E-Cycling Nortel Gear

Greg Galitzine : Green Blog
Greg Galitzine
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E-Cycling Nortel Gear

Jeff Wiener's excellent The TelecomBlog.com contains a prescient entry discussing and a pic showing old Nortel phones going into an Avaya box. Prescient in that Avaya is awaiting word from the Canadian government whether it can complete its $915 million purchase of Nortel's enterprise division.

Jeff, who writes TMC's The Canadan Angle blog explains that Avaya gives his firm Digitcom, which is based in Toronto, Ontario "some amazing credits for the old Nortel hardware. We pack it up, call Fedex, and say good-bye to our old faithful friend who finds its way to an e-waste processing plant."

Avaya, and other manufacturers, should get ready to expect to receive more Nortel e-waste now that once-vaunted communications equipment maker is being dismembered at the same time more firms are switching to VoIP, softphones, hosted platforms, and smartphones. 

While Avaya will if it is successful continue to support the Nortel lines, and the sets that are out there are for the most part rugged and well made the writing is on the wall for them. 

After all, what is a better time and reason than now to buy or get the budget approval to switch to that new IP phone that you've always wanted? While the economy is still slack, the prices are reasonable, and the sellers are hungry?

The interesting question from an environmental perspective is how much new junk will be produced per employee with these new technologies compared with the old ones. Smartphones are becoming de facto disposable fashion items. The sophisticated headsets you need with softphones last 2 maybe 3 years in unforgiving mobile or contact center environments. In contrast an AT&T/Lucent/Avaya or Nortel set can last 10 to 20 years. 

Perhaps here's the challenge for Avaya: how about coming up with an "e-set" of reused, reusable, low-impact/low-toxic materials, perhaps partner with a headset maker to devise likewise, and make the money off software hosting and upgrades i.e. "appliance-as-a-service"?  And while it is at it come up with the same kinds of guts for smartphones and in doing so lob one at Ericsson, Nokia, RIM et al? 

IOW keep the box, keep the headset, and change the programming. The combination of low prices and e-friendliness would make it worth while in more ways than one to trade in, and recycle a Nortel or another phone system.

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