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Technology Innovations in Smart Fabrics (Technical Insights) : The new competitive edge generated in the technological and market eco-system of smart fabrics

  • December 2014
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 59 pages

Summary

Table of Contents

Research Scope and Objectives

According to industry statistics, the smart fabrics market is expected to generate approximately $ x billion by 2018. Market trends also incline toward rising interest of consumers and potential stakeholders by 2018. At present, the market consists of smart wearable technologies that can be customized to fit a host of demanding sectors. The drastic development of electronics and wireless industries has accentuated the growth of smart fabrics. Sub-segments of smart fabrics, which would be under spot-light include digital fabrics, energy harvesters, and nano-based sensors and communications electronics.

Briefly, this research service provides:
•A snapshot of current smart fabrics technologies and their capabilities.
•Market impact assessment and analysis of recent innovations.
• A detailed analysis of technology and business accelerators and challenges in smart fabrics.
•An assessment of technology adoption with respect to the global hotspots.
•An evaluation of emerging opportunities and patent landscape.
•An Analytical evaluation of the top three sectors that will be impacted by smart fabrics in the next three to five years.
•Some key patents that provide an insight into notable activities of global participants.

Key Findings

The Smart Fabrics market is expected to gain wide adoption with innovations added on the technological and product front. Markets for the technology would be diversified. The growth will be accentuated with higher demands of improvised materials and wearable technologies.
Smart fabrics are segmented based on its end uses. The key sectors in the smart fabrics market include Defense & Military, Personal protection. Healthcare and Sports & Fitness. By 2021, smart fabrics are forecasted to be presented across varied applications and industries.
Wearable sports monitoring systems is one application sector that can be translated directly to end users. Other than wearable technology, other products include identity trackers, muscle rate monitor.
North America showcases highest development of smart fabrics followed by Western Europe. Asia-Pacific isn’t lagging behind much. In Western Europe, countries such as France, Germany, and UK are working tremendously to ensure enhancements of smart fabrics.
E-Textile yarns is expected to replace conductive fibers and more sensitive small scale advanced materials will be developed for smart fabrics. Smart fabrics integrated with sensor technologies will pace out new dimensions in separate form factors.
Emphasis has been sought by companies in enabling technologies which are simple, user-friendly and cost effective. Some products though high-priced, offer refined functionality and ease of usage. Other affordable pocket friendly alternatives ensure healthy market penetration and good consumer satisfaction.

Technology Snapshot

- Passive Smart: Passive smart fabrics are used for sensing stimuli. But these are not enabled to monitor, control, or react to stimuli. For example: Optical fiber embedded fabrics.
- Active Smart: Active smart fabrics can respond to stimuli, monitor and control all sorts of electronic stimuli and impulses. For example: Intelligent clothing.
- Ultra or Very Smart: Ultra- smart fabrics can sense and respond to stimuli and impulses. For example: Fabrics with micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)
- Shape Memory: Shape memory materials are used for thermal insulation to optimize temperature of the external environment and give comfort to the user. For example: Shape memory polyurethane
- Phase Change: These materials ensure storage of latent heat in the fabrics and provide comfort. For example: Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials (PCM) are examples.

•Architecture: Flexible shape and the functional flexibility are two main reasons for smart fabrics to have found immense success in the field of architecture.
•Transportation: x % of the total smart fabrics market is taken by Transportation sectors. With rise in population of the world, various new transportation strategies are being devised.
•Sports & Fitness: Heart rate and muscle rate monitors have found good market density. The most possible state-of-the-art smart fabric solutions are available for sport fitness in forms of shorts, innerwear, and lingerie. For value addition, a range for infants has been added. It is the biggest market for smart fabrics.
•Protection & Military: Motion trackers and position followers have dominated the market in smart fabrics. This market has the third highest adoption rate.
•Healthcare: Healthcare sector is a nascent market. Smart fabrics for medical devices and also for machines and monitors are being developed. Many are available in the market though the costs are still high.
•Fashion & Entertainment: This market has the second highest adoption rate. Most products are inclined toward wet fabrics and smart glasses. Smart Fabrics in the rings and necklaces form factors offer an appealing appearance and also innovative functionality and hence find popularity on the consumer end.

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