Washington DC, July 1st 2021 – TIC Council, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and ASTM joined forces to shine a spotlight on the need for new and evolving standards to safeguard consumer safety as the connected consumer devices market rapidly expands.
With the global IoT market expected to more than triple in size to an estimated $188bn in 2027, according to research firm Total Telecom, new IoT innovations will bring convenience and efficiency to daily lives across the US and globally.
However, this unprecedented use of connected devices - from fitness trackers to smart household appliances to smart toys - also brings potential safety hazards.
Speaking at an industry event to launch a new study on the value of the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry, expert panellists from CPSC - the US’ leading consumer safety regulatory body, independent TIC companies, and ASTM International, outlined the importance of anticipating the potential risks of physical harm from new technologies and having a proactive approach to address them.
The discussion centred on the role of cross-industry collaboration to provide the necessary expertise, impetus, and experience to develop guidance standards to help manufacturers and conformity assessment bodies to identify and mitigate potential safety risks.
Outlining ASTM’s critical role in developing voluntary consensus standards and a recent “New Guide for Ensuring the Safety of Consumer Connected Products” to address some of the safety concerns identified, ASTM International member Don Mays, Chief Safety and Quality Officer at Samsung said:
“People have a natural fear of new technology. Is it going to be safe? The New Guide addresses hazards that could potentially exist by anticipating the issues. This requires extensive stakeholder insight from across our industry – from laboratories to conformity assessment to academia – to identify the foreseeable risks of physical hazards by virtue of the connectivity. Standards are living documents and must be re-explored every five years – up to a couple of times per year – to keep pace with emerging tech.”
The Value of TIC study conservatively estimates that if the potential reduction in costs associated with injuries caused by connected consumer products due to the introduction of the new ASTM standard, had just 1 per cent fewer injuries than products manufactured prior to this cut-off, then a delay of one year before the standard was finalized and published would result in costs associated with injuries of $27 million.
Jeff Weiss, Value of TIC study co-author and experienced D.C. policy integrator, reflected:
“Proactive standards development has a clear positive effect on health and safety and consumer protection. Even if only a few months are saved in the development of standards, the benefits are substantial.”
It is not only the consumer who benefits, he added: “Companies also need regulatory predictability to bring products to market. Creating international standards that governments can adopt by reference helps accelerate the creation of markets for new and innovative products.”
Patricia Adair, CPSC, Risk Management Group Director highlighted that as Government procurement of connected products is increasingly regulated by federal agencies and law such as the IoT Cybersecurity Act 2020, “it shouldn’t be different for consumers” and will be closely tracking developments including a new Consumer IoT labelling pilot.
TIC Council also provided information on its ongoing work to seek solutions to the risks posed from digitalization of consumer products including its support for a safe and reliable IoT capable product infrastructure and the need for a robust cybersecurity framework for industrial control systems outlined in two recent policy papers.
Karin Athanas, Executive Director, TIC Council Americas, who hosted the event added:
"This recent panel of government, industry, researchers, and TIC industry is an example of the valuable work TIC Council is doing in bringing together the views of all parties to engage collaboratively to achieve solutions for complex problems. The digitalization of consumer products is predicted to create unique risks and challenges which will span multiple agencies. The TIC industry stands ready to work with our partners to protect the security and safety of consumers."
With a global value of $200bn and rising, the TIC sector’s growth shows no sign of slowing. With new areas including the proposed EU regulation of AI and the emergence of new digital tools for supply chain due diligence and to monitor sustainability commitments, it is expected to grow by 30 per cent over the next five years, creating many more high-quality STEM jobs to add to the one million TIC employees currently operating worldwide.
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To watch the event, Towards safe and secure connected devices, please click here.
Exclusive: TIC Council sat down with Value of TIC authors, Jeffry Weiss and John Spicer - to watch the recording, please click here.
Research from TIC Council:
Editor’s Note About TIC Council:
TIC Council is the global trade federation representing the independent third-party Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry which brings together more than 90-member companies and organizations from around the world to speak with one voice. Its members provide services across a wide range of sectors: consumer products, medical devices, petroleum, mining and metals, food, and agriculture among others. Through provision of these services, TIC Council members assure that not only regulatory requirements are met, but also that reliability, economic value, and sustainability are enhanced. TIC Council’s members are present in more than 160 countries and employ more than 300,000 people across the globe.
Facts and figures:
· 160: number of countries employing TIC professionals.
· 90%: the proportion of consumers reporting that independent third-party testing is important to them, according to a 2012 survey conducted across China, India, Japan, the UK and the US.
· 16%: the average premium consumers are willing to pay products whose safety has been independently verified.
· 80%: the proportion of businesses who agree that TIC plays a role in supporting them to comply with legal requirements, according to a TIC-commissioned survey.
· 30%: potential increase in US exports as a result the adoption of mutual TIC standards, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2020 Industry Survey.
The Value of TIC can be measured in the billions:
· $200bn: the global value of the sector.
· $6.1bn: expected value of the reinvented toilet market by 2030, made possible by the role of TIC in creating the original standards.
· $21.5bn: expected annual global saving from reduced healthcare expenditure as a result of independent TIC activities, according to the study.
· $1.4bn: level of fraudulent payment activity averted in Europe in 2017 as a result of the uptake of chip-based payment technology, made possible by TIC expertise, according to a TIC Council study.