Last week saw IDTechEx host Wearable Technology Europe in Berlin's Estrel Conference center. The event has a unique format, co-locating with synergic industries including printed electronics, energy harvesting/storage and the Internet of Things to produce an ecosystem to catalyse innovation and commercial progress. We look forward to returning to the Estrel, Berlin on 27-18 April, 2016 for our annual European event.
The event was a huge success, with over 200 speakers, about 150 exhibitors and over 2000 attendees from 47 countries but what were the key factors that make this event the best platform for any company, group or individual currently working in or interested in the wearable technology sector?
Keynotes by key people from the key players
Flextronics make 85% of all the wearable technology products in the world today. They are regularly seen at conferences across the world, presenting their offerings and consolidating their dominant position in this sector. The difference at the IDTechEx conference was the nature of the talk: Keith Churches is the global Head of Innovation at Flextronics. He showed specific examples of technology projects that are ongoing in the company, giving clear indication of what is needed to drive wearable technology to a $70bn future in the next decade.
Keith Churches, Head of Innovation, Flextronics, speaks at the Keynote session
The audience at the keynote sessions
Live product announcements
Another of the keynotes provides the perfect example of why co-locating events is so beneficial. Stein Lundby from Qualcomm gave the opening keynote talk at the conference, and announced a new product based on printed electronics. Details of the product can be seen here, in an interview with their partner Enfucell, at their tradeshow booth:
Skin patches are seen by many as the ultimate form factor for wearable technology, but with some notable exceptions, they are cited as being something for the future. This product from Qualcomm shows a patch-based device incorporating advanced functionality that can be worn (even if it's just by your golf club!). This is a significant step towards something that analysts have discussed for many years without seeing commercial success, and the IDTechEx Show! kicked off with a company with $26bn revenue announcing their first product of this type.
An eclectic and vibrant tradeshow
In a single lap of the tradeshow floor, it is possible to gain a detailed snapshot of all of the latest innovations across the industries covered. The exhibitors represent not only companies already in the wearable technology space, but also many actively moving into the space as manufacturers, technology providers or innovators. Therefore, the setup catalyses commercial progress, and high profile attendees from across the value chain come to be a part of that.
The following photos outline just a few of the things that you could see on the tradeshow floor:
Sefar Smart fabrics show their functional fabric technologies
Flexible circuit show you everything that is possible with a PCB, including the one they made for the Nike FuelBand
Sensing-Tex show their textile sensor and display offerings in Demonstration St
Two days of dedicated, world-class conference speakers
The Wearable Technology Europe conference track was one of the most popular aspects of the event. The room was filled with people coming to hear from 30 speakers in a dedicated track on the subject. However, whilst this room provided consistent high level discussion, many parallel sessions from other tracks touched on key technologies which will be part of wearable devices of the future (e.g. printed and flexible sensors, low power displays, sensors, batteries, energy harvesting and many more).
Standing (stair-sitting?) room only at the Intel presentation
Christian Kaar from Runtastic
Indro Mukerjee, Chairman of FlexEnable
The aim of this setup is to provide maximum value to the attendees and the presenters. Each of our analysts constructs a dedicated track that covers the subject in excellent detail, and the parallel tracks ensure coverage of the entire value chain.
The highest quality attendees
This is the last and most important factor that I would like to mention. The attendees at the event in Berlin includes representatives from companies throughout the value chain that attend looking for new business opportunities. IDTechEx have built up an extensive network across many very exciting technology areas, and this converges at each event that we host. Be it investors, innovators, entrepreneurs, strategic partners, suppliers, manufacturers or press, you will meet the right people at these events.
To close, I will give you some of the early feedback that we have received from attendees and exhibitors so far:
"We were barely capable of coping with the overwhelming interest of top level quality contacts at our stand." Bainisha
"Excellent, lot of opportunities to meet people and increase awareness of companies/technologies" Essilor
"This event is really focused on real things, real devices and people are focused on concrete business." Thales
"The diversity of represented industries and topics kept both the conference and exhibition interesting throughout the three days. As always the masterclasses provided salient and thorough information about new and existing technologies and markets." Ilika Technologies
We look forward to returning to the Estrel next year on 27-28 April 2016, and now we move forward towards IDTechEx's US event, held in Santa Clara, CA, on 18-19 November, 2015. I hope to see you there! See www.idtechex.com/usa for more details.