The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) has unveiled the first direct consumer auto-response service provided on Twitter by a governmental entity in the region for quality control.
ESMA said the launch of the new service will take place during GITEX Technology Week (12-16 October) is in line with the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and as part of the Smart Government initiative.
Consumers are rapidly embracing social media services as their communication medium of choice, with 401,000 active users on Twitter in U.A.E, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, TRA.
Through the new service, consumers are now able to validate the certification and star rating of home appliances using their Twitter accounts. They are also able to use Twitter to report cases of violation to ESMA which will handle them in a timely manner.
ESMA Twitter service will automatically fetch any new tweet and check the current database of products for certification. The system will then automatically reply back to the user with a Tweet containing the result retrieved from the database. In case of violation, a complaint can be sent along with a picture of the product, location of the store, brand and model number. ESMA will then make sure necessary actions are taken in order to control the reported violation.
Currently, Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) – the federal agency in charge of ensuring conformity and standards– monitors the quality of products on the market. The authority is a major player in the U.A.E.'s drive for quality which has which propelled the country to the list of the world's top 20 most competitive nations, ranking 19th according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014.
Commenting on the launch of the new service, Abdulla Al Maeeni, ESMA's Director General, said, "We strongly advise consumers to look for the certificate of approval issued by ESMA before buying or installing electrical and gas-powered appliances. ESMA's mandate is to ensure optimum safety of home appliances for all consumers in the U.A.E.. We have put in place this innovative Twitter service in line with these efforts. We realised that we can reach out, and interact with citizens and residents through their smartphones because of the popularity of social media and Twitter in the gulf region. We aim to get in touch with consumers first-hand and cater to their needs. We encourage everyone to proactively participate in the quality control conversations taking place on our Twitter account. This will help us better promote safety at home and ensure the products available in the market conform to the standards issued by ESMA and GCC Standardisation Organisation, GSO." LINK Development, a leading provider of integrated technology solutions across the Middle East and a subsidiary of OTVentures, has designed and implemented the ESMA initiative offering consumers instant Twitter responses to their requests. The first phase of the service offers consumers the ability to validate and review any quality details or product certification on home appliances prior to purchase. By sending an enquiry or a complaint about a specific product in the U.A.E. market to the ESMA's Twitter account, the consumer will immediately receive an automated response with details on the product's certification.
Amin Azab, Managing Director of LINK Development, said, "ESMA is pioneering the use of Twitter to better support customers. The authority has been at the forefront of government entities in providing smart solutions as tools for a better, more efficient customer service. The new initiative enables a larger number of people to have access to the authority and send their requests online. The initiative will help reduce time, improve efficiency, transparency and quality of service." The system, Al Maeeni noted, will allow ESMA to better supervise the consumer market and control the safe use of electrical and gas-powered products ranging from plugs, extension cords, electric irons, microwave ovens, washing machines and dryers, electric stoves, refrigerators, heaters, freezers and chillers to room air conditioners available in the country. These products affect consumers' lives, health and safety and this online service will help the Authority supervise and validate the authenticity of the products available for consumers in the market.
"ESMA electronically issues certificates of conformity through U.A.E.'s e-Government services where the supplier can get approvals online. We have also implemented a more integrated platform to host all provided services and operations, and now through social media, offer a more efficient customer service for consumers as well", said Al Maeeni.