IoT Waste a Concern as New Zealand’s Capacity Grows

A new product called the Goodnight Lamp, created by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, was designed to help families communicate while they’re apart. Touching the lamp will light up a family member’s light and acts as a signal that you’re available to chat.

Deschamps-Sonsino said she created the lamp as a way to communicate with her Canadian father while she was living in London. Although it’s a simple product, it helped solve a large problem in her life – communicating with family members overseas.

Despite being the creator of an IoT product, Deschamps-Sonsino said she’s worried about the unnecessary waste that lots of other new IoT products will create in comparison to the value they’re bringing to a person’s life.

Not all products should be created because of their ease of use. Instead, products should focus on solving a problem, Deschamps-Sonsino said.

As IoT products become more prevalent, its inevitable that new product releases and iterations will lead to fuller landfills. While it’s possible to recycle many electronics, many consumers still throw their electronics away in the regular trash.

Deschamps-Sonsino is currently involved in a project that would create certifications for environmentally friendly IoT products. The goal will be to help inform consumers of where the raw materials are coming from to create the product and how best to recycle it when its reached the end of its life. She believes manufacturers need to be held more accountable for their manufacturing practices and take more care in designing products that can be recycled or reused.

Until more formal certifications are commonplace, consumers should try to purchase technology that can be reused or passed on when it’s done.

Despite environmental concerns, the roll out of IoT infrastructure isn’t slowing down. Vodafone recently announced that it is going to develop IoT-specific networks in anticipation of the growth of new connected products. It’s estimated that Vodafone already boasts over 50 million pieces of IoT hardware connected to its legacy networks around the world. Approximately 1.5 million of them are in New Zealand. They range in functionality from monitoring electricity usage in the home to regulating driverless cars. As Vodafone rolls out these new networks, they estimate it will bring over $3 billion to New Zealand’s economy over the next decade.

                        

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