Radical development of electronics and wireless technologies has accentuated the growth of new smart fabric products. Consumer demand for timesaving smart fabrics also fuels product innovation. If smart fabric manufacturers overcome existing business challenges, the market has the potential to grow to $2 billion by 2018.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Technology Innovations in Smart Fabrics, finds that technological integration in the electronics industry has contributed most to the expansion of the smart fabrics market. Among market sub-segments that will be in the spotlight are digital fabrics, energy harvesters, and nano-based sensors and communications electronics.
The evolution of new sensor technologies and introduction of conductive textiles have also driven the success of the smart fabrics market. Smart fabric manufacturers must now carry out solid component and electrical optimization to offer products with best-in-class durability and reliability.
“Developing advanced smart fabrics has become important as the need for these products increases in targeted applications in the sports and fitness and personal protective equipment (PPE) industry,” noted Technical Insights Research Analyst Sanchari Chatterjee. “Ensuring that smart fabrics used for healthcare or sports products yield accurate readings to monitor health-related parameters has been especially vital.”
By meeting these requirements, smart fabric manufacturers will enable the production of hardy end-products which require less maintenance and have an increased shelf life. However, this does nothing to solve the challenge of high processing and end-product costs. The cost of garments has been shooting up as sophisticated integrated chips and circuits are added to smart fabrics systems.
Stakeholders including academia must look for cost-effective alternatives to make reasonably priced smart fabrics with additional features a reality. Meanwhile, affordable technologies such as simple encapsulation and 3D printing aids should be refined to reduce end-product costs.
To penetrate the North American market, however, smart fabric manufacturers must abide by strict regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With the introduction of smart fabric products for targeted users, FDA regulations have become stricter. This, along with increased market competitiveness due to the launch of new products after approval by the FDA, has complicated matters for smart fabric manufacturers.
“To taste success, market participants must ensure that they manufacture smart fabrics that can adapt to the environment,” said Chatterjee. “Since smart fabrics contain circuits and electronic components in the garment form, robust quality control is required to fool-proof the environmental adaptability functionality so that the consumer is not harmed in any way. Design should be as strong as its environmental adaptability characteristics.”
Technology Innovations in Smart Fabric, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides a detailed assessment of the technological advancements in the smart fabrics market. An analysis of technology and business accelerators and challenges in the smart fabrics market, evaluation of emerging opportunities, and patent landscape are among the other topics covered in the study. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.
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