IFA 2022 Discussion on EU Energy labeling of mobile phones and tablets

Updated: Sep 22

As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, The European Commission now aims to make smartphone devices and Tablets more sustainable and has published two draft regulations.



SmartViser has released a press release providing an update on the collaboration with EU Commission on the Energy Efficiency Index testing for smartphones and tables. Read the full press release here.


SmartViser team was in Berlin kindly hosted by Fraunhofer IZM where they performed live demos of the innovative test automation product viser and discussed with visitors the proposed testing methodology for the smartphones and tablets battery energy efficiency assessment.


SmartViser's Chief Commercial Officier Susie Siouti joined Dr Steffen Wasmus from Deutsche Telekom, Andreas Halatsch from Umwelt Bundesamt (German Environment Agency), Thea Kleinmagd from Fairphone, and Maarten Depypere from iFixit in the panel discussion: New eco-design regulations and energy efficiency labeling for smartphones and tablets. The panel was moderated by Karsten Schischke from Fraunhofer IZM Berlin.



IFA Next Panel Discussion on 5th of September 2022: New eco-design regulations and energy efficiency labeling for smartphones and tablets.


Summary of SmartViser's main points of the panel discussion


Moderator Karsten Schischke Question:

"For several years SmartViser is now active in benchmarking the battery performance of smartphones. How important are such benchmarks to users?"

SmartViser Susie Siouti Comment:

"Devices benchmarking is very important for end users to make informed decisions. Sometimes, it is not easy to decide which device is right for you and your intended usage. Especially battery performance is one of the key decision point for end users and rates very high in a number of surveys we have performed or other third parties have performed. That was the main reason we have created the ViserMark label 2 years ago specifically to fill this need to provide a reliable and consistent way of assessing battery life performance in an easy way for end users to understand without too much technical terminology. In an age where we get information overload we see end users seeking this type of information especially in a recognisable label."

Moderator Karsten Schischke Question:

There is this energy label in the planning: Susie, can you briefly summarise, how the energy efficiency is tested?

SmartViser Susie Siouti Comment:

SmartViser has developed the innovative app viSer which stands for Virtual User. The app (available for Android and ios) allows to automate a number of actions in a smartphone the same way a user will use.
We have been working with media like GSMAreana, Frandroid and others that use viSer with their own testing protocol for battery assessment as well as major MNOS like Orange, Telia, SFR, Rakuten Mobile who perform their own testing protocol etc.
For the EU EEI labeling, we have investigated a number of different ways to assess the energy efficiency using our experience gained with end users via ViserMark, Operators, Media, and research organisations.
After assessing all the different options we have concluded the Day of Use Simulation as the best testing methodology. This will execute in a loop several activities simulating an end user. The chosen methodology has main benefits, easy to set up which will ensure accuracy and repeatability, and is the closest to end user way of Smartphone usage.
Both device and external environment are very strictly controlled these include items like network conditions, screen and audio volume, connectivity (having Bluetooth on/off. NFC etc), ventilation, and room temperature.

The overall setup will include the device and network simulator in a controlled environment and the device using viser will execute a number of activities in a loop following sessions in idle until the battery is exhausted.

Moderator Karsten Schischke Question:

"Why is it useful to standardise these energy performance measurements? Aren’t the manufacturers promoting long battery life before a recharge is needed anyhow? "

SmartViser Susie Siouti Comment:

"We need a consistent way to measure the energy performance to help both end users and manufacturers. For sure there is a lot of effort from the manufacturers' side to improve the battery performance and efficiency. What we also have observed is that In some cases though we see manufacturers simply increasing the battery size as a way of improving the battery life. This though has a detrimental effect on heavier, larger batteries which use more precious metals and natural resources. We now see most devices above 4,000mAh with the majority 5,000mAh being the norm with some small exceptions like the Fairphone devices which are sub 4000mAh. Simply increasing battery size to provide a longer battery is not the right approach to provide longer battery life."

Moderator Karsten Schischke Question:

"How do you see the risk, that manufacturers implement a mechanism to detect if the phone is tested and to improve performance then only in the test?"

SmartViser Susie Siouti Comment:

"There is genuine interest for manufacturers to improve their performance and we have seen this keen interest from almost everyone. In the unlikely event, we have manufacturers trying to circumvent we have three main ways we are looking to mitigate this. One viSer will be regularly updated changing certain parameters that prevent the device from altering the way it operates, detectable, secondly, there will be sample testing, and thirdly using potentially authorized or accredited labs for this assessment."

Moderator Karsten Schischke Question:

"Which kind of changes do you expect in the market once the Energy Label is in use? "

SmartViser Susie Siouti Comment:

It will certainly influence buying decisions from end users. The biggest change we are hoping this will make is to encourage manufacturers R&D centres to optimise their battery performance for better battery life rather than simply increasing the battery size. We would like to see effort being put to test and analyse the battery consumption on key applications and making the necessary changes to improve. Test, test, test and improve. There is already some early signs that there is a small shift towards this direction as Samsung latest S22 standard model only has actually a smaller battery than its predecessor S21 and this due to all the eco labelling activities and awareness. We are hoping this will continue to grow and more manufacturers following this trend.

Energy labelling of mobile phones and tablets – informing consumers about environmental impact

The draft regulations on energy labeling of mobile phones and tablets have been published at the end of August and can be found at:


https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12797-Designing-mobile-phones-and-tablets-to-be-sustainable-ecodesign_en


https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12798-Energy-labelling-of-mobile-phones-and-tablets-informing-consumers-about-environmental-impact_en



 

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