Government okays e-labelling for wearable technology

The federal government is allowing manufacturers of mobile devices and wearable technology to present government and industry required label information electronically in lieu of physical labels or nameplates.

This makes Canada the sixth nation to adopt so called electronic labelling which allows manufacturers to use digital means of attaching product information on their devices. E-labelling is already an accepted practice in the United States, Australia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Costa Rica.

Industry Canada said 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.

“Today’s announcement marks another step our government is taking to help Canadian businesses and consumers take full advantage of the digital economy,” Industry Minister James Moore, said when announced the new e-labelling regulations at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ont. “Through e-labelling, both consumers and manufacturers will benefit from access to new markets.”

Manufacturers of devices such as smart phones, tablets, smart watches and wearable health monitors are increasingly burdened by “the need to etch, engrave or use unsightly stickers to label their technology,” according to the Industry Canada.

In many cases, the devices are too small to accommodate physical labels and in some cases “devices marketed in other areas of the world cannot enter Canadian markets because of excessive bureaucracy that require the label to be visible on the actual device.”

Manufacturers will also be able add details about device warranties or even update the labels remotely to address any inaccuracies, such as typographical errors.

E-labelling will minimize the impact on product design, according to Industry Canada, because there will no longer been a need to make room for stickers, or etchings. It will also eliminate the need for costly equipment used to etch information onto devices.

According to the Industry Canada Web site, information on e-labelling for devices with an integral (non-removable) screen must include:

  • Industry Canada registration number for terminal equipment devices, certification number for radio equipment; and model identification number
  • Any other information required to be provided on the surface of the device unless such information is permitted to be included in the User’s Manual or other packaging inserts

Information accessible requirements are:

  •  Users must be provided clear instructions on how to access the regulatory information stored electronically without requiring special access codes or accessories or having to go through more than three steps in a device menu
  •  Users need to be provided specific instructions easily accessible by the average user and included in the User’s Manual, operating instructions, packaging material inserts or product related Web site
  • The authorization application must clearly include the instructions for accessing information as part of the label exhibit

“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,” said Susan Winter, vice president of the Consumer Electronics Marketers of Canada, “The new electronic labelling changes will unzip new opportunities for manufacturers, allowing them to take advantage of the best technology has to offer.”



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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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