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Recycle - Brown's Bytes - Spare a Though for the old phones this christmas

Brown’s Bytes – Spare A Thought For The Old Phones This Christmas…

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

6th December 2019

As is probably the case in many households, the Browns are entering that time of the year where the kids have submitted their Christmas lists of desired gifts.

Amongst the many expensive items on these lists (don’t get me started on that one!), you can usually guarantee that a new phone will be somewhere on it – I think it will come of little surprise to anyone that for the generation coming through, a smartphone is one of the most necessary/prized possessions that they have.

This got me thinking about how things have changed, and how this also indirectly impacts on the enterprise market for smartphones.

Not very long ago the world of the smartphone was quite different:

  • I, as an enterprise user, had the latest and greatest piece of kit. On average, I would get a new phone every 2 years
  • My kids would either have an entry-level device because contracts are expensive and they keep breaking/losing the things or (most importantly for this piece) they would run on my cast-offs.

The key point here is that even a 2-year-old top-end device was considered superior to the entry-level devices and therefore my kids would be a willing channel for this old kit.

A lot has changed now…

Firstly, the enterprise isn’t replacing devices every 2 years anymore. The reality of a modern fleet smartphone these days is it can run for 3 years or more. Most of the available life is being drained out of the hardware by the first owner of the device. I’ve blogged before about this in The Old Phone Challenge – the reality is that (in particular, Apple) hardware can be pushed to 3 years and beyond. The limiting factor, in the end, is often battery life.

Secondly, the Enterprise isn’t buying from the top of the price range list anymore. Most fleet devices are now from somewhere at the middle, and even towards the bottom of the range. These lower-end devices (again, particularly Apple) are seen as good enough and still have the longevity required to last a few years.

All of this adds up to something interesting – the kids don’t want these old phones so much anymore! These old phones are seen as:
a. Knackered
b. Too old and low-spec for them (cameras matter!!)
c. Shall we say ‘unlikely to enhance their status’

Kids want ‘the cool’ phones! With the enterprise hanging on to devices longer, the device market moves on, and brand-new, entry-level phones are often seen as superior to a 3-year-old second-hand one.

So what?

Well, simply put, most enterprises are absolutely rubbish at recycling old phones. The old phone being handed to kids was/is probably one of the few channels that actively recycles the hardware, and often it’s completely unsanctioned or conveniently ignored.

If the kids don’t want them, then what do your users do with them?

Simply put, old phones are piling up in cupboards and drawers all over the world. Around 125 million devices in the UK alone are estimated to be going unwanted.

With green credentials increasingly becoming an area of focus for all companies, it’s important that this is addressed. I’m not saying don’t let the kids have them if they want them (although make sure they’ve been securely wiped obviously), but make sure that there is a formal channel for recycling phones at their end of life.

Recycle all the phones!

Making sure that phones are securely recycled needs to be priced into the cost of ownership. As with so much in the current world, the total cost of ownership needs to shift beyond looking just at the purchase price but to also include what happens at the end of its life.

And it should really be the target that 100% are recycled. Companies should be measuring this and then bragging about it!

Guess what? This is what we can do for you… complete lifecycle management. Competitive purchase pricing, but with the complete lifecycle of the device included.

Get in touch to find out more, and happy Christmas shopping everyone!