Smart textiles is a fascinating industry area with a significant amount of potential. Developing at the fringes of the electronics/flexible electronics and textile industries over the last 20+ years, it has achieved significant progress towards important new commercial products for a variety of applications. IDTechEx has been covering the e-textiles industry for the past decade, most prominently via the latest report on E-textiles, which forecasted a potential market size of $1.4bn by 2030. However, significant challenges remain, and one of the most cited relates to the development and standardization of connectors and other related technology within products.
Enter the Smart Textile Alliance; founded by two smart textiles industry veterans, this new non-profit seeks to launch and develop standards for the industry, helping companies from across the value chain to collaborate and build products more efficiently. IDTechEx is happy to support the Smart Textile Alliance, who announced their objectives with the following press release in early 2021. Here are their objectives and outlook in their own words:
Over the years smart textiles have evolved organically at the periphery of electronics and textiles industries. During this time many good components and solutions have been developed but Smart Textile Alliance have failed to see a high-volume supply chain emerge from this.
The solutions and components developed have often not been 'interoperable' leading to frustration and high costs during product development and manufacturing. This has resulted in companies struggling to bring scalable smart textile products to market and grow their business to its full potential.
The non-profit Smart Textile Alliance launched in October 2020 aims to codify standards and mature the supply chain for this emerging industry. Building it on a new smart textile stack approach, the initiators believe versatile plug and play solutions will benefit the industry and enrich the technology experience for end-users.
"Smart Textile Alliance is formed by industry specialists with years of experience in the space and we take inspiration from Bluetooth SIG, USB IF, W3C and other groups facing similar industrial challenges in the early stages of a disruptive technology" Christian Dalsgaard, head of Smart Textile Alliance said. He took a step back from the company Ohmatex A/S in 2019 to work on this new mission together with Mili John Tharakan, a seasoned inventor-business leader who has been practising in the field of smart textiles since 2004.
Mili Tharakan adds "Our hope is that we can help companies thrive in the smart textile industry by bringing plug-and-play solutions to the space. This will enable companies to focus on applications and what they are experts at, rather than on how to make every component needed in the smart textile stack".
The Alliance welcomes partnerships with companies who have solutions that can be lifted to a standard for the whole smart textile industry. The aim is to advance e-textile technology via plug and play components that can drive innovation and growth in this emerging industry. The standardization work is foreseen to be funded via sponsorships and donations and through contractual fees for the companies involved.
Caption: It's a top priority for Smart Textile Alliance to develop a standard for washable connectors suitable for cloth. This Bodyplus connector is an example of the many proprietary solutions on the market.
About Smart Textile Alliance
Imagine a world of laptops and mobile phones without USB or Bluetooth technologies. Lack of standardization would upset consumers and slow down industries. The smart textiles industry lacks this seamless interoperability and enhanced user experience. Smart Textile Alliance is driving to bring standards to support innovation and growth in this emerging industry.
For more information, please visit www.SmartTextileAlliance.com, or contact Head of Smart Textile Alliance, Christian Dalsgaard or Mili Tharakan.
Caption: Christian Dalsgaard & Mili Tharakan
Source: Smart Textile Alliance