Digital News Bytes October 2021
5G drives deployment of virtualised RANS – Mobile network innovations such as, Virtual RANs (vRANs), are of strategic importance to operators in rolling out 5G, and slowly the momentum is also building on industry commitment towards an Open RAN (O-RAN). Recent market forecast research by leading UK sector consultants Analysys Mason found that MNO spending in the RAN market will reach USD62.7 billion by 2026 as a result of MNOs deploying 5G networks, improving their non-5G network capacity and coverage and implementing virtual RAN and open RAN. Efficient ways of operators collaborating will undoubtedly need to be found if the deployment and operational costs of 5G are to be offset.
The FB Future – the Metaverse – Over the last few months, Facebook has been proclaiming the benefits of a new VR inhabited online world for all, the Metaverse, recently stepping up investment as well as rhetoric. But against the ongoing backdrop of data protection fines from the Irish regulator, whistleblower leaks and recent massive platform outages in the current online FB world, is this future an example of “putting astronomical profits before people”?
ASA and Tik Tok tie up – In perhaps an example of the UK advertising regulator adopting a “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach, the Advertising Standards Agency has launched a new Tik Tok campaign with a group of leading influencers to combat misleading and unclear ads on social media.
5G drives deployment of virtualised RANs – Mobile network innovations such as, Virtual RANs (vRANs), are of strategic importance to operators in rolling out 5G networks, to try and keep deployment and operational costs down and improving network agility and flexibilty. Slowly the momentum is also building on industry commitment towards an Open RAN (O-RAN), where open interfaces would allow a fully competitive 5G market with no barriers to entry.
RAN equipment is a significant part of network expenditure for operators. Recent market forecast research by leading UK sector consultants Analysys Mason found that MNO spending in the RAN market will reach USD62.7 billion by 2026 as a result of MNOs deploying 5G networks, improving their non-5G network capacity and coverage and implementing virtual RAN and open RAN. Network collaboration and sharing amongst 5G operators will therefore continue to be a key driver in keeping deployment and operational costs down, whilst business cases for revenue generation evolve.
Virtualised RANs offer many advantages in a 5G world. In basic terms, a vRAN decouples software-driven functionality from the proprietary hardware, uploading the software to a cloud-native architecture. O-RAN takes virtualization to the next level, where software applications are decoupled from the underlying proprietary hardware, but additionally, proprietary communication interfaces are replaced with open, standardized interfaces enabling operators to seek a multi-vendor solution rather than an exclusive lock-in with a single vendor.
Of course, there are still many challenges to be overcome before vRAN and O-RAN benefits can be fully realised. Open interface and interoperability standards are still in a state of flux, and perhaps more importantly, industry is not yet be fully convinced of the benefits of investing in an O-RAN environment given the challenges. The current state of play is perhaps best summed up in a recent quote from the Huawei CTO last month: Absent standardization, technologies like O-RAN become fragmented and lack interoperability — two outcomes that most network operators are unwilling to accept, according to the Huawei CTO.
The FB future – the metaverse – Since the summer when Mark Zuckerburg proclaimed the forthcoming arrival of Facebook’s vision of the future, the metaverse, Facebook has been engaged in regular announcements on its progress in creating this new online inhabitable Virtual Reality Augmented Reality universe.
But Facebook is developing its strategy for this new 3D internet world against a backdrop of ongoing regulatory and political challenges it is facing in relation to its current online platforms – including a recent proposed Euro 36 million euro fine by the Irish data protection regulator for data privacy breaches, and whistleblower accusations that Facebook’s apparent awareness that its Instagram platform damages the mental health of some teenage girls shows that it puts “astronomical profits before people”.
However, Facebook did announce in September that it would be investing $50million to ensure that the metaverse meets regulatory and legal concerns. The investment will be distributed amongst academic institutions and industry organisations. It has also announced investment in new talent in the EU through a new recruitment drive creating 100,000 jobs over the next five years. This in addition to the investment in VR/AR innovation through Facebook Reality Labs.
Facebook is clearly committed to creating the new iteration for Big Tech growth, but some would argue that it still has some way to go to creating the necessary safeguards for those using its platforms today.
ASA and Tik Tok tie up – The UK advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has partnered with social media platform, Tik Tok, to launch a new regulatory campaign in relation to appropriate ad engagement on the platform. Both Tik Tok and the ASA have been engaged in recent months in user protection measures to combat harmful content on social media.
The ASA has partnered with several key influencers who have uploaded tips videos to address how anyone who promotes a brand or product followers can comply with the ASA advertising rules. The videos also address how brand followers/social media users can recognise posts which are advertising products and deals with issues such as, misleading, unclear, offensive and harmful ad content.
The ASA aims to spread awareness widely not just amongst Tik Tok users, but also users on other social media platforms; as well as the content creators and brand partners posting the ads – whom the ASA say might “risk eroding the trust and authenticity they’ve built with their followers if they post ads that are misleading, harmful or offensive.”