A recent interview given by Rod Tanks, managing director of Smart Fabrics highlights the difficulties Wearable Electronic is facing but also indicates that Wearable Electronic is ready to take off.
This interview is full of very interesting observations on Wearable Electronic. Coming from a businessman Like Rod Tanks who’s company is one of the first 100% dedicated companies for Wearable Electronic products since 2003, counts even more.
An interesting analogy Rod Tank makes is: “The market in general will take off,” he says. “Cast your mind back to the first mobile phones, which were like carrying bricks around, and there were probably only about half a dozen streets in Sydney where they could work.”
I can confirm that not only in Sydney but many parts of major cities around the world where without cell phone reception just 10 years back.
As soon as consumers saw the added value of cell phones to their life this business exploded and billions have been spend to make cell phones ubiquitous as they are today. That all happened in just little more than 10 years.
Tanks sees also the difficulty Wearable Electronic faces at this moment: converging two very different industries which is holding back the faster introduction of Wearable Electronic: “The textile and apparel sector, which is very old and very well-established, and the other is the technology sector, which is very young and accelerating at an incredible pace.”
“Wearable technology requires the convergence of these two sectors and the channels they use. The difficulty is the mismatch between the distribution channels, the margins and pricing strategies of the two.”
“Take the textile and apparel sector for example. They play with margins generally in the 80 to 100 per cent mark-up range, even 200 per cent, at times. In the electronics industry, on the other hand, if someone can scoop up 12-15 per cent margins they start to think about retiring on the profits and it is all happy days.”
This is a very interesting view and might explain to a certain extend the limited availability of Wearable Electronic products. Sure, it does not explain everything as the technology itself does not offer a wide range of options at this moment either.
But companies like Smart Fabrics with people like Rod Tanks on the top give high hopes that anytime soon we, the consumer will see more Interactive Fashion in the stores.
Smart Fabrics is planning to expand in 2008 their operation across Asia to cater for the different needs in this region, adding services for Smart Fabric integration by other companies and expanding their own design and development of consumer products which are promoted under the G-Tech brand.
Read the full interview by Australia IT