How Much Gold is in Smartphones and Computers?

first_imgUPDATE: In January 2018, Dell announced an industry-first pilot to reuse gold from e-waste in millions of new motherboards including Latitude 5285 2-in-1.This post originally appeared in 2013 on the PowerMore site – a publication by Dell for news and analysis on technology, business and gadget-geek culture. You can learn about Dell’s approach to responsible mineral sourcing as part of our sustainable supply chain here on Direct2Dell.By Jim NashThere’s gold in them thar consumer electronics.Most people picture copper when they think about how electricity is conducted, probably because it’s the most common conductor. Silver is actually the best conductor, followed closely by gold. Copper is cheaper than precious metals, but it’s also much slower in transporting electrons than its glamorous siblings. In the world of computing and communications, speed is more important than cost, so copper remains relegated to construction and pennies.And as fast a conductor as silver is, it corrodes or tarnishes easily whenever it comes in contact with water — even with humid air. Corrosion is to electrons what fresh road tar would be to Olympic runners.Gold, on the other hand, is highly corrosion-resistant. So, while it’s not as fast as silver, it doesn’t fall apart like silver and is many times faster than copper.There is intrigue brewing in the electronics industry, though. Some manufacturers are looking at how quickly people upgrade their electronic devices to learn whether using gold is necessary.If consumers replace their devices faster than silver can break down, electronics companies may decide to depose gold as the ruler of conductors to fatten their margins. Why pay to install high-quality materials when so many buyers crave novelty more?Were this trend to take hold, devices would have shorter life spans, which would stifle resale markets and, not coincidentally, increase the flow of unwanted goods to recyclers.To learn more about gold and how it is removed from discarded devices, I spoke to Sean Magann, vice president of sales and marketing for Sims Recycling Solutions—North America, a division of the global re-use and recycling firm Sims Metal Management.How much gold is in a smartphone?Magann: In very rough numbers, there are 10 troy ounces of gold (or about three-fifths of a pound) per ton of smartphones. Ten thousand phones weigh one ton. [With gold selling for about $1,580 per ounce, that would yield $15,800.]How about a laptop?Magann: Two hundred laptops would yield five troy ounces of gold.How much is in an average desktop?Magann: A PC circuit board, where the gold is, weighs about a pound. If you had a ton of those boards, you should have 5 troy ounces of gold.Are there manufacturers that use more gold than others?Magann: Computer makers don’t make their circuit boards because they are commodity items. They buy them from third parties. The trend in using gold among all of those companies is definitely down. It’s a costly material, so they are looking for more efficient ways to make the boards, trying to use as little gold as possible.How long does it take to get all the gold out?Magann: Individuals can take apart a smartphone easily by hand, but the volume of gold is going to be small.It’s not uncommon for a developing nation to accept all kinds of trash from developed nations, including electronics, in return for cash. Local entrepreneurs typically burn circuit boards and use cyanide on the ash to separate the gold. That’s not what anyone would call a green process, but it is a cottage industry because it gets the job done reasonably inexpensively.We use a mechanical process, shredding computer components to quarter-inch bits to liberate the plastic, aluminum, steel, gold and other materials to create commodity streams. Magnets grab the steel. Eddy currents are used to propel non-ferrous metals (including precious metals) from plastics.Is shredding computers the best way to get at the gold?Magann: There are lots of interesting ideas for technologies that could possibly be better, but it’s hard to compete against developing nations that are manually breaking things down, often in environmentally unfriendly ways. Doing it almost any other way to protect the environment is going to be more expensive.Jim Nash is an award-winning business, tech and science journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Economist Group and Scientific American.last_img read more

