When going on holiday, consumers don’t go off the grid; the majority tend to stay just as ‘connected’ as they are when at home. The rapid increase in the availability of mobile devices has had a great impact not only on travelers’ behavior when experiencing their journey, but also on how electronic devices are being used and abused on holiday. And what happens to all the electrical and electronic products that are left at home?
Electronic devices that fly high
According to a study conducted by Michigan State University1 this year, smartphones, tablets and laptops are at the top of the vacation packing list. This should be hardly any surprise considering that the total number of laptops sold worldwide until 2012 was approximately 539 million2, and that the number of Android3 and iOS4 devices activated until this year was 765 million.
When packing a laptop or a tablet, travelers also include many of the accessories as well, because most of these devices come with storage cards, mice or USB drives and an entire suite of charging cables, power adapters or converters, batteries and battery chargers.
But smartphones, laptops, tablets and their electronic accessories are not the only popular devices that go into suitcases – there are also 26.7 million e-readers5 sold worldwide in the past two years alone, more digital cameras and music players to provide hours of entertainment before needing to be recharged. Also, depending on the type and duration of travel, vacationers also pack other electric devices such as toothbrushes, hair dryers, hair straighteners, shavers and other personal hygiene devices.
With global travel available to a rising number of consumers, manufacturers of such devices have to take into account, from the design stage, the challenges that come with the movement of electronic products between countries and continents. Such variables might include voltage differences, temperature variations and local environmental conditions, including abundance of sand, prolonged exposure to sunlight or high humidity.
Stay-at-home electrical and electronics products
Not all devices are lucky enough to go on holiday once in a while, which means that many homes have to be prepared, before leaving for long periods, to ensure that the electrical devices and appliances staying at home will not be a source of hazards and will not impact the energy bill. Large energy companies usually provide an online list of useful energy saving tips while on vacation.
The most obvious tips for consumer include turning off all the lights, as well as turning off or switching into energy saving mode the following types of appliances: water heaters, air conditioners, white goods including refrigerators, microwave ovens, washers and dryers. Stand-by devices such as TVs, DVD players, PCs and stereos that operate on ‘phantom power’ should be also turned off as they can account to as much as 10%6 of the home energy use. The other major reason is to reduce the risk of a potential unit failure that could lead to a dangerous situation during the home owner’s absence. As most consumer products are not meant for use in unsupervised conditions, the occurrence of a failure that can lead to a fire cannot completely be disregarded.
Beside the steps consumers can take to ensure the safety of their electronic products, manufacturers also need to do their utmost to increase the safety and quality of their products. They have to ensure their products’ compliance to energy consumption regulations including Energy Star for North America or the EU Energy Labelling Directive and they need to perform the required verification and testing, as per the number of standards applicable to their products in various parts of the world.
SGS can support manufactures in achieving compliance with market regulations for almost all the types of E&E products and accessories consumers may take with them on vacation.
For more info on how SGS can support the market access process of your E&E devices visit the SGS website.
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.