Five steps to more sustainable mobile computing
With ESG targets becoming a boardroom priority, small changes to your IT strategy impact could have a big effect on your environment standing and the world around you
Author: Lisbeth Lashmana, Head of European Marketing TOUGHBOOK, Panasonic Connect
This Saturday, World Earth Day 2023 will challenge organisations and consumers alike to make more sustainable choices and ‘Invest in Our Planet’.
With sustainability increasingly becoming a boardroom priority, IT buyers are playing a vital role in leading this investment into creating more sustainable business practices.
Intelligent technologies such as IoT and machine learning are a popular example of this. From smart light switches and thermostats to route optimisation software, these investments help organisations to reduce their wasted resources and function more sustainably on a day-to-day basis.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is now a well-established mantra for those looking to make smarter choices of the planet. So, in addition to implementing new technologies to improve sustainability efforts, organisations need to shift their approach to the technologies they already employ each day.
Mobile computing brings connectivity and productivity to workforces in a whole host of industries, but research from Circular Computing found that producing a new laptop creates an average of 331kgs of CO2 emissions. By extending the lifecycle of each device in an organisation, business leaders can reduce this impact in the long-term while improving their ROI.
So how can these devices be used more sustainably within a business, and what small choices can extend device lifecycles to minimise their environmental impact?
1. Bringing sustainability into the day-to-day
Easy behavioural changes and tactics to extend the battery life of a device can contribute to an overall reduction in CO2 emissions. A power plan, designed to lock or shut down devices left unused after a certain time, minimises the amount of energy that your fleet uses on a daily basis and improves security.
Similarly, lowering the brightness level on the screen of a device reduces the power output, and for certain mobile users this carries a large impact. For field workers operating in bright sunlight, investing in products with anti-glare screens reduces the need for high brightness, helping users to make small, efficient choices on a day-to-day basis.
2. Involve your workforce from the outset
To make more sustainable mobile computing decisions, it helps to have the right mindset from the outset. By bringing your workforce into your purchasing decisions, you will ensure that you invest in the right devices for their specific needs.
Simple considerations such as ease of use during mobile or hands-on tasks and suitability for the environment can determine the long-term success of a deployment in your business. Piloting programmes are essential to making sure that the right choice is made first time, boosting ROI and extending the long-term success of each deployment. For example, a device with a short battery life or poor connectivity is a bad fit for an ambulance worker in rural environments, where the efficiency and reliability of the device is vital to the health of the public.
According to our Sustainability Gap survey, half of IT buyers still do not pilot new devices before purchase, making this a valuable first step in extending your device lifecycle.
3. Ensure long-term investments with rugged fleets
Mobile workforces operate in challenging environments, and their computing devices need to be as tough as them. There are many pressures that could reduce the lifespan of a computing device, whether it be water damage for utilities professionals working with water pipes or broken screens on docked forklift terminals, so the right device should be ruggedised against these risks with IP65 to IP68 ratings and high vibration resistance.
Investing in robust devices is not just the best financial decision long-term, but it is the truly sustainable choice.
4. Redeploy devices across your business
Mobile computing is a lynchpin for modern organisations and can be employed in a wide range of use cases. Once a device in your fleet has served its initial purpose, consider whether it could be used in another department to extend the lifecycle of your device and make the carbon investment last longer.
Devices with a modular design are optimal for redeployment. Modular features such as expansion ports, programmable buttons, and even holster accessories allow new users to adapt a device for new tasks and requirements. Prioritising flexibility this way allows you to streamline your fleet and repurpose investments long after initial purchase.
5. Seek suppliers that share your values
At Panasonic, we continuously looking to the future to drive sustainable innovation. That’s why we do everything we can to extend the life of our technology, minimising waste and supporting the circular economy.
In our recent Sustainability Gap survey of over 750 mobile technology buyers, we found that, despite wanting to make sustainable decisions, organisations are stuck in a four-year cycle of refreshing their computing devices. By offering modular, rugged computing to mobile workforces and supporting devices for up to five years after their end of life, we make it easier for our customers to make sustainable, long-term investments.
Alongside supporting our customer’s sustainability ambitions, Panasonic is committed to achieving net-zero CO2 emissions across all direct operations by 2030. As part of this, TOUGHBOOK devices ship in plastic-free packaging and all precious metals within the devices are recovered at end of life as part of The Royal Mint programme in the UK.
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