New Delhi, March 15: In this competitive world where the pace of life is high and smart, as a consumer the product slewed for the people are ought to be smart. Marking the ‘World Consumer Day’ 2019 with the theme of ‘Trusted Smart Products’, be smart enough as a consumer to know your rights! In the world of smart phones and smart TVs, this theme quickly connects to the consumer establishing a sort of interdependency on previously unrelated avenues of life.
The theme chosen in view of the increased popularity of smart gadgets like smart phones to wearable fitness trackers, to voice-activated assistants and smart TVs which make our lives simpler, but inadvertently connect one aspect of it with another, establishing a sort of interdependency on previously unrelated avenues of life. Celebrated on an international level, the day signifies to highlight what consumers want and need from a connected world and how important it is to put them at the heart of the development of these digital products and services.
In India too, the Government of India has undertaken several initiatives to protect the rights of consumers, which stem from the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 that gives Indian consumers some basic rights. However, lack of awareness remains a key issue in citizens benefitting fully from their rights as protected by our Constitution.
Importance of Smart Products
These smart devices are capable of collecting and analysing user data, and transmitting it to other connected devices in a network. A network of smart products is known as the Internet of Things. Smart products offer consumers the promise of convenience, efficiency and personalised services.
Opportunities in Abundance
As access to smart devices and products increases along with their importance to humankind, it is important that we highlight what consumers want and need from a connected world; and how important it is to put human beings at the heart of the development of these digital products and services. It is hoped that the emergence of smart technology will bring many opportunities for consumers – new services, more responsive products, greater convenience and better choice.
The significant causes for concern include lack of security and privacy; and meaningful choice over how we use them. There is also a need for improved clarity about who is responsible when things go wrong.
Another major issue is lack of access to these devices, with millions of people globally locked out of this new technology either due to unavailability or due to high charges. Quite a few governments across the world have introduced measures like slashing duties and taxes to make smart devices accessible and affordable. However, the cost of data still represents a major barrier.
However, the consumer needs to be vigilant and smart while getting accustomed to or buying these products. Apart from that it is the duty of the regulatory authorities across the world to ensure that the emergence of smart technology brings adequate opportunities to public by enabling access to new services, more responsive products, greater convenience and choice.