Electronic Products & Technology

News

Feds open up wearable tech market in Canada


Technology manufacturers will be able to give consumers mandatory information about their telecommunication devices as a result of new electronic labeling regulations rolled out by Federal Industry Minister James Moore. Canada is the sixth county worldwide to bring in e-labeling, opening Canada’s markets to the latest wireless wearable devices such as Google Glass and Apple Watch.

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

“Today’s announcement marks another step our government is taking to help Canadian businesses and consumers take full advantage of the digital economy,” Moore says. “Through e-labelling, both consumers and manufacturers will benefit from access to new market devices.”

According to Moore, 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.

“The new electronic labelling changes will unzip new opportunities for manufacturers, allowing them to take advantage of the best technology has to offer. Today, with miniaturization, material innovation, and e-labelling, technology can become invisible to the point it can be applied to or embedded into practically any personal accessory,” says Karna Gupta, president and CEO, Information Technology Association of Canada.

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.

“At Thalmic Labs, we believe that wearable and ubiquitous computing is the future. The flexibility to digitally include certification information is a definite plus as we consider industrial designs and manufacturing processes for future products,” says Stephen Lake, co-founder and CEO, Thalmic Labs.

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 United States, Australia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Costa Rica.