The “killer app” for smart textiles

The “killer app” for smart textiles

Electronic textiles have hundreds of potential use cases, many of which are being explored by different companies around the world. So where is the "killer app" for e-textiles?

The development of new technology often creates new opportunities to provide value to customers in new products. It is common for marketers and investors to talk about finding a “killer app”, an application of a technology that is so desirable and necessary that it defines the core value of the technology area which enabled it in the first place.

Whilst most commonly used to describe successful software programs that helped to define the success of their underlying computer hardware, it is also used in a wider sense to capture key product types or markets which are vehicles for the success of the underlying technology and its developers.

Electronic textiles have hundreds of potential use cases, many of which are being explored by different companies around the world. IDTechEx’s latest report on the topic, “E-textiles & smart clothing 2021-2031: Technologies, markets and players”, categorises key players and market trends across many of these markets, including sectors such as medical & healthcare, sports & fitness, military & space, enterprise, PPE & workwear, and fashion.

Within and beyond these, there are many more specific product trends, with examples covered in the report including smart home, hospitality, automotive interiors, veterinary uses, motion capture, haptic suits, assistive clothing, and more. Sitting above these, product trends around physiological monitoring and active heating within apparel dominate as the two most prominent product themes.

So where is the “killer app” for e-textiles? We can consider the current state of different application sectors today to think about this question.

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