Product certification works as an authenticity indicator for your product in terms of quality, performance, safety, and reliability. It is crucial because numerous new value-branded hardware and electronic products make a place in the market every now and then, claiming to be the best in the industry. If consumers go for the products on the basis of just cost and availability, it can expose them to certain risks.
However, a large customer base is aware of the certification marks and checks for these before buying hardware or technology-based equipment. In such a scenario, it is essential than ever to get relevant certifications to win consumers’ trust that your product is trustworthy, safe, and risk-free. It demonstrates your commitment to performance and quality standards.
If you have a brand new or existing hardware product and want to get it certified, it makes sense to know its importance and the things to consider while doing it.
Benefits of Hardware Product Certification
Here are some reasons to consider certification mark for your hardware:
Evidence of Quality and Safety
Not all electronic devices, hardware, embedded systems, etc., are manufactured with equal quality standards. There are several manufactures which follow the shortcuts, keeping instant profits in mind.
Just by looking at the product and its description, it is difficult to understand the difference between a reliable and a poor quality product. That’s where the certification mark comes into play.
When a hardware product goes through a certification process, it is tested for a wide variety of factors related to the health and safety of consumers, liability, reliability, as well as performance. If the product doesn’t meet all the requirements, it is rejected. Hence, if your hardware or electronic product is certified, it works as a piece of evidence for quality and safety.
Meeting Regulatory Compliances
There are regulatory requirements to be met depending on the cities, states, and countries where the product is available. If your product isn’t compliant with the necessary regulations, it can bring legal or other issues.
For instance, if your product uses Bluetooth technology, you need to ensure that it conforms with the specifications related to radio and software qualification. There are entities that test the frequency and communications and issue the certificate before you make the product available.
Eligibility for Shipping Globally
Depending on the hardware product, it’s shipping through the air, and how it is shipped is considered. For instance, if the product comes with lithium batteries, then it needs to meet the relevant standards and regulations to become eligible for shipping via flights.
Taking the example of the US, the US Department of Federation of Transportation needs that the batteries in your equipment must comply with the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This is because lithium batteries can cause substantial danger to users.
Green Signal from Cellular Carriers and Telcos
In the era of digital transformation, the hardware and equipment come with communication functionalities. Smart home devices feature technologies like the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). For communication, the telecom providers and carriers need your product to have different certifications.
Only then will the product be eligible to operate on their networks. Following the certification mark, the hardware will exhibit a certified cellular module in its design.
Things You Must Know Before Submitting Your Product for Certification Mark
The certification requirements are different depending on the type of product you have. Some products require multiple certifications to be eligible to be sold. It also depends on where you are selling it and the target market.
Regardless of the type of hardware product you have, you must consider these important points before applying for hardware product certification.
Take Your Time
Don’t apply for certification when your hardware is yet to go through essential modifications in design and testing. Ensure that you have tested the product properly and have fixed more than 80% of the bugs. Additionally, the product must have gone through the majority of the manufacturing phases and looks complete.
It is vital because certification authorities ask for instruction manuals and have set minimum criteria for bugs. If you submit the product for certification in a hurry, it might result in rejection.
Do Proper Research About The Certifications Required
Another thing to remember is that you should consider only those certifications that matter for your product. Based on your target market and the region you are planning to sell the product, opt for relevant certifications only.
Not all countries and regions demand the same certifications. If you get a certificate after spending your money and time, but it is not required in your targeted market, then it is useless. You will end up wasting your valuable resources. So, do your research so that you choose only the right certification marks and skip the irrelevant ones.
It’s Not Cost-Effective But Worthwhile
Getting a product certification mark is definitely an expensive process. Before applying for any certification, make sure to calculate the complete pricing and have the budget in place. The costs include submission charges, annual pricing required by the testing lab for maintenance of hardware manual, labeling, etc.
The majority of testing labs offer a consultation before you submit the product for certification. So make use of it.
Certification Comes With Regular Audits and Maintenance
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you have got the certification mark, you are done. It doesn’t end here. The authorities will require quarterly, semi-annual, or annual audits to maintain the conformance of your product.
In case your product fails in auditing and maintaining the quality during the entire lifecycle, a variation notice (VN) may be issued.
Testing Labs Have Extensive Guidelines
Every testing lab has an extensive set of guidelines in terms of formatting and documentation that your hardware needs to meet. While submitting, you must ensure that you have everything in place thoroughly. The better your documentation is, the smoother the processes will become for you.
Modifications Are Complex After Certification
Once the certification is issued, the changes in design, modifications in parts, etc. become a bit complicated. It is because the changes must not affect the requirements of the product certification. On that front, what you can do is to go for parts and materials that are verified by the testing lab. For design changes, take care of the guidelines issued by the lab.
Hardware certification has plenty of benefits that can win the trust of consumers, boost sales, and make an impact in the market. However, before getting any certification, it is crucial to consider the points mentioned above. It requires a good amount of cost, adhering to guidelines related to modifications, regular auditing, and proper research. And if you want your product to pass all the testing procedures and get certified quickly. You must consider and take care of all these points in a complete end to end product development procedure.
Paresh Sagar is the CEO of Excellent Webworld, IoT, Web and Mobile App Development Company that helps startups and enterprises to enable mobility solutions. He has the best embedded engineers to hire and has vast experience of developing embedded products seamlessly. He’s an avid blogger and writes on all the latest technology trends.