Last updated: 29 September 2017
Wearables that perform communications are subject to regulations set by Anatel to ensure that they are safe, not only to the users but are also not interfering with the telecommunications in Brazil.
When global sales of smartwatches was reported down by over 50% in 2016 compared to the previous year, many believed that it was the end of the line for the wearables. However, with large players like Facebook, Google and Apple driving the market forward through their developments in the augmented reality space, it is plausible to believe that we will see a wave of wearables and new applications becoming available over the next few years.
Aside from innovative applications in X Reality fields, wearables have spread across several other industries and can now be found in the most varied segments such as fashion, medical, payment and security in addition to fitness, where it has already been consolidated for many years.
What wearables need homologation in Brazil
Represented in Brazil mainly by smartwatches and wristbands, all wearables that perform wireless communication with other devices, being through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, RFID, SIGFOX, LoRaWAN or other wireless standards are required to be tested and approved before being imported and sold. In Brazil, the agency that demands the approval and is responsible for overseeing the telecommunications regulations is called Anatel, similar to the American’s FCC. The devices that require approval include:
- Head-mounted displays (HMDs) or any similar helmet using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth like Microsoft Hololens
- Health monitors worn on any part of the body using wireless technologies
- Glasses with displays using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth like Snapchat’s Spectacle or Google Glass
- Smartwatches using Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth
- Wristbands and leg bands using Bluetooth to peer with other devices
- Wireless fitness trackers like chest straps for heart rate monitoring
- Wireless headsets, microphones and in-ear buds. We have written an extensive article about homologation of these type of headsets in the article “Homologation of Wireless Microphones and Headphones”
- NFC rings, which are used for payments and access control
- Fashion items and connected clothing and accessories like peered gloves, jumpers with built in headsets, etc
- Smart shoes using Bluetooth
- Wearables for pets and animal use
It is important to note that some wearables, like Samsung’s Gear VR are not required to be homologated by Anatel, as it does not perform wireless communications. However, the auxiliary remote control that follows the Gear VR device uses Bluetooth to communicate with the helmet, which makes the device eligible for homologation. The mobile phone that is connected to the wearable is, of course, required to be homologated.
What parameters are evaluated by Anatel
The majority of wearables using wireless communications are defined by Anatel as category II devices, which comprises of the restrict radiation transceivers. This means that these devices operate in frequencies that are under supervision of Anatel, but as they often are used in confined spaces or within a limited range, no additional licenses are required to utilise them.
There are several requirements that are assessed by Anatel which involves not only safety, but also to verify if the equipment is operating in compliance to the standards proposed by the technology. Some of the parameters evaluated are levels of the intensity of the radiofrequency electric field, the maximum transmitter power output, and antenna gain levels, to name a few.
For Bluetooth devices, aside from checking if the device complies with Bluetooth standards, Anatel demands additional tests to verify whether it interferes with other systems that operate at this frequency range. We have written a detailed piece on homologation of Bluetooth equipment that can be accessed here.
The devices powered by rechargeable batteries using PoE or power supply as charging methods need specific electrical and electromagnetic resistance tests, in addition to protection against overheating, and electric shock.
As the variety of wearables grows everyday it is impossible to state here all the tests that are involved in the approval process for each specific device. Only a company that conducts the homologation procedure will be able to verify the device and pinpoint the tests with accuracy. These companies, called OCDs, are indispensable in the homologation process of any device with Anatel, and aside from stating which tests are required, will also prepare the paperwork needed for Anatel to issue the homologation. Master Certificações is a Brazilian OCD with years of experience handling homologations of all categories of products with Anatel. Their highly specialised engineering team will verify the specs of your product and provide you with the required tests and procedures for homologation.
Overview of the homologation procedure
After completing the necessary testing on the number of samples determined by the OCD, the results will be verified by the OCD. Some types of wearables, may also require the OCD to perform auditing of the production facilities to prove the manufacturing quality management system.
Based on the results, the OCD will decide whether the wearable meets local regulations. In cases where it complies with the norms, the OCD issues a conformity certificate. This certificate will be presented to Anatel, and is the base for the final homologation of the product.
Anatel regulation allows homologation for wearables to be granted for 2 years, and after this period they need to be renewed.
Getting my product approved by Anatel in Brazil
If you are a manufacturer of a wearable that requires Anatel homologation, we recommend you contact Master Certificações, an OCD fully accredited by Anatel to perform the entire process on behalf of national and foreign entities. Master Certificações is one of the most recognised institutions dealing with approvals of equipment with Anatel and Inmetro, and has a team of specialists ready to assist your company to get the approval in a fast and cost-effective manner.