Climate change
December 17, 2021

Market View: the importance of minimising our carbon footprint

In October, I posted the first in our Market View series – where we look into the macro and micro-environments, the politics, economics, trends, and technological advances that create the opportunities and challenges that we need to navigate in our market.

In this update, we reflect on COP26 and the importance of…

Minimising our carbon footprint

Heralded as the most important gathering on the topic of climate change since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the build up to the United Nations COP26 climate summit saw it described as a “turning point for humanity”. Indeed, given the past seven years have been the warmest on record since we began capturing this data in 1850, this gathering was critical. 

Unfortunately, since that meeting, the pledges put forward by participating countries have been analysed and these will see us fall short of the Paris Agreement targets. Climate Action Tracker stated that the governmental pledges were “totally inadequate” – resulting in emissions that will approximately double the level required to restrict the temperature increase to 1.5°C. 

In fact, according to New Scientist, global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are set to rebound so significantly this year that they will undo the unprecedented levels of decline we saw during the pandemic in 2020.

Only 23 percent of the Earth’s carbon storage ecosystems are in protected areas and while there are amazing initiatives, like the Vertebrate Genomes Project who are building a digital Noah’s Ark of DNA sequences, it’s recognised that new technologies will play a critical role in decarbonising the world. As will controlling misinformation. 

Our technology partner, Amazon have undertaken an incredible commitment to be net carbon zero by 2040. While they will be working to implement this across their entire supply chain, Atmail is already working to design the right architecture patterns, write efficient code, minimise data impacts, make the right technology selections, perform right sizing, implement responsible SLAs, and correct workload placements… In short, to do all we can to ensure we minimise the carbon footprint of our services. 

We have a range of ideas to explore that will see us to extend this all the way down into our product interface and associated functionality. We want to offer our customers and their users visual indication and actionable information of how their use of email impacts the environment and suggest actions they can take to reduce their footprint. 

I’m really excited about this initiative and, given we’re starting to see carriers ask us to outline the actions we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint in RFI responses, I am sure our customers will be too. 

1. General news

  • The US Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas states that the next big cyberthreat isn’t ransomware. It’s killware. Gartner predicts that, by 2025, bad actors will have weaponised operational technology environments to successfully harm or kill humans. (Read more)
  • In mid-November President Biden signed a US$1 trillion infrastructure bill into law. The bill included a US$500M grant program designed to help fund smart-city projects such as connected vehicle infrastructure, smart traffic sensors and smart grids. (Read more)
  • Windows 11 makes it difficult for users to change their default browser to anything other than Edge, including blocking apps known to circumvent restrictions. David Pierce highlights in his article for Protocol, that “browser wars are back” – with browsers vying for our use – each differentiating with custom feature offerings from integrated crypto-wallets, to custom news feeds, security and privacy tools, and social integrations. Pierce writes that while everyone is focused on the Metaverse right now, we continue to move to a world where everything depends upon a URL. As the app that opens, controls and renders URLs, Pierce expects the fight to be the browser of choice to get ugly. (Read more)
  • For the fourth consecutive quarter, AI start-ups have broken global funding records with 200% funding growth compared to 2020.. Azeem Azhar discusses this in detail with Ian Hogarth and Nathan Benaich on Exponential View. (Listen)
  • In 1981, a personal computer had around 8,000 transistors. In October, Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips sported 34 billion and 57 billion transistors respectively. Apple’s chipmakers are only gated by physics. (Read more)
  • Apple’s privacy changes within iOS have made it harder for providers to work out which ads are relevant to which users. Read the prepared remarks from Evan Spiegel, CEO and Co-Founder of Snap here. (See page 2). 
  • GoDaddy was breached in late November with 1.2M user email addresses and user credentials for WordPress admin, sFTP and database credentials exposed in plaintext as well as SSL private keys. (Read GoDaddy’s SEC Report and Wordfence’s analysis).
  • Nuclear fusion may be closer than we think. Venture Capitalists are investing heavily in nuclear energy startups. 2021 has seen US$2.8B invested YTD – which represents a 10X increase on 2020 (US$243M). (Read more)
  • Amazon launches two new custom computing chips to take on Intel and Nvidia. (Read more)

