Family & Lifestyle

5 Standards for Smarter, Cleaner Consumer Electronics

Overview All these things should be built into consumers’ electronic products: Sustainability, accessibility and security. The tech industry knows this and largely lives by these market ideals. Executing to them, however, isn’t always easy. That’s why tech leaders seek out CTA for standards direction that helps assure quality. Here’s a look at five heavily downloaded standards that are making consumers’ worlds safer, more accessible and cleaner.

CTA standards teams and committees combine some 1500 tech champions – engineers, regulators, doctors, scientists and others – to define specifications that normalize how consumer products work. With about 1000 active participants and as many meetings in 2023, alone, their important work merits a call-out. The following standards have meaningly informed how the tech industry addresses AI and other technologies for sustainability, inclusion and accessibility, cybersecurity and safety.

Accessibility for Deaf TV Audiences

ANSI/CTA-708-E S-2023: DTV Closed Captioning
Deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers rely on closed captioning when watching TV. The more customizable captioning is, the more accessible and useful it is for a wider range of audiences. This standard provides guidance for today’s digital TVs to ensure hearing-impaired viewers can fully experience programming and better control captioning quality. At the same time, it helps video programming distributors and programmers comply with regulatory captioning objectives. CTA-708 digital encoders operate with higher processing power that allows for customizations such as colors for text and backgrounds. This is helpful for viewers who are, for example, color blind; adding contrast can improve readability.

AI Fidelity in Healthcare

ANSI/CTA-2090: The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Trustworthiness
Can you trust AI as it’s increasingly deployed to attain efficiencies in healthcare applications and settings? This standard addresses misgivings some hold. It identifies the core requirements and a baseline for AI to be considered trustworthy as it’s evaluated by doctors, patients, caregivers, regulators and more. It also presents AI challenges and opportunities across the healthcare landscape.

Cyber-Securing Consumer Electronics

ANSI/CTA-2088-A: Baseline Cybersecurity Standard for Devices and Device Systems
In an increasingly interconnected world, hackers are looking for any opportunity to appropriate what you value most. Digital security is complicated by weaknesses in coding, as well as insufficient vigilance on the part of some overtaxed IT teams. Consumers don’t always help themselves by updating software on their devices. They may also use the same easy-to-crack password for most of their online activity. This standard aims to plug some of the holes that threat actors exploit to do us harm. It specifies a baseline with recommendations for device security. It also provides a clear list of specific cybersecurity capabilities that should be built into any connected consumer device whether it’s a thermostat, fitness tracker, oven or smart TV. 

Smart Energy Management

ANSI/CTA-2045-B: Modular Communications Interface for Energy Management
Consumers and homeowners expect a lot from devices and appliances, and from energy suppliers. Refrigerators, water heaters and smart assistants (e.g., Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant) must always be on, but we want energy costs to go down. For the best of both worlds, a strong and consistent connection between devices and electric utilities is necessary. The homeowner can better control usage for cost savings while the power company can assure appropriate energy loads to all customers. This CTA standard for water heaters has been widely adopted by organizations in the appliances and energy sectors because it helps simplify controls. It does this by describing a protocol that allows electricity providers to connect with customers’ devices using a standard interface that’s compatible with virtually any communications technology. 

Radar-Based Safety

CTA-5400: Ripple Radar Sensor API Specification
Consumer radar is more widely used than many who benefit from it realize. It’s the enabler behind consumer hardware goods that include motion-sensing lights, camera and security systems, and automatic doors. For maximum utility, API standardization is needed so that radar hardware and software can communicate, or interoperate. This standardization addresses the issue of widely varying protocols that have complicated how consumers select and use products for important, sometimes lifesaving, purposes. The Ripple standard can help speed to market new products and services that safeguard loved ones without sacrificing privacy. For more information, read the CTA article explaining Ripple.
These and other standards are free to download and share. Look for them in action at CES 2024 as exhibitors and speakers display and explore everything in tech that’s making the world better. Explore more than 200 standards issued since January 2019 on topics ranging from AI to AR/VR, health and fitness, intelligent mobility, smart energy and more. To get involved, check out CTA’s standards work and current projects

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