What Is the Value of Our Connected Devices? And Should We Sell, Hoard, or Donate?


The challenge of what we do with unused IoT devices that we own is a challenging one. I’m sure I’m not the only person with more than one smart device at home. Mine include fitness trackers and smart pet toys our cat dislikes, and they sit in a drawer unused.  I asked a few friends who all shared they had smart programs they didn’t use. All were reluctant to throw them out because of e-waste. Every year, over 50 million tons of electronic waste is created, but only 12.5 percent of this is recycled. Some thought they might gift them away as they had with earlier model mobile phones, while others sat on their purchases thinking they might be of some value in the future. 

Online marketplace OnBuy.com recently conducted a survey to determine what US consumers thought to be the most valuable tech area to resell in years to come, amongst other insights. It revealed that over 49 percent of survey respondents believe they could make between 26 and 50 percent profit at resale.

44 percent of those surveyed believe home technologies such as Alexa, Google Home, smart thermostats, etc.will increase the most in value in the future. This was followed by personal tech, such as wearables and smartphones at 27 percent. Gaming tech such as VR/AR, portable consoles and wireless headphones came third place, with 19 percent of consumers believing they’ll be able to resell for the most profit. Interestingly only 10 percent of people thought drones would increase in value. 

What Are the Challenges of a Smart Home When We Sell or Move Houses? 

Stacey on IoT’s Stacey Higginbotham recently shared her experienced moving house, choosing to sell some smart home products with her home and take others with her. She explained: “Decommissioning your gadgets will take three times the time you expect, and you will forget one. And that one you forget will be the one that doesn’t allow you to reset or delete it from your phone.”

She further advises:

“You should start this process well in advance because some devices may require a bit more action (and notably, some in-person actions) from you as part of the decommissioning process. For example, my Nest thermostat required me to delete devices on the app and to physically reset the product at the thermostat. Make sure that you check the app to delete your home as well as the device. It will make it less complicated when you install other devices from that same brand in your new home.”

Is Amazon After the Key to a Circular Economy? 

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In pre-beta test mode, Amazon After. It’s a platform that not only tracks your purchases on Amazon and their value but enables you to sell those items, give their away, have them repaired, lend them, or dispose of them responsibly. Helpfully, you can also see how much time is left on any active warranties. IoT enabled devices can report to Amazon After and notify you if they haven’t been used in a while:

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Further, if your product is broken or damaged, Amazon After takes care of it too, by shipping the rest of the spare parts along with your product to the next user. Selling your camera? The platform can supply a new battery to the user, or an SD Card. The service fills in the blanks wherever necessary, giving you the ability to sell as easily as you buy.

Selling connected devices predictably have a number of security considerations. In the UK eBay competitor, Swappa allows for the sale of smart home and wearable devices. Device serial numbers are checked prior to sale to prevent fraudulent activity, and more importantly, sellers are advised to follow the account deletion process on the device, app and/or web portal and check the device to ensure that their personal details are removed.  

The problem of what we do with e-waste is only going to get worse as more and more connected devices appear on the market. Second-hand retail is one way to reduce the impact of older devices. More critically, we should be exploring the ways devices can be upgraded and modified to avoid obsolescence. 

This article was originally published here