Why Smart Fabrics will put the “Wear” in Wearable Tech
The Smart Fabrics & Wearable Tech Conference will lead us to the next phase of wearable tech
May is a big month for wearable technology in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Smart Fabrics & Wearable Technology conference on May 11–13, 2015 will kick-off a series of leading wearable technology events and conferences, and we couldn’t be more excited.
In its 11th year, the Smart Fabrics & Wearable Technology conference brings together fashion execs, designers, engineers, textile manufacturers, researchers, and more for 2 ½ days of inspiring discussions and business around the future of textiles and wearable technology. Thought leaders from universities and companies including Adidas, FIDM, Fjord, Intel, Philips, Shift Innovation, and Virginia Tech will discuss innovation in textiles, fashion wearables, apparel manufacturing, UX design, biometrics, retail, and more. And this year is it’s first year in San Francisco.
We’ve been covering the global wearable tech space for a few years (check out Wearable Technologies Conferences 2012 and 2013), and although wearable tech innovation is ubiquitous and almost commonplace, we’ve seen a large gap in the discourse on wearable tech from the textiles perspective here in the Bay. But now, Smart Fabrics is moving its premier conference to the hub of wearable tech innovation, and we’re excited to witness the convergence between textiles and technology and learn more about innovation at the core of the fashion and apparel industry—in fabrics and materials. From research and testing to application and market penetration, The Smart Fabrics conference will bring it all together.
This couldn’t be more timely. According to a new report from Tractica, the market for smart clothing and body sensors is just beginning to take shape, both from an end-user perspective and a value chain perspective. Sports enthusiasts are leading the adoption of smart clothing with sensor-infused shirts, shorts, sports bras, and socks that provide biometric data on muscle activity, breathing rate, and heart activity zones. This will soon gain traction in the mass consumer market. “The ultimate wearable computer is a piece of smart clothing that one can wear as a garment or a body sensor that can track and measure specific vital signs,” says research director Aditya Kaul. “Both of these device categories are designed to seamlessly integrate with users’ daily lives.”
With the forecast that smart clothing shipments will grow from 140,000 units in 2013 to 10.2 million units by 2020, it is imperative for discussions on wearable technology for everyday wear to include innovation beyond watches to emerging textiles, weaves, materials, and production processes.
As we’ve witnessed, technology hasn’t always been so open to fashion. But we are certainly turning a corner and the Smart Fabrics Conference is arguably the best way to see this future and to help get us there.
Follow the conference on twitter at @Wearables_Tech #smartfabrics #wearabletech.