Interview with Davide Vigano
Our technology will accelerate the integration of a broad spectrum of sensors with apparel products
Sensoria is a leading developer of smart garments and IoMe (Internet of Me) wearable solutions that improve people's lives. In a conversation with Fibre2Fashion, Davide Vigano, CEO and co-founder of Sensoria, shares his views regarding the growth of the smart garment's industry and the future of wearables.
TT: What kind of response are you getting for your smart garments?
The initial response to our Smart Socks was a bit of scepticism; however, after the plethora of awards and notable media mentions that we received, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We estimate that there are over 120 million runners worldwide and research shows that between 65-85 per cent of those runners get injured at least once per year. We wanted to create a solution that could help runners improve their form and reduce the occurrence of such injuries. Once consumers realised that sensors embedded into the plantar area of the sock could accurately produce metrics attributed to running form, they were more likely to try and adopt the product.
TT: How has the wearable market evolved?
Consumers are becoming increasingly more aware and adoption is becoming more frequent. In terms of the innovation adoption curve, the market has progressed from innovators and early adopters to more mainstream early and late majority, which means that well over 50 per cent of the population has adopted the wearables market. Earlier this year, a Gartner press release predicted that worldwide wearable device sales would grow 18 per cent in 2016. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 274.6 million wearable electronic devices will be sold worldwide in 2016, an increase of 18.4 per cent from 232 million units in 2015.
One of the key areas transforming the wearables sector is healthcare. Overall, health insurers are well placed to take advantage of the potentially large benefits from the increasing use of wearable technology among their customers. This is particularly true if they are willing to offer enticing discounts on premiums and are able to earn the trust of policyholders with regards to their data. The companies that find a way to create affordable products that offer greater value for both users and their healthcare partners will be the best served. In addition, there is opportunity in exploring the subsidisation of health care wearable devices.
TT: Has there been a change in people's perception towards technologically advanced garments?
Yes, as more players enter the market, more competition ensues and companies are faced with creating differentiation and providing more inherent value to their customers. This market is primarily driven by consumer preference for sophisticated gadgets, increasing growth prospects of next-generation displays and integrated consumer wearable devices, increasing popularity of wearable fitness and medical devices, and growing popularity of Internet of Things.
TT: What are the challenges that you faced while developing these smart garments? How did you overcome these challenges?
Initially, in the creation of our smart socks, we were unable to find the exact sensors that we needed in the marketplace. Therefore, we created our own proprietary textile sensors, which took longer than anticipated and cost us a lot of resources. However, the effort was well worth it to deliver the best product possible to the marketplace in terms of accuracy, wear ability, functionality, etc.
TT: You currently have smart T-shirts, sports bras and socks in your portfolio. Are you planning to introduce any more products?
With the introduction of Sensoria Core, our revolutionary new technology platform, this embeddable technology will accelerate the integration of a broad spectrum of sensors with footwear and apparel products. We are looking for strategic partners with whom we can create customised solutions that deliver the metrics that are most important to their customers.
TT: How many washes would a piece of smart clothing last? Would there be any constraints on a tumble dry and squeeze?
Our Sensoria smart socks are tested for up to 60 washes. We recommend not using a drying machine, but rather laying them flat to air dry. For our smart upper garments, they wash as any other major brand garment would wash, and we recommend the same drying instructions. We do not recommend tumble drying or squeezing.