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Making the Business Case for IT

first_imgOne of the biggest challenges IT organizations face is building executive mindshare, but in today’s world, it’s critical.IT organizations have been trained to think of their value in terms of CAPEX and return on investment. While these are undoubtedly important to the bottom-line, they are not game-changers.To be relevant tomorrow, IT organizations have to adopt a business-down, customer-centric view of the data center and their roles within it.They need to be thinking about aligning IT investments to business goals, not just about improving performance or recovery SLAs. They did need to get out of the data center vacuum.This means thinking about how IT – and data protection too, can be used to bring new applications online faster, reach new customers, deliver new value, drive innovation and outpace competitors. And they need to make sure they’re positioned to take advantage of the benefits that the third platform will enable.If you caught our keynote at EMC World, you heard the folks at Wells Fargo, Sub-Zero Group, and Nielsen talk about how they’re continuously innovating around IT, and how they’re redefining data protection within their organizations.While these three organizations are at very different stages of transformation and have very different environments, they share a “boardroom” view of IT, and this is huge.Regardless of how much data they have, what applications they used to create it, or where their data resides (mainframe, private cloud, etc.), making sure this data is accessible anytime, anywhere, and on any platform or device is their #1 priority. It’s about understanding customers’ needs and delivering the tools internally to meet those needs.In this way, the journey we’re on in the IT world is not unlike the one we’ve been on in the music world. The music’s the same (okay, unquestionably, it was better in the 80s), but the way it’s delivered (i.e., the way customers are consuming it) has changed dramatically. The question is who would you rather be: Sony, Blockbuster, Apple, or Pandora?Like Wells Fargo, Sub-Zero Group, and Nielsen, we’re all on a journey, and it’s our goal to do more than just help you build the business case for IT.You’re going to hear a lot from us in the coming months about:New consumption models: Organizations need to be thinking of IT in “as a Service” terms, and this means delivering Data Protection as a Service (DPaaS) in the cloud, in mainframe environments or in physical environments. Here, multi-tenancy and APIs will be key, allowing organizations to basically manage themselves.Increased visibility and control for the data owners across the organization. This means getting much closer to the applications themselves and amping up self-provisioning.Broad spectrum data protection: Organizations need to provide a data protection continuum. On the RTO/RPO scale, this means providing services all the way from cold storage on a deep archive to high availability on primary storage.Those of you who know me or were at EMC World last month, know I love music, but have never managed to actually click with playing it, which has been somewhat frustrating. But what I find cool is being able to listen to it on whatever format I feel like at the time – whether it’s my tricked-out record deck or through streaming media. Similarly, it’s rewarding to help organizations transform regardless of what platform or stage of the IT journey they are on. In the end, it’s all music to our ears.If you’ve been following my “Five Things Our Kids’ Kids Won’t Know” series, you know the magnitude of change that’s ahead.Exciting? Definitely, although I’m a bit nostalgic for the days when stores were closed on Sundays and kids learned to drive on stick shifts. Scary? A bit, but life without challenge is, well, a bit boring.last_img read more

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Teeing Up with EMC: Callaway’s IT Transformation

