centres are located in other countries and comply to different laws than what you may be familiar with.
This leaves us wondering who else has access to your data?
Choosing to keep your data in-house and on-site eliminates these risks.
Thankfully not only is the WEDG on-site, it also has the ability to store confidential data, encrypt, and even pro-actively guard it using the highest levels of protection available.
With a WEDG you will always have the confidence that your businesses intellectual property, client data and account information will never make their way into the wrong hands.
The WEDG seamlessly handles encryption for multiple users which is secured in the following ways:
- Data is kept on-site
- Data is always stored on encrypted drives
- All users have encrypted profiles at root level of the drive
- All users have individual encryption keys
- Data is only shared with trusted users
- Choose to only share a link and never the original file
- Shared links can be password protected
- Shared links can have an expiration period
The WEDG handles complex encryption seamlessly.
Before sending mail the WEDG identifies each recipient’s security protocols, ensuring messages are always delivered securely and ready to read.
If a user decides not to encrypt mail or if the recipient mail server doesn't support SSL connections, the WEDG notifies you and can still deliver a message but with protection removed as shown below:
To make the most of our enhanced email security features, we have developed plugins that automatically encrypt, decrypt, sign and verify emails and any attachments.
So far these plugins are available for Microsoft Outlook (2007 and above), Apple Mail (10.6.9 and above), as well as Mozilla Thunderbird.
But the WEDG is more than an advanced mail server. We also built an entire failsafe infrastructure we call WEDGNET.
Some of the features of WEDGNET ensure that mail is delivered even if your WEDG is offline or powered down. Using WEDGNET, downtime emails can be securely accessed from any device seamlessly without you having to worry about a thing. When your WEDG is back online WEDGNET automatically hands back control.*
*More details on WEDGNET are outlined in the graphic below
Store, Sync, Share
Much like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box amongst other popular cloud storage solutions, files on your WEDG can be synced between any, or all your connected devices.
Unlike these services we also ensure that all data stored on connected clients is encrypted, and sent only via SSL connections.
When sharing a file with WEDG you have the following options:
- Send a link to the file
- Allow the recipient to sync it to their devices
- Easily revoke access when necessary
As mentioned above, files are always shared using SSL connections and recipients without a WEDG account can only access them using our complimentary desktop client, or via a secure browser session.
In order to deploy the security protocols that the WEDG is founded on, we had to create a much more secure email app than those that are pre-installed on most phones and tablets.
Therefore, we are currently building a dedicated multi-platform app, which will not only provide our users with greater security over their email but also allow remote access to the data stored on their WEDG.
Although admittedly our mobile app is still in beta, we have covered a lot of functionality.
So far our app provides:
- Secure connection
- 2-Step Authentication
- Real-time email
- Fast file access
Next steps include improving the user interface and packaging the app for distribution.
The WEDG utilises 2-Step Authentication as standard.
This means that when a user logs into their account from a new device or browser, they will need to pair their password with a 6-digit security key provided by the mobile app.
WEDG Sync for Desktop
Our sync client is designed to manage all the data you store on the WEDG, seamlessly encrypting, syncing and sharing files/folders at your request. The Sync app is currently in beta for PC and Mac with a Linux build in development.
Our dashboard is available from any Internet connected device and provides a simple overview of each WEDG a user has access to.
The Dash provides a live and detailed view of system activity like CPU and RAM usage, disk and network utilisation and email statistics. It is also used to perform Admin level tasks such as limiting levels of access available to users.
The dashboard is built on an open API, which allows developers to build dedicated plugins and implement new features, providing true customisation of your WEDG.
Third Party Apps
We intend to enable developers to take advantage of the WEDG and its enhanced security providing you with infinite new features for your WEDG.
We have already developed and are currently using our own API, but we also plan to develop an SDK should we reach our first stretch goal.
If you are a developer, please check out our dedicated section below and take a look at our developer specific rewards.
WEDG is built on a highly customised Linux distribution. We haven’t restricted the use of APIs on the WEDG, so you can code in C, C++, PHP, Python and Ruby and more. We aim for there to be no restrictions for you to create awesome apps for the WEDG.
All that we ask is that you use our API to submit apps to the WEDG app store for distribution, and allow users to configure your apps via the WEDG dashboard.
As part of the Developer Reward, you’ll have exclusive access to our in-house development team for support and brainstorming sessions, as well as video chat sessions attended by our CEO Shehbaz and other developers working on apps just like you.
If we meet our £150,000 stretch goal, we will be able to develop an SDK for WEDG, which will pave the way for the next stage of app development. This will allow you to build apps that plug directly into the core WEDG services - not just locally, but between multiple WEDG devices across WAN connections.
You will also be given early access to beta OS updates well in advance of public release.
We have a genuine respect for design led, functional products and know we wouldn't want an unattractive device in our home or office no matter what its functionality.
That’s why we took the time to design a housing for the WEDG that is striking, as well as being small and unobtrusive.
The WEDG was styled to match existing devices you may have, yet somehow still draw your attention as and when necessary. Inspired by great futuristic movies like Oblivion and Star Trek, we evolved our initial wedge shape into an almost conical housing.
We had ideas for all sorts of colours and finishes, and over the last few months we have learned more than we will ever need to about plastics. Early samples felt cheap and flimsy until we made the bold, yet costly decision to tool the WEDG from Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA).
