Slow adoption, lack of formal standards challenges in smart textiles
Twinery-Innovations by MAS is the innovation arm of Sri Lankan company MAS Holdings, one of the largest apparel manufacturers in South Asia. Twinery develops apparel and soft goods innovations that transform the human-textile interface. Head of wearable technology Tiasha Renganathan deliberates about the future and the challenges of working with smart textiles.
While market size estimates vary, the global smart textile industry was estimated to be $544.7 million in 2015 that created the 4th industrial revolution for the textiles and fashion industry, projected to be worth over $100 billion by 2025. Whether this industry delivers on these projections will be driven by ecosystem investment, the ability to commercially scale solutions and solving core consumer challenges with user experience being the key.
Applications span sports and fitness, health and medical, employee health and industrial, military and defence and infotainment. Where human life interacts with the internal and external environment, there begets a need for 'smart' as we continue to aspire to lead healthy active lifestyles that are safe, convenient and interactive.
We believe sports and fitness; health and medical; and industrial are the major markets for smart textiles.
We are focused on the broader challenges of miniaturisation as well as cost optimisation of manufacturing to facilitate a third wave of wearables that is competitive when compared to conventional apparel. From a technology platform perspective, a renewed focus on bio-mechanics is also on the horizon.
The industry is evolving so rapidly that making predictions for 2025 is likely to be a defeating endeavour. Technology lifecycles are rapidly decreasing as investment in technology research and innovation surge to unprecedented levels. Our approach has been to be local in key geographies such as Silicon Valley, continue to invest in expanding our innovation ecosystem and create a culture of open innovation and co-create with consumers to stay ahead of the curve so we are at the front end of what is an industry at its infancy.
Slow adoption and the requirement of education and awareness as well as the lack of formal standards has at times proved challenging. However, we are working at MAS with key standard bodies to help develop these standards as one of the largest manufacturers of smart apparel in the world.
We challenge ourselves to bring to market products that are a first to the space and so without giving too much away, do know that our future plans will revolutionise the way we train-take on the elements - recover and reduce injuries from sporting pursuits. (HO)
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.