Market opened for wearable technology in Canada

WATERLOO, ON – Federal Industry Minister James Moore was at the University of Waterloo to unveil new electronic labelling regulations for telecommunication devices today.

0 October 3, 2014

In today’s digital world, Canadians own smaller devices that have more functionality than ever before: light smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and wearable glucose monitors. Manufacturers of these devices are increasingly burdened by the need to etch, engrave or use unsightly stickers to label this technology.

In some cases, devices marketed in other areas of the world cannot enter Canadian markets because of excessive bureaucracy that requires the label to be visible on the actual device. This has resulted in a drain on productivity and less choice for Canadian consumers.

Effective today, technology manufacturers will be able to give consumers mandatory information about their devices electronically. Canada is the sixth county worldwide to bring in e-labelling, opening Canada’s markets to the latest wireless wearable devices such as Google Glass and Apple Watch.

Steve Woods, engineering director, Google Canada said “the new generation of wearables places a premium on space and makes increasing demands of technology and design. E-labelling will produce cleaner products and make more information available for consumers.”

Electronic labelling – or e-labelling – can provide more information to consumers. Manufacturers can now add details about device warranties or even update labels remotely to address any inaccuracies, such as typographical errors.

These regulations will bring benefits for businesses and consumers and put Canada at the front of the pack in today’s global digital economy. By allowing manufacturers to use e-labelling, the government is reducing costs, administrative burdens and barriers to market for businesses, enabling them to get products into the hands of consumers more quickly. This is also a key component of the government’s Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, which aims to spur the economy by removing unnecessary paperwork.

Stephen Lake, co-founder and CEO, Thalmic Labs said “at Thalmic Labs, we believe that wearable and ubiquitous computing is the future. The flexibility to digitally including certification information is a definite plus as we consider industrial designs and manufacturing processes for future products.” Kitchener, ON-based Thalmic Labs has developed a gesture-based armband for controlling different devices wirelessly.

“E-labelling provides obvious benefits for electronic, electrical and IT and telecom manufacturers,” said Susan Winter, Vice President of the Consumer Electronics Marketers of Canada, including the Communications Solution Manufacturers Association, a division of Electro-Federation Canada.

“By eliminating the need for information to be displayed on the outside of the device with a label or etching, e-labelling reduces costs. It also provides greater flexibility for product design and helps reduce the time to market for new devices and equipment.

“Electro-Federation Canada supports this move, which aligns Canada with other international standards, including those of the U.S. For our 330 member companies that manufacture, distribute and service electrical, electronics and telecommunications products in Canada – contributing over $50 billion to the Canadian economy and employing more than 130,000 workers across Canada – it is an idea that makes sense.”

Quick facts

• The move towards e-labelling is estimated to benefit at least 75% of companies currently putting paper labels and etchings on their devices.
• E-labelling minimizes the impact on product design as there is no longer a need to make room for stickers or etchings, it eliminates the need for costly equipment used to etch information onto devices, and it reduces waste by eliminating the need for stickers.
• Consumers will continue to be protected because boxes and other packaging will contain a notice informing the buyer that the product inside is e-labelled.
• The North American telecommunications industry endorses e-labelling. It is already accepted practice in the U.S., Australia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Costa Rica.

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