PMMA is a transparent, shatter resistant, scratch proof and lightweight glass substitute which is currently used to create BluRay discs, contact lenses, smartphones, and even motorcycle helmet visors.
We appreciated how other manufacturers concealed LEDs behind an opaque surface and felt that on the WEDG it would be stunning. But when we received our primary prototype the results blew us away.
When activated, the WEDG lighting up really feels like something from the future. These lights can be customised to your preference, allowing the WEDG to notify you of any changes or concerns in a manner you prefer — using striking yet subtle lighting.
Exclusive to Kickstarter, a Premium Aluminium WEDG is also available.
To create it, we have merged your choice of either white or black front fascia with anodised aluminium in a light grey/silver finish on the back and base.
This really is a luxury product, and the ultimate compliment to existing aluminium products that you may already have in your modern office or home.
The WEDG is powered by a dual core ARM processor, supported by 1GB of RAM and a native SATA II connection for rapid read/write speeds on the 1TB hard drive. The on-board Ethernet connection is capable of up-to 100MBPS at full duplex, making it ideal for enterprise environments.
When thinking about cooling, we designed the WEDG to naturally ventilate heat and enabling the unit to operate silently without the need for cooling fans.
The WEDG is built on a solid and reliable Linux OS.
We stripped it to bare bones, removing features we didn’t need and enhancing those that we did. This has resulted in an OS that not only takes up a tiny footprint, but is incredibly solid at the same time.
Proof of Concept
Our focus was to emulate a cloud email/storage solution on a physical machine. We started development in a virtual environment using VMWare ESXi server. Once it had been proofed we then moved to a physical conceptualisation, which was based on a machine with an Intel Dual Core 2 and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. This machine was used to monitor performance and hardware behaviour in real time, which helped us prove that our concept was viable.
Confident that our concept was viable, we were keen to produce a physically smaller solution. Therefore we set about replicating our proof of concept on lower spec machines.
An Intel Atom based board with 1GB of DDR2 RAM salvaged from a retired Dell Inspiron Mini 10 was used, and early success proved that lowering hardware specs wouldn’t compromise performance.
As the prototype grew into a more advanced development we soon found ourselves stacking more software functionality and services into our OS. To counter this we continued to remove chunks of surplus code from our Linux build, which quickly freed up more resources.
Finally our main development prototype was created (we call her Ceira), marking a clear success of our project goals.
We had always intended for the WEDG to run on affordable yet powerful ARM based architecture, and so began to replicate the Intel build on a Cubieboard2.
The results using this board were better than we expected. Under extreme tests we were left with a relaxed CPU, small footprint in memory, and efficient data throughput on SATA and Ethernet.
Our next step was to design our own board. After initial research it became apparent that this would be uneconomical, and with the Cubieboard2 already providing trusted security and performance we decided using it would be equally as effective.
When looking to fund WEDG we have already had multiples offers, but unfortunately these investments always came with rules and stipulations about what we could and couldn’t do.
The WEDG was built from a strong desire to make a product that was truly secure and we never want to be forced to give up our users’ right to privacy for monetary gain.
This is why we have made an executive decision to always be led by our true stakeholders: our customers.
Kickstarter allows us to present the WEDG to a community who truly understands and respects the core values of the WEDG. Furthermore, taking advantage of the rewards system on Kickstarter means we can engage with the developer community to get a head-start on developing creative apps ready for when the WEDG ships.
Our Beta Tester reward is intended to help us connect directly with the powerful early adopter community on Kickstarter, so that together we can continue to evolve the WEDG into a even better product long after Kickstarter.
WEDG was the brainchild of Shehbaz Afzal and has been supported by a close knit team of developers, designers, engineers and researchers over the last 12 months.
We strongly believe in tackling privacy and security concerns for the world’s largest shared resource - the Internet. Recent worrying events have given us a cause to think again about how we use the Internet, our commitment is to preserve our right to digital privacy.
A Manchester Metropolitan University graduate, Shehbaz has worked in IT infrastructure for over 10 years and held posts at British Airways and Hewlett-Packard.
We would like to thank the many individuals and organisations who have directly supported our journey to making the WEDG a reality.
So a heartfelt thank you to:
- Our friends and family for believing in us and supporting us all throughout the project highs and lows
- Cailline Lea from LaserLea for creating some accurate laser cut edges and markings during prototyping
- Lee Thomas from Process Media for building and hosting our website – www.wedg.co
- Aidan Belizaire for creating our live action video
- Jeremy Richard - for support videography
- Manchester Metropolitan University Innospace for providing us with our workplace and helping find resources from around the University
- Manchester Metropolitan University School of Arts for their high quality 3D printing services
- Manchester Metropolitan University Centre for Enterprise for helping us speak directly to creative and talented students and graduates
- Explainer Video Ltd for creating our animated presentation video
- HakMan Hack Space for being an awesome hack space in the heart of Manchester and providing so many cool tools at our disposal
- Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) via The Business Growth Hub
- UK Intellectual Property Office
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
- World Intellectual Property Organization
- The British Library
We’ve enjoyed having you with us, and look forward to working with you again.
Risks and challenges
Like many manufacturers we have selected a tooling in P20 Steel. We have been assured by our manufacturer that from their experience a tool made from this grade of steel should last be able to produce ~10,000 units before it needs to be replaced.
Should we surpass 10,000 backers on Kickstarter, we will consider coating our tools for increased output capabilities or even invest in multiple tools, which would have the added benefit of speeding up the manufacturing process for high demand.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)