What’s up with… Raspberry Pi, Netcracker, rich media

  • Does a Raspberry Pi float? You bet it does
  • Netcracker tackles satellite network management
  • Rich media services sector set to boom

In today’s industry news roundup: Raspberry Pi’s IPO on the London Stock Exchange was a great success; with LEO networks all the rage, telecom software specialist Netcracker unveils a satellite network management solution; rich media services revenues are set to treble in the next five years, according to Juniper Research; and much more!

Having signalled its IPO intentions just last month, Raspberry Pi, which develops low-cost simple computers that can be used as embedded systems in tech products and in internet of things (IoT) and other types of networks, has floated on the London Stock Exchange as Raspberry Pi Holdings and been a big hit with investors. Its shares were priced at 280 pence when they started trading on Tuesday, valuing the company at just over £540m, but they immediately gained 40% to hit 392 pence: As this article was written, the shares are worth 407 pence, up 46% from the offer price and valuing the company at almost £780m. As previously reported, the company generated revenues of $265.8m and an operating profit of $37.5m in 2023: It estimates that its total addressable market is approximately $21.2bn. And its technology was in the news in the telecom sector just last week, as it is a key component of the 5G network-in–a-box product that Vodafone fellow and network architecture director Yago Tenorio showed off at TelecomTV’s DSP Leaders World Forum event to promote its commercial availability (the product was co-developed by the telco). Raspberry Pi noted in this announcement that the IPO is “the start of a new phase in our evolution: access to the public market will enable us to build more of the products you love, faster.” 

Telecom software specialist Netcracker Technology has taken the wraps off a new solution that pledges to “radically” transform satellite operations by addressing a number of challenges in the market. Dubbed Digital Satellite Solution, the new offering incorporates “a leading-edge operations environment with real-time service inventory and topology, multi-domain service orchestration, dynamic SLA [service-level agreement] management and state-of-the-art AI-Assurance to guarantee the optimal service quality across space and terrestrial networks at all times”, the company noted in a statement unveiling its latest move. The solution is built on a cloud-native foundation, which is touted to facilitate cloud scale and agility, and is also “deeply embedded with AI” to maximise service quality and optimise costs. Netcracker claimed that its offering addresses challenges of advanced satellite services, including difficulties in designing the business and operational environments for highly dynamic operations across space and earth, as well as a challenge around deep integration with telco 4G/5G and fixed networks or a complex global customer base with digitisation at the centre. The solution is suitable for geostationary (GEO) and low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and their associated terrestrial operations: LEO satellites are playing an increasingly important role in the telco sector’s network and services strategies, fuelled by investments in, and relationships with, companies such as AST SpaceMobile, SpaceX/Starlink, Eutelsat OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper and more: In deed, Japanese giant NTT has just launched a dedicated space unit to address its current needs and help develop its 6G strategy.

Global revenue from communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) rich media traffic is expected to exceed $10bn by 2028, up 190% from $3.4bn in 2023. This is according to the latest estimation by Juniper Research, which included rich communication services (RCS), video and social media traffic in its study. Among the key driving forces will be an increase in SMS business messaging termination fees. “As the price of SMS business messaging continues to rise, the study predicted that more enterprises will be forced to explore alternative channels for marketing campaigns and customer interactions in order to reduce costs,” the analyst team at Juniper Research suggested. Furthermore, Apple’s support for RCS business messaging this year is expected to create “a highly valuable alternative to SMS for enterprises”. According to the forecast, RCS business messages delivered by CPaaS platforms worldwide will reach 86 billion in 2028, significantly higher from a mere 2.5 billion in 2024. Additionally, Juniper Research has identified conversational AI as “a highly desired service by enterprises” that wish to boost their rich media channels. “Conversational AI will provide an immediate benefit to enterprise CPaaS users. Third-party developers will enable enterprises to launch chatbot services over channels like RCS that leverage large language models. However, to maximise adoption, CPaaS platforms must offer front-end solutions allowing enterprises to directly manage their AI implementations”, research author Sam Barker noted.

Swisscom has launched two new cloud security services that aim to protect both company and customer data. One of the offerings, Cloud Security Governance, is said to ensure adherence to compliance regulations and security configurations of cloud resources. The other solution, Cloud Security Protection, identifies potential security risks in cloud workloads in real time and then initiates security measures. The two solutions are fully managed by Swisscom and are based on a centralised, automated Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP). Find out more.