first_imgAs the company rapidly digitizes business processes and strategy, Callaway tells us that IT infrastructure plays a vital role in maintaining market leadership and supporting application workloads to enhance total customer experience. For example:Marketing must continue to improve the total customer experience and performance of their custom-club offering. Callaway helps clients customize – and then quickly build – a club with precision-tuned loft, shaft, weight and other characteristics geared to individual playing styles.R&D continually analyzes how the slightest club variations impact performance. Powerful CAD systems enable them to design and test the smallest of changes using hundreds of gigabytes of data.Business operations run on SAP. The better its performance, the better Callaway can streamline shipping, control inventory and manufacturing volume, and optimize retail supply chains. All must be supported by a massive data-intensive reporting and analysis capability.Before EMC, the Callaway team reports that their IT was challenged to handle diverse application workloads. Business process bottlenecks occurred due to a lack of available data copies that are essential to help drive on-demand analytics and development efforts. For many of these business process requests, IT struggled to deliver.Callaway’s IT transformation began with core storage technology. EMC® VNX® storage and EMC data protection solutions contributed to a major improvement in capacity (due to the data reduction services provided by EMC Data Domain® and EMC Avamar® appliances and software), in the amount of simultaneous workloads they could support, and in the speed at which they completed tasks. The results were significant, so much so that Callaway took another step, consolidating and accelerating the database workloads and business process agility of its entire SAP system by implementing the EMC XtremIO® all flash array.Today, Callaway’s sales, marketing and operations teams benefit from the improved IT performance that helps accelerate their custom-built products and stay tuned to an increasingly global and tech-savvy consumer base. It used to take five days (or more) to receive the custom specifications, get the order into manufacturing, and ship it to the customer. Today, because of major performance gains enabled by their EMC storage infrastructure, new clubs can be custom-designed online, built and shipped the day after an order is received.The resource contention, performance issues, and process agility challenges that Callaway experienced supporting R&D’s design and testing efforts have significantly improved. Callaway generates hundreds of gigabytes of data on thousands of golf club designs simultaneously. This data is copied and instantly available across many teams. Today with the help of EMC VNX storage, Callaway experiences predictably high IT systems performance and availability, even under peak workloads.The same improvements also extend across Callaway’s shipping, distribution, analysis and reporting operations. That transformation also sits on the shoulders of XtremIO, running their SAP environment, and on Callaway’s infrastructure with breakthrough application performance (latency and IOPS) and storage cost efficiency with XtremIO’s powerful data reduction capabilities. Callaway continues to leverage VNX for many of its cost-sensitive, high-capacity file/block use cases.The improvements reach every corner of the business. Today, Callaway more accurately predicts inventory and manufacturing requirements and streamlines shipping to the retail chain. And as far as reporting goes, Callaway has cut the time to complete analytics and reporting tasks in half.The Callaway IT transformation with EMC—from sprawling to sleek, and from uncertain to peak performance—delivers great value across the enterprise. With EMC infrastructure, they’re able to reach the market faster, with better product and more innovative designs. The company is streamlining the costs of doing business. And it’s generating smarter, faster intelligence to help drive profitability.In the world of golf club manufacturing, that’s how you stay at the top of the leader board.Learn more about the IT partnership between Callaway Golf and EMC here. Golf is one of the world’s grand old games. Ironically, the most advanced technologies ensure it stays that way.Callaway Golf Company is a prime example. The world’s largest golf club manufacturer with a presence in 110 countries, Callaway competes in an intense market and faces added pressure from a softening global economy. IT transformation is front and center in Callaway’s strategy to stay in front of the pack, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that IT transforms itself from a point of resistance to a point of reliance.last_img read more

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Dell Names Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

first_imgInclusivity is the cornerstone of our culture at Dell. Embracing the unique perspectives of our 140,000 employees around the world not only makes for a welcoming workplace where our teams thrive, but we’re also able to better serve our entire customer base by reflecting their diverse perspectives. Put simply, a diverse range of ideas, perspectives and experience drives innovation, and so when we cultivate a culture of inclusivity, both our employees and our customers win.Earlier this month, we celebrated the one year anniversary of Dell’s combination with EMC by reflecting on our achievements over the past year, including our commitments to a diverse and inclusive workforce. We build on our commitment to a culture of inclusion today with the announcement of Brian Reaves as Dell’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.An experienced technology executive with a track record of success in advancing diversity and inclusion within the technology industry, Brian joins us from SAP, where he most recently led the development and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives across the company. Over the past 30 years, Brian has driven business and technology innovation as an engineer, executive and diverse leader at both established companies and start-ups. His perspective on diversity and inclusion in relation to customer innovation and business value will have a tremendous impact on our company and industry.Brian’s leadership will further Dell’s rich history of celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion. Brian will partner with leaders and employees across Dell to continue our internal commitments, including our 34,000 strong Employee Resource Group (ERG) community and our program to engage leaders in candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace. He will also build upon our external commitments, including partnering with our global operations team on our supplier diversity program, which sees Dell spend more than $4 billion a year with certified women-owned, minority-owned suppliers and small businesses, as well as our industry partnerships with leading groups including the Human Rights Campaign, Catalyst, Black Enterprise, the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and The Partnership. Brian has the enthusiastic support of Dell’s entire leadership team to drive programs and initiatives that will make meaningful impact to both our employees and customers.Dell was founded with the purpose to drive human progress through the power of technology. We strive to fulfill that purpose each day by embracing all people, opportunities and ideas through a diverse workforce and culture of inclusion.last_img read more

