Smart technology has transformed household appliances, introducing new levels of complexity and necessity in safety controls.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, innovative connected appliances like a touchscreen toaster and a portable fabric microwave bag grabbed headlines. Other smart devices showcased included a stir fry robot, an AI-powered refrigerator, and a transparent television, highlighting the trend towards smart homes.

Household appliances have evolved since their introduction in the early 1900s, with advancements in battery technology enabling cordless appliances like vacuum cleaners and electric knives. However, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been the most significant game-changer in recent years, transforming multiple aspects of home life.

By the end of 2024, it’s estimated that over 207 billion connected devices will exist globally, with a substantial portion being household appliances. These connected appliances, such as ovens, cookers, and washing machines with pre-programmed settings and intuitive functions, are becoming more efficient and personalized. For instance, apps can now send cooking instructions to ovens or activate washing machines during off-peak electricity hours.

This increased connectivity also increased the risk of cyber attacks, which can compromise safety features like temperature controls. Manufacturers and retailers must ensure not only that products perform as intended but also that they address the evolving safety implications of connected devices. To address this, IEC 60335 has been updated to include new cybersecurity requirements, aiming to protect against unauthorized access and its potential safety consequences. The IEC 60335 series is also referenced in many laws, such as the EU directives, meaning compliance with the standards presumes conformity to the law.

To mitigate cybersecurity risks, the IECEE offers a cybersecurity certification program to test and certify the cybersecurity of electrotechnical products and systems. Recently, the widely used cybersecurity standard ETSI EN 303 645 for consumer IoT was added to their scheme. This standard specifies high-level security and data protection provisions for consumer IoT devices, including connected toys, baby monitors, smart TVs, speakers, and appliances.

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