Projection of smart clothes sales are set to grow by 45% per year by 2022. Sensors embedded into our clothes may have yet to reach mass market appeal like wearables have, but it’s only a matter of time before it catches on.
Of course, the tech behind smart clothes would have to improve. They need to survive detergents and being tossed about in washing machines on a regular basis. Something other smart devices don’t have to endure. More importantly, a compelling use case needs to be found for mass market appeal. It is predicted that garment sales by 2019 would reach $2.2 Trillion. The most compelling use case would be for injury protection.
2014 alone saw $33 Billion spent on treating sports injuries from amateur athletes and sports enthusiasts. And if we look at professional sports, the cost of preventable injuries can jeopardize the success of a business. Professional athletes are among the highest paid people and for a good reason. People want to watch them play. Injuries to highly paid athletes result in a significant loss, not just from player treatments and rehabilitation, but also from the costs associated with the lost ticket and merchandise sales. In 2015, Major League Baseball lost $700 million in player salaries due to injuries. Not counting ticket sale losses. The NBA saw the about same losses every year for the past decade.
Then there’s the military and law enforcement aspect. Sensors placed in these professional clothing can detect injury, environmental changes, from biological, chemical, radioactive and electromagnetic exposure to capturing energy from capturing energy within the textiles. Reason being all that tech needs to be powered and lugging around a huge battery pack isn’t ideal. It is estimated that the U.S. military spends an average of $2 Million per injury for medical support and benefits over the lifetime of the soldier. Injuries sustain by soldiers in the Iraq & Afghanistan conflict have amounted to a whopping $1.7 Trillion.
These two segments alone would drive initial sales and adoption over the next decade.
Reminds us of that Playstation game Crysis.