Electronic labelling (e-labelling) will now be a legal alternative to visible serial numbers, regulators in Canada have ruled.
Up until now, any electronic products sold in the country had to have serial numbers either printed directly onto the surface or attached with a sticker, with many critics arguing that this meant many devices sold in other parts of the world could not be launched within the Canadian market.
Under these new rules, however, it will be acceptable for devices such as smartphones, smartwatches, tablet computers and even wearable monitors such as Google Glass to be fitted with e-labels.
That is, so long as the consumer can easily access information such as a device's serial number, model identification number or registration number through in-built software or an app, manufacturers no longer need to make any of this is displayed externally.
According to the Federal Government, which pushed through the legislation this week, the move will not only give Canada's consumers more choice and easier access to product information, but will also save manufacturers' money and allow them to release a range of products onto the domestic market.
"Today's announcement marks another step our government is taking to help Canadian businesses and consumers take full advantage of the digital economy," said James Moore, the minister for industry.
"Through e-labelling, both consumers and manufacturers will benefit from access to new market devices."
One other notable advantage of the new technology is that relevant consumer information can be updated remotely if needed. In addition to this, by removing the need to design and print paper labels, electronics firms should be able to get their products onto the market quicker.
However, some critics have pointed out that the technology is essentially unreliable as electronic labels cannot be read if a device is turned off or broken, while concerns have also been raised about the possibility of e-labels being tampered with, though the new Canadian legislation is designed to guard against this.
Canada is the sixth country in the world to officially bring in e-labelling, while the European Commission recently published guidelines outlining the safeguards that need to be in place before the technology can be rolled out across the European Union.
Posted by Simon Tourle