Elisa has partnered with Ålcom, a telco from the Åland Islands, an autonomous region of Finland, to power base station batteries with solar energy. As per the tie-up, Ålcom will deploy Elisa’s Distributed Energy Storage (DES) solution, which will allow it to use energy from solar panels in mobile network operations. The move follows a trial conducted earlier this year between Elisa, Ålcom and solar panel provider Solel Åland. Elisa’s DES is powered by AI and machine learning (ML) to allow the Åland Islands operator to store and use solar energy in its mobile network backup batteries, and as a result to cut costs and reduce its carbon footprint. The solution is also said to help in reducing dependency on the grid. Read more.

The wait is over! Apple is playing catch-up in the AI domain by introducing the technology to its devices – although in its own version, this abbreviation stands for Apple Intelligence rather than artificial intelligence. The new personal intelligence system will be “deeply integrated” into devices using iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, boasted that Apple Intelligence combines “generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence”. Some of the features include: new writing tools; priority notifications; recording, transcribing and summarising audio; image creation; and richer language-understanding capabilities for digital assistant Siri. Most prominent, however, is the introduction of ChatGPT, the chatbot developed by OpenAI and largely supported by Microsoft. Access to ChatGPT will be integrated into experiences across Apple devices later this year, allowing users to access its expertise, as well as image- and document-understanding capabilities, without switching between tools. “Privacy protections are built in for users who access ChatGPT – their IP addresses are obscured, and OpenAI won’t store requests. ChatGPT’s data-use policies apply for users who choose to connect their account”, the tech giant noted in a statement announcing the move. Its reassurances, though, did not seem enough for the likes of X owner and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, who argued that if Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, this would be “an unacceptable security violation” and Apple devices will be banned at his companies. In an emailed statement, PP Foresight founder and analyst Paolo Pescatore commented that there will be many questions about Apple’s tie-up with OpenAI. “Apple’s trust and credibility is critical to adoption. There remain ongoing concerns around privacy and trust which Apple is addressing with opt-in measures (users will be specifically asked if they want ChatGPT to address a question and have to assent). This will be an interesting issue to watch play out”, he added. The announcement of AI features being added to Apple devices comes nearly half a year after its main rival, South Korean smartphone maker Samsung, introduced AI-powered capabilities to its latest flagship models, the Galaxy S24 smartphone series – see Samsung puts advanced AI in the hands of users. And Samsung did not pass the opportunity to point out the delay, stating in a post on social media platform X that adding “Apple” “doesn’t make it new or groundbreaking”.

Technology advances, particularly those related to artificial intelligence (AI), are fuelling high levels of business optimism, but “a short-term, opportunistic attitude to technology planning” could hinder companies from making the most of their opportunities and fulfilling their aspirations, according to a new IDC white paper. Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on Their Digital Business Journey, is based on a survey of 650 senior technology executives from around the world and was commissioned by Amsterdam-based Expereo, a managed internet, cloud access and SD-WAN solutions provider. The survey results show that 52% of global enterprises expect to see moderate growth and a further 29% expect high growth during the next 12 months, while the IDC report authors note that the “ability of technology to help deliver this growth has never been higher on the agenda, with almost a third of technology leaders (29%) saying growth (to increase revenue and/or expand into new markets, segments, and/or geographies) is in their top three priorities driving tech investments in their organisation.” In addition, “the top priority of technology leaders is now to contribute to business growth/increased turnover.” However, the IDC team notes that “only 22% of global enterprises have reached full digital maturity – a scenario where a long-term digital business strategy is in place and there’s an orchestrated enterprise-wide digital-first trajectory. The reality is that most global organisations are still working on opportunistic and short-term digital plans with isolated and siloed digital excellences across IT and business units.” And this isn’t just an external view. “A third (33%) of global enterprises admit to having a short-term focus, meaning digital strategy and initiatives are enterprise oriented but typically have a short lifespan. Interestingly, there are more than a quarter of global respondents who say whilst the CEO supports digital initiatives, they do not work closely enough with technology leaders, putting digital transformation initiatives in jeopardy.” This is an interesting report about which you can find out more here. Once again, though, it shows that you can have the best technology and a great investment budget but you also need joined up thinking and informed leadership to make it all work as best it could. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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