Friday, August 14, 2009

Samsung Reclaim & Sprint_Greening the Wireless Experience

Samsung is coming out with an innovative new ecologically inspired qwerty keyboard phone at a low price point. Of course it's green or ocean blue colored to inspire eco-friendly allegience and has striking styling along with it. The phones will be available through Sprint which is also offering some unique choices for consumers with it's wireless phone recycling programs, upgrading both new stores and retrofitting existing retail stores to align with LEED standards. A recent press release from Sprint details the phone release and their various sustainability efforts on a wide variety of fronts.

Sprint with Samsung is focusing on greening the wireless experience of using, maintaining, purchasing and recycling their phone products. This type of comprehensive program sets an example to other retailers in related products and services industries who are looking to be leaders and innovators while embracing green and ecologically postive values. Whether it's using the end product, interacting on a web-site or at a physcial store transmitting a consistent and committed message, it is vital to convince consumers of the integrity of the efforts while enriching the overall brand.

Apparently the retail store sustainbility upgrading and redesigns will begin to take effect in September of this year. It will be interesting how widely felt this conversion will be and what regions of the country will recieve these revamped more ecologically friendly stores. The press release outlined a fairly typical design approach of responding to LEED criteria by appropriately designing interior finishes, fixtures and equipment as well as shifting retail store operational behavior to align with these values. I wonder how different or similar these stores will be as compared to earlier ones?

What's inspired here is Sprint and Samsung's efforts are just yet another example of the traction of the green / sustainability movement in the retail consumer oriented sector. As design professionals we live and breath this way of thinking (hopefully every day) but these shifts in thinking underscore the penetration and carrying capacity of the green movement. National level retailers and service providers are taking notice and beginning to act accordingly. By embeding these goals directly into various core areas of their businesses through committed actions and programs, these two companies are leading the way for others to follow.

Their efforts offer a snapshot for other companies to examine how to express similar values outwardly to consumers. I'm sure these programs didn't develop overnight but likely took years of careful comprehensive building and planning to get where they are today. My question is how will this look in five or ten years? Will efforts like Sprint's be mere anomolies or evidence of an industry waking up to a responsibility and oppourtunity to do act proactively. In what ways will the bar be risen to incoporate even higher standards or expectations? What would they be? I don't know. In the meanwhile, I hope these efforts pay off for Sprint and Samsung.

Hey imagine dialing up on your fancy Sprint / Samsung Reclaim phone your GooglePower meter mentioned in the last post to monitor your home or businesses energy use on your regional "Smart Grid" while bicycling or walking to work, school or on errands. Wouldn't that be a vision!

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