Earlier today, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed off stickers that would give car buyers standardized info on a particular model’s fuel economy and environmental impact. Gadgets should have standardized ratings, too.
When buying gadgets, comparison is paramount. There are inevitably a hundred TVs that fit the general requirements you’ve set out, a few dozen Blu-ray players, and a handful of smartphones. In many cases, it ends up being a process of elimination, and standardized gadget ratings would ensure that that process was a fair and informed one.
As our society comes to terms with the direness of our energy situation, and as the idea of “green” transforms from buzzy marketing bullshit to something that our gadgets actually have to be, it will be essential to have real, digestible data on how the electronics we use impact the environment. Some considerations here could include:
• Power consumption: how much gadgets use when they’re plugged in and operating; how much they use when they’re plugged in and not being used.
• Materials: how environmentally friendly are the materials used in a product.
• Supply chain: under what conditions were the products manufactured, and from what countries did their parts originate.
• Durability: how many use cycles a product can be expected to last for.
• Disposability: how long a product, or its packaging, will take to degrade in various situations.
Some terms and standards for addressing these issues are already floating around. “Vampire draw” is a more colorful way to talk about the power our gadgets quietly suck while they’re plugged in but not in use, and since 1992 Energy Star has been giving consumers a vague notion that their products were gobbling up a little less energy than they could be. But if you walked into a Best Buy and asked the people inside—the people buying things and the people selling them—what standards were required of any given product for it to bear the Energy Star sticker, how many of them would have any clue? Not very many, I imagine.
Green stats are just the start; similar standardized ratings could overhaul the way we evaluate all our devices’ specs. Sure, many of the ones you might consider when buying a new gadget are objective: Megapixels. Processor speeds. Screen sizes. But why do we blindly trust the companies that make our gadgets to faithfully report things like battery life? Why do we have to rely on websites to run benchmarks for every new machine that comes out? Here are just a few things that could be tested by a third party:
• Battery life: standardized tests for various usage scenarios. For a music player this could mean playing straight through, on shuffle, or selecting particular songs and scrubbing to a particular moment.
• Benchmarks: tests for CPUs and GPUs.
• Power on and shut down times: tests that would show how long various models take to turn on completely, shut down completely, go into a sleep state, wake up from a sleep state, etc.
• Display: a standardized test for brightness, color reproduction, etc.
• Wireless reception: how strong of a signal devices get with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
• Noise: how loud larger products like desktops, appliances, etc. are while operating.
Things like stock specs and Energy Star standards are a start, but only that. Establishing standardized tests for aspects of performance and power consumption—and, perhaps, as the EPA has suggested for the auto industry, assigning a letter grade based on those numbers—would help keep consumers informed and companies honest.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
Collaborators – Digital Profs
- Coke vs Pepsi vs Dr Pepper
- Netflix vs Blockbuster - Perfect example of an industry replaced by a more efficient version of itself
- Marketing Costs Normalized to CPM Basis for Comparison
- The JKWeddingDance video was real; the viral effect was MANUFACTURED - Post 1 of 2
- Netflix Pricing Plan Changes 2011
- drag2share: How Taco Bell's Lead Innovator Created The Most Successful Menu Item Of All Time
- Mobile OS Version Fragmentation Android vs iOS
- drag2share: This Project Is Going Absolutely Bonkers On Kickstarter, Raising $101,000 In 29 Hours
- Are Consumers “Falling Out of Love” With Brands?
- Brand Advertisers: Escaping an Ecosystem of Digital Advertising Fraud
- #SESNY: Toward a Performance Mindset for All Advertising
- Tips for Marketers Selecting a Digital Agency
- Context Is Not King or Queen; It's Just Necessary
- 2013 New Year's Digital Marketing Resolutions
- The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Online Campaign Ratings and eGRPs
- Why You Should Banish the Net Promoter Score Immediately
- Digital Strategy To-MAY-to vs. To-MAH-to
- The Agency-Client Relationship is Forever Changed
- Targeting vs. Privacy - Who Will Win?
- March 2014 (55)
- February 2014 (167)
- January 2014 (222)
- December 2013 (167)
- November 2013 (111)
- October 2013 (116)
- September 2013 (214)
- August 2013 (210)
- July 2013 (200)
- June 2013 (87)
- May 2013 (87)
- April 2013 (70)
- March 2013 (114)
- February 2013 (89)
- January 2013 (136)
- December 2012 (96)
- November 2012 (130)
- October 2012 (147)
- September 2012 (94)
- August 2012 (93)
- July 2012 (112)
- June 2012 (71)
- May 2012 (82)
- April 2012 (80)
- March 2012 (122)
- February 2012 (114)
- January 2012 (129)
- December 2011 (60)
- November 2011 (54)
- October 2011 (29)
- September 2011 (17)
- August 2011 (30)
- July 2011 (18)
- June 2011 (19)
- May 2011 (23)
- April 2011 (23)
- March 2011 (52)
- February 2011 (69)
- January 2011 (108)
- December 2010 (82)
- November 2010 (67)
- October 2010 (68)
- September 2010 (44)
- August 2010 (101)
- July 2010 (61)
- June 2010 (28)
- May 2010 (28)
- April 2010 (26)
- March 2010 (33)
- February 2010 (21)
- January 2010 (12)
- December 2009 (4)
- November 2009 (2)
- October 2009 (14)
- September 2009 (6)
- August 2009 (19)
- July 2009 (34)
- June 2009 (11)
- May 2009 (4)
- April 2009 (6)
- March 2009 (13)
- February 2009 (32)
- January 2009 (25)
- December 2008 (1)
- October 2008 (1)
- June 2008 (1)
- November 2007 (1)