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A View from the Road: The Network Edge

first_imgFollowing a long trip to Australia in which I had the opportunity to visit with Telstra, and be fortunate enough to offer a keynote on Transforming Communications Service Provider Infrastructure at the Telstra Product Engineering Technology Symposium, I am reflecting on the many opportunities to drive innovation, internally to Dell EMC and externally in the telecommunications industry. I’ve given keynotes and expressed my own personal and professional views on how the industry will evolve, the core technologies driving that evolution, and both a look back at how far we’ve come in driving network virtualization and software programmability and lament how far we still have to go to enable operational transformation.For me, the Telstra Symposium this week was not about reflection or looking at the challenges still facing the telecommunications industry. It was a celebration of innovation – an opportunity to navigate through the tactile Internet and marvel at rows of drones modified to communicate over cellular networks and robots interacting with people in real-time, to watch artificial intelligence put into practice, video evolved, and virtual reality becoming real. What was unique about this experience is that it was not a massive tradeshow, with all of the marketing and polish of live demonstrations, but instead over 40 teams engineering and sharing their creations alongside Dell EMC and 20 other industry partners.At the center of all of this transformation was perhaps the most inconspicuous enabler of all of these experiences – the network edge demonstrations. We, as an industry, have wrestled with the nomenclature quite a bit – we call it Fog Computing or Central Office Re-Architected as a Datacenter (CORD) or Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) – but the objective is the same – to enable the next generation set of services that are real-time, data-intensive, interactive, and video-rich by moving network services and applications closer to the access networks, on a virtualized platform optimized for the network edge.What Does This Network Edge Platform Look Like?I hear this question quite a bit – what does the network edge platform look like? More importantly, what does “optimized for the network edge” mean?At its foundation, the network edge platform is a combination of compute /storage/ networking, cloud technologies and network virtualization technologies, delivered in a way that accounts for the most pertinent characteristics of the edge itself:As part of the network, the edge has to take on characteristics similar to other network facilities, from the customer premise and backhaul aggregation facilities to Points of Presence (PoPs) and regional data centers.Network workloads, such as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), will reside on the network edge platform, but not in the same way that we are seeing NFV being instantiated today – we will see both the platform and functions get disaggregated.Enabled by a combination of containers and virtual machines, the network edge platform will rely on controllers and schedulers that are no longer geographically co-located with the data processing nodes.The functions, as microservices, will split into control planes, user / data planes, and state machines, allowing for independent optimization and scaling techniques to be applied. In short, network functions become two-tiered applications (front-end, back-end).The user / data planes will be enabled through increased accelerators, both those residing in server platforms, such as FPGAs and Smart NICs, and through SDN-enabled merchant silicon and programmable ASICs.Dell EMC Telstra Symposium demonstration – SD-WAN, Lean PoPs and network edge platformWhat Does This Mean?To me, it means that searching to understand whether the network edge lives simultaneously in the network and the cloud. Attempting to operationalize the network edge in only one does a great injustice to the other. The network edge is a domain in and of itself, and should be treated as such.At the conference, I had the chance to see Dell EMC architects and Telstra engineers both emphasize the innovation happening at the network edge, with technologies such as “Lean PoPs”, mobile CORD (M-CORD), multi-cloud and multi-domain orchestration. These demonstrations weren’t the flashiest and didn’t gather the largest crowds, but in the future, when I am connecting to a 5G network to communicate with things that are communicating with other things autonomously, I am certain that the experience will be enabled by innovations at the network edge.last_img read more

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Berlin man caught directing flight traffic with radio

first_imgBERLIN (AP) — German police say a 32-year-old Berlin man has been arrested on allegations he made radio contact with aircraft, including police helicopters, and gave fake flight orders while impersonating an aviation official. Authorities said Friday that the man was arrested Thursday night in the German capital. Police were able to swoop in on his apartment after he made contact with a police helicopter that was dispatched to the neighborhood in the hope of flushing him out. During a search of his home, police found two radios that transmitted on the frequencies needed to make contact with aircraft.last_img read more

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State agency bungles ballot referendum for child sex victims

first_imgHARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Victims of child sexual abuse might have to wait two years or more to pursue legal claims because of a major bureaucratic bungle that prompted angry denunciations across the political spectrum and the resignation of a top Pennsylvania state official. The Wolf administration disclosed Monday that a proposed state constitutional amendment allowing lawsuits over decadesold claims wasn’t advertised as required and so cannot appear on the ballot this spring. As a result, no statewide referendum to add it to the state constitution may be possible before 2023. The Department of State is calling it “simple human error” and Gov. Tom Wolf is apologizing.last_img read more

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