The Raspberry Pi computer is one of those disruptive innovations in the IT field that is meant to bring a lot of change. Most of all, it comes out from the UK tech industry, so we can really be proud of it since it is expected to quickly invade the IT world.
What is Raspberry Pi?
Raspberry Pi is a bare-bone credit-card sized computer with the main aim to provide a low-cost tool for students that are learning to code. I know, the first time I heard about it, I thought the same: how can you put a computer into a credit-card sized machine? But lets be clear here: it doesnt come with the peripherals like a screen or a keyboard. The project has been presented by Dr Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation which is based in Cambridge. The Raspberry Pi has been conceived with the lack of programming skills in the UK tech industry in mind. The computer is initially sold at 22, thereby removing the obstacle of price when it comes to buying computers to play on for programming purposes. The basic elements of a computer come bundled with the Raspberry Pi: it is running on a Linux operating system and comes with an Ethernet port allowing it to be hooked to a network. It also comes with the needed ports to attach usual peripherals like a keyboard, a mouse or a monitor.
So what can businesses learn from this?
The comparison might not jump as clear as it should be; however, when you think about it, this is quite an interesting idea as the main focus behind the Raspberry Pi is clear: help students acquire programming skills by lowering the barrier to entry to acquiring computers to study with. Compared to that, a cloud based business solutions such as Hosted Exchange 2010 have a clear rationale: simplify the IT part of an e-mail system for companies by lowering the barrier-to-entry for getting high-class e-mail system. Indeed, all the unnecessary features of an e-mail system have been filtered out so that users get back to the basics of e-mail while being able to adapt it to their specific needs.
For example, the Raspberry Pi doesnt come with a monitor, this means that the programmer can hook up whatever monitor screen to the device: this opens up a whole new world as one programmer can use a basic monitor while the other would want to experiment higher-class monitor depending on what they specialise in. The same applies to a Hosted Exchange solution: the basic e-mail framework is set, but the client can then chose if they want to access it via an iPhone, a blackberry or via Microsoft Outlook.
When it comes to pricing, while the Raspberry Pi is sold at 22, a Hosted Exchange account is sold at a flexible monthly cost depending on which provider you choose meaning no more forking out for large startup costs. Not only does it remove the price barrier to entry, users only pay for what they actually use. Indeed, in the computer world, one doesnt necessarily have to pay for high-end graphics cards if the use would only be limited to doing word processing. The same applies to the Hosted Exchange scheme: you only pay for what you actually need and use.