Charting the Course on Connectivity

The member impact survey conducted last year and the breakout discussions at the AHAM’s 2017 Annual Meeting clearly showed that home appliance connectivity is a major issue for companies and that AHAM’s involvement in it is essential. The Board reaffirmed this in December of 2017 by including connectivity as a core focus of the AHAM mission along with safety and energy efficiency. Connectivity is one of the top initiatives in AHAM’s new strategic plan.

AHAM’s focus right now is the development of industry principles related to the Internet of Things focused on safety, privacy and security. These principles will then guide AHAM advocacy in input to policy makers, legislators and standards developers who are already delving in to development of requirements and policies that will affect connected appliances, their producers and users. This is an area where every AHAM member should engage.

Engagement is easy. AHAM has established a new Connectivity Task Force made up of cross-cutting experts from our member companies. Just as we have groups made up of safety and performance experts, we are broadening our reach to bring in individuals from each company function that connectivity affects. Many AHAM members are taking advantage of the opportunity AHAM is offering for them to help chart the course for the industry on connectivity best practices, standards and regulation.

While connected appliances may be new to many consumers, AHAM’s involvement in connected appliances goes back nearly two decades to when connected appliances were still largely concepts.

AHAM’s first Smart Appliance Task Force began in 2001 and led development of the CHA-1 standard, the first to address communications elements of smart appliances. AHAM’s SA-1, Common Information Necessary to Intelligent Appliances, is the most current standard for connected appliances.

As connected appliances come closer to demonstrating the expanding value of home appliances, we know that regulators and legislators at every level of government will be looking to “help” you design your products. We need a strong, credible industry voice to educate all influencers. AHAM’s role is not to intervene in the competitive space of companies, but to provide an informed voice for the industry when broad topics are on the table.

It is critical for the industry to stay ahead of the curve. Regulators are taking a closer look at connected appliances and are looking to AHAM for guidance. AHAM members have the opportunity to help drive the discussion.

AHAM’s work on connected products aims to find consensus and help the industry stay ahead on connectivity. The association is ready to serve its members in this emerging area as innovation marches on.