Last week, I watched a very entertaining TED talk titled “Wireless data from every light bulb”, delivered by Harald Haas. In this talk, I learned that Harald was using light pulses from bulbs in a variety of communications applications. One potential application he thought was relevant to today’s needs was to get traffic lights to communicate with cars to avoid road accidents.
So, if something as trivial as a light bulb can be put to countless different useful applications, it got me thinking about what kind of applications could companies have with telecom equipment that comes out of the network.
The logical first question in this thought process is to identify why equipment would come off of the network. There could be three reasons for this –
- Your company is upgrading the network to enhance functionality and service provision capabilities.
- Your company wants to ensure common equipment platform across legacy companies post mergers/acquisitions for smoother operations.
- There is malfunctioning equipment that needs to come out of your network to prevent outages for customers.
Next you’d want to list out all the potential options for this equipment. Here are some common applications of used telecom gear –
- Refurbish and Redeploy – If equipment comes out from one place in the network, it can easily be provisioned right back at another place after being refurbished.
- Spares/Inventory in Warehouse – Yes, option 1 might not work out in some cases. But, if the gear is still being used in the network, the spare parts can be inventoried.
- Resell – There are a lot of avenues to resell used telecom equipment on the internet. The amount of money a buyer would pay for such used equipment would however be affected by numerous factors, the discussion of which would be beyond the scope of this post. I think that another interesting discussion (maybe for a future post) would be around how the price points affect tax write-offs, depreciation, etc. and the seller’s liabilities involved in the transaction.
- Targeted Sell – There’s a secondary market which specializes in targeted selling to companies in countries where the equipment could still be used profitably for a lower grade service catering to the local market demands. It could be challenging to find such a market and establish a seller reputation. In addition, there could also be international regulatory rules to adhere to if the customer is overseas.
- In-house R&D – If light bulbs can “talk”, definitely smarter telecom equipment can do more than just “talk”. In house R&D could develop innovative and ingenious applications of these telecom gears to enable companies to continue to use equipment profitably much after the normal life cycle.
- Recycle – When all else fails, companies throw the equipment into the large blue bins.
Even though companies can do so much with their old telecom gear, there is one more place it could be sent to – your local college or university. Students would love to acquire these in their labs where they can conduct experiments. Some companies even leverage the student community to augment their in house R&D efforts by creating industry-university tie-ups with local universities. This kind of relationship is beneficial to students as well as to companies.
So what are we missing? How are you disposing of old telecom gear? We would love to receive comments from our readers about what they do differently with their equipment.