Written by Michiko Jo

Consumer products using smart technology bring excitement as well as solutions and convenience to everyday life.

However, the connected and dependant nature of smart technology products to related services and other devices means that there are features and characteristics which are not found in traditional standalone products.   

Last week, DLA Piper at its London Office jointly launched and hosted with Electrical Safety First (ESF) a roundtable stakeholder meeting for discussions on the issues, obligations and best practices around the safety risks associated with smart technology (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6514503874731130880/ ). This, the first in a sequence of Smart Technology Product Safety Stakeholder Meetings, is an industry-led forum attended by industry bodies and other stakeholders in this space along the supply chain including manufacturers and retailers.

The forum was set up with a view to:

·     Identifying and analyzing the issues and concerns around how failure of smart technology (or part of connected technology) could result in loss or damage to end users, particularly consumers;

·     Identifying legal obligations and risks to end users and other stakeholders operating in the connected technology space; and

·     Developing and promoting good practice and initiatives to assist industry in taking necessary steps to demonstrate compliance with the law for the mutual benefit of industry and end users.

This initiative was preceded by the ESF’s seminar on the safety of connected home in April 2018 and its Annual Conference in November 2018 where I chaired a panel discussing consumer trust and product liability in the context of IoT and 3D printing (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/activity:6473946072627576832/ ).  

Given the benefits that smart technology can offer to consumers when used as expected, it is in the interest of both consumers and the industry to assist the consumers in their better understanding of these products.

The forum will work towards production of a consumer facing document. I look forward to working on this initiative and hope to be able to give an update to the readers of this blog in future.