2. Carrier news

  • In October I wrote about the “big squeeze” telcos face from Big Tech. Here is another article on the topic. 
  • AWS launch AWS Private 5G – a fully managed, pay-as-you-go, private cellular service. (Learn more)
  • Orange publish a press-release listing five recommendations from Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia (TIM), Telefónica and Vodafone to build an Open Ran ecosystem. (Read more)
  • Utilising 100MHz midband 5G, T-Mobile expects to provide its 200M subscribers with average speeds of 400Mbit/s by the end of the year. (Read more)
  • T-Mobile also surpassed their home broadband subscriber goal of 500,000 home fixed wireless subscribers for 2021. CEO Mike Sievert plans to grow this to more than seven million subscribers by 2025. (Read more)
  • After AWS’s 7-hour outage in early December, BT’s chief architect re-tweets his earlier statement that moving network core into the public cloud is for suckers. Speaking at a recent press event, Vodafone’s chief digital officer stated that such a move has too much risk: “you need to be able to work effectively with all the key players and move workloads around”. (Read more)

3. Industry news & competitor activity 

3.1 General Headlines

  • Court rules that “email services can’t be considered telecommunications providers in Switzerland, and therefore are not subject to data retention requirements”. (Read more)
  • Firefox launch Firefox Relay as paid offering (US$0.99 a month for unlimited aliases and your own custom Firefox Relay provides email address aliasing, shielding your real email address from public view and forwarding emails to your real inbox. This is the same feature as Atmail’s “Private Relay” which is on our roadmap backlog pending scheduling for development.  (Read more)
  • Flock/Titan launch Neo Mail – a service that aggregates existing addresses into one inbox, promoting a clean, professional looking email address for the end-user ([email protected] or [email protected]). “Free plans” have limited features and expire after 60 days of inactivity. “Plus plans” cost $6 a month and offer 100GB storage, read-receipts and email aliases. (Learn more)

3.2 Synacor Zimbra

  • Released 9.0.0 patch 21 and 8.8.15 patch 28 to resolve security CVEs, upgrade Apache, resolve bugs and enhance support for Ubuntu 20. (Detail)
  • No other notable updates this reporting period.

3.3 Synchronoss

  • Synchronoss names Taylor C. Greenwald as CFO and report third quarter revenue of US$69.8M. (Detail)
  • Synchronoss settles stockholder derivative actions. (Detail)
  • Indonesian mobile operator Telkomsel partners with Synchronoss to offer personal cloud services to their subscribers. (Detail)
  • UScellular licence Synchronoss Content Transfer to allow store associates to move content from a customer’s old mobile device to a new one at no cost to the customer. (Detail)

3.4 Open-Xchange

  • In a move that supports the growth of a reseller network, OX partner with FUAGO to deliver OX Cloud via a connector. The connector allows resellers to add customers, link mail domains, and manage end-users in the OX Cloud. (Read more)
  • OX launch the OX Cloud Management Center for Customer Care. The Customer Care module is designed for management of cloud accounts, such as adding new accounts, configuring webmail features, searching for users, managing users, quota, and permissions. (Read more) [Note, this is a cut-down version of features and capabilities available in Atmail Cloud’s WebAdmin interface since 2012]

3.5 Atmail

  • Our EngOps team is preparing to ship app-specific password support to enhance our 2FA. As a reminder, our app-specific password function will not have a dependency on Atmail’s auth, so if you are using an external SSO provider with its own 2FA component, you can still offer our app-specific password feature to your users. This will be available in our cloud environments in a rolling release through December and January. It will be available in our public repo for full-scale architecture on-premises deployments in early 2022. 
  • Our EngOps team is also working to remediate issues discovered in our external audit for conformance against WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA. We expect to release an update with significant improvements to both accessibility and inclusive design into our cloud and our on-prem packages in February 2022.
  • We are still on-track to invite key customers into our ideas portal in the new year. Here’s a fun fact: we created our ideas portal and started capturing and validating ideas with customers 36 months ago. We have shipped 34 of those ideas since –  averaging almost one idea a month. We now have hundreds of ideas captured in our portal and I am looking forward to engaging with our customers on the ideas that matter to them the most. I’m really pleased that our customers will be able to track progress and engage as we research, develop, and ship.
  • I’ll provide progress updates on our upcoming privacy features in February.

Please reach out to me to discuss any of the above in more detail.

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