Will the Internet of Things Change the ITAD Industry
It was only a few generations ago that protecting your personal data meant not keeping your driver’s license and checkbook in the same place. Today we spread our information across a variety of devices and platforms just in order to meet the functioning requirements of our day-to-day activities.
As we continue to add even more smart devices into our lives, we add new ways for bad actors to attack the security of our data, resources, and identity. Each new device is a possible data breach, and we’re about to start adding new devices in record numbers.
What is the Internet of Things?
During the next decade, you’re going to hear a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s the network of machines and devices that will communicate over networks without needing human interaction. It can include common networked items like your phone, smartwatch, or computers, but it’s going to expand to include smart devices like appliances, home climate control systems, lighting, personal assistants, and even some cars. We’re already experiencing it now, but as the 5G network begins to replace 4G across the country, it’s going to become a more common part of our everyday world.
Right now the number of connected devices worldwide is about 15 billion, but experts predict a five-fold increase in connected devices, putting us at about 75.4 billion worldwide in 2025. You’ll not only be hearing about the IoT soon, you’ll most likely be participating.
When we first started adding wi-fi to our homes, we could count the number of connected devices on one hand. How many are connected to your home network right now? And that’s just at home. As businesses sprint to compete in the marketplace, the amount of networked equipment adopted at the enterprise level is bound to skyrocket. As time marches forward, upgrades are inevitable, which means that a dramatic increase in the amount of past-prime equipment is inevitable.
In the past, old appliances and office hardware often ended up as charity donations, on the shelves of resale shops, or they just went straight into the dumpster. It may not have been the ideal way to retire these items, but it was certainly easy and nobody really questioned it. With the advent of interconnectivity, each of these pieces could be containing sensitive data that you wouldn’t want to just hand over to strangers.
Even if that data is only the password to your home or business wi-fi, it could be enough to give an enterprising dumpster diver a golden key into your network. Depending on the nature of the device, the information it contained could possibly be far more damaging if it got into the wrong hands. Anything from financial information to personal documentation and passwords could be ripe for the taking if you don’t properly dispose of obsolete, unused, or unwanted hardware.
The small size of a Roomba, coffee maker, or smartwatch makes it tempting to just throw them away (or at least throw them into a box to be dropped off at Goodwill), but anyone with a sense of the implications of the IoT will know that they need to exercise a bit of caution.
How is the ITAD Industry Going to Respond?
As ITAD vendors start to look forward, it’s important to embrace the challenges presented by the IoT. Smaller operations (or even individual households) may feel that they’re too small to be noticed or valued by an ITAD vendor, when in fact, a proper ITAD vendor is uniquely qualified to help them protect themselves.
In order to combat this misconception, both ITAD vendors and IT professionals on the business side need to make an effort to show that all data is significant, and anyone can become an ITAD customer.
For those of us in the ITAD business, this might mean nothing more than expanding our marketing efforts to include individuals, families, and small businesses. More enterprising ITAD vendors may even want to modify their business model and facilities to cater to this new market segment.
This might include expanding their mobile service, offering drive-thru options, or even providing online products to assist consumers in DIY-based ITAD methods. Even something as simple as creating a streamlined menu of services for those unfamiliar with ITAD operations could help educate this new group of customers.
Change is coming, and it’s coming fast. For those of us in the ITAD field, our ability to respond to shifting customer markets is going to be what sets apart the successful from the stagnant.
What about your business? Do you have a plan to make the Internet of Things part of your future success strategy? If you’re thinking about upgrading your network, get in touch with CDR Global and we’ll help you create a plan to make the switch as smoothly as possible while recapturing the maximum available value from any hardware that isn’t going with you into this exciting new chapter in your business.