Balancing Consumer Demands with Regulatory Compliance in Connected Devices

By David Wong

Sr. Director of Consumer Sensing Products


May 03, 2022


Balancing Consumer Demands with Regulatory Compliance in Connected Devices

How many of you checked your smartphone before reading this article? According to, more than 80% of the world’s population own a smartphone—so I’d guess you snuck a peek at any incoming messages. Additionally, how many of you are tracking your steps on a wearable? With the recent uptick in consumer demand for fitness trackers and health-based wearables, the market is expected to reach 344.9 million shipments worldwide this year. If you don’t have a wearable device yet, you’ll likely own one soon.

The connected device industry is widespread. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have significant potential to capitalize on this growth and dramatically increase sales. However, with that comes a responsibility to design products that are high quality, energy-efficient, and compliant with the latest safety standards.

Consumers expect optimal experiences with personally connected devices. They want the highest quality displays with fast response, as well as highly reliable devices that remain connected regardless of location. To meet these demands, OEMs need to optimize radio frequency (RF) performance while maintaining compliance with global Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) standards. SAR is a measure of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a wireless connected device such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. In the U.S., the SAR limit is 1.6 W/kg (over 1g of tissue) with a separation distance of 25mm. In Europe, the SAR limit is 2 W/kg (over 10g of tissue) with a separation distance of 5mm.

Today’s mobile phones require the fastest 5G network to support higher bandwidth and throughput to enable the best user experience. To achieve these performance levels, 5G smartphones are designed with more antennas, which can lead to challenges in maintaining SAR compliance.

For the past decade, Semtech has been providing solutions to enable good connected experiences while complying with global SAR regulations. The company’s PerSe™ sensors detect human presence and enable RF emissions to be adjusted to maintain optimal performance and compliance. Designed for connected devices, these sensors intelligently modify RF transmission levels of connected devices when humans, are in close range.

With Semtech’s PerSe Connect sensors, OEMs can enhance connectivity of smartphones, laptops, and tablets for a range of wireless protocols — from 5G sub-6/4G/Wi-Fi – while maintaining SAR compliance. PerSe Connect Pro sensors have high sensitivities and support mmWave applications to maintain safety compliance for 5G high band connections.

Designing a wearable device requires a sensor with fast response and low power consumption for a longer battery life. PerSe Control sensors enable wear detection and intuitive gesture control of wearable devices.

Meeting SAR standards is the top priority for OEMs and required for connected devices. As the consumer market continues its rapid growth, it is vital for the industry to maintain SAR compliance while maximizing system performance.