By: Nu Yang
You’ve heard of Apple and BlackBerry, but what about the Raspberry Pi? Designed and managed by Raspberry Pi Foundation and a group of Cambridge University professors, the Pi is a credit card-sized computer server that first shipped in February 2012. Since then, more than 1.2 million units have been distributed.
Based in Nazareth, Pa., Software Consulting Services, LLC, is an independent software vendor that offers the Pi as a platform alternative for its newspaper clients.
“The idea is to get away from expensive hardware platforms,” SCS president Richard Cichelli said.
According to SCS, the Pi costs $35 and can run a company’s advertising system modules, such as the automated advertising dummying system Layout-8000, and the retail and classified advertising management system AdMAX. Pi has a 700MHz ARM processor (comparable to most smartphones and tablets), a half gigabyte of RAM, two USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI, and audio capabilities. It can be configured to media servers, thin clients, or application appliances.
SCS presented Pi at the AmericaEast conference in Hershey, Pa., this past April, where it caught the attention of The Derrick staff. The daily newspaper of Oil City, Pa., has a circulation of about 21,000 and has worked with SCS for 10 years. Derrick information technology director Jon MacPherson said after the conference that his publisher purchased a Pi, and the paper is now using it as a thin client to access SCS advertising systems.
Although Pi is currently in testing mode at the Derrick, MacPherson said he saw several benefits of using it, including the ability for advertising representatives to connect to the network remotely and off-site.
“We’re leaning in that direction where computers are getting smaller,” he said. “PC sales are taking a nosedive while tablets are going through the roof. Soon, there will be no need for desktops.”
Cichelli said for publishers who have stretched IT resources, Pi is a device that allows new business models for system sales. He said the model he wants is one with a low-cost server appliance.
“Instead of going to the cloud, there are other alternatives,” Cichelli said. “The cloud is more expensive and less controllable for independent publishers.” Solutions on server appliances offer the same benefits as the cloud, he added.
“There’s a strong possibility that the next big thing is more distributed computing and having that advantage of centralized support for the Pi,” Cichelli said. “There are no disk drives or mechanical parts that will break. It’s about supporting the appliance.”
For more information, visit newspapersystems.com.