India plans to speed up testing and safety approvals for electronic devices

India is planning to speed up testing and safety approvals of electronic devices, including smartphones and earbuds, to reduce their time to market. Currently, it can take as long as 20 weeks to for consumer electronics to pass safety tests — but the new approvals could bring that down to as little as three days.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the country’s nodal agency responsible for setting quality and safety standards, has considered a pilot project to do away with the existing sequential testing model and deploy parallel testing for electronic devices in the South Asian market.

As reported by Reuters, the BIS held a meeting this week with officials of India’s technology ministry, industry group MAIT and key electronic hardware industry representatives, including Apple and Samsung, to discuss the project.

The BIS and the technology ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

While earbuds are likely to be the first devices to undergo the new testing model, the standards agency may consider extending the product list over time, MAIT said in a statement.

In the current practice of sequential testing, a device goes through a series of tests one after another to obtain the BIS certification, which is mandatory for all devices to be commercially available in the country. MAIT had suggested the government cut that time by considering parallel testing where a product is simultaneously tested for various parameters laid out by the agency, the president emeritus of the group Nitin Kunkolienkar told TechCrunch in an interview.

“We have to move away from the legacy method of testing products and innovate new testing technologies and methodology, which must not negotiate with the security of the country but should also not hamper the trade and business of the country and depriving citizens of the products they want,” he said.

The executive said that deploying the new model could help reduce the testing time from 20 weeks to three days, depending on the product.

India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market, after China, with a base of more than 600 million users, per Hong Kong-based analyst firm Counterpoint.

Companies like Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi already compete for market share among consumers in the country. The shorter turnaround in testing and safety would mean swifter clearances and potentially faster time to market more closely aligned with global launches, Prabhu Ram, the head of the Industry Intelligence Group at market research firm CyberMedia Research, told TechCrunch.

“For Indian consumers, the new swifter testing and certification timelines will translate to shorter wait times on the latest consumer electronics products,” he said.