Innovations in the wearable industry and innovative prototypes at „wecon“ and „InnoDays“
From 20 to 22 November the first international Wearable Conference “wecon” and the 48-hours hackaton “InnoDays” took place for the first time in the Lake Constance area in Bregenz. At the joint event, everything revolved around the topic of wearables of the future and the development of prototype-ready ideas.
Trends in the wearable industry
The wearables market is growing rapidly and is gaining importance for a wide range of industries such as textiles, electronics, sensor technology, automotive, sports, office equipment, etc. At the “wecon”, prominent representatives of renowned companies such as Red Bull Media House, Atomic, Scania, VW, NTT, A1 or Microsoft gave insights into the latest developments in the wearable market and pointed out trends, technologies and innovations.
The event is a joint project of the Smart Textiles Platform Austria, InnoDays, v-digital | Wirtschafts-Standort Vorarlberg GmbH (WISTO), Wirtschaftskammer Vorarlberg and the government of Vorarlberg, supported by the Interreg-Projekt „BoMi 4.0“.
The ski manufacturer Atomic, for example, presented “Connected Skiing Products” – a sensor that is attached to the ski boot and records and analyzes all data on ski behavior and transmits suggestions for improvement to the skier using an app. Another example of wearables are Scania’s intelligent textiles with integrated sensors and electronics, which support truck drivers in their work and increase the safety of truck traffic. The monitoring of vital data is intended, for example, to detect fatigue and ensure that drivers stay healthy.
In addition to the expert presentations, there was the opportunity to discuss specific topics in depth in B2B meetings.
Günter Grabher, initiator and sponsor of the Smart Textiles Platform Austria is convinced: “Wearables are far more than textile solutions and offer diverse future opportunities to various industries. In particular, applications in the sports and leisure sector, in the care and medical sector as well as in industrial processes can be revolutionised by innovative solutions based on smart products”.
Innovative Ideas and Prototypes
The “InnoDays”, on the other hand, brought young talents together with industry partners and mentors from a wide variety of industries to work on innovative ideas and develop them into marketable prototypes.
For this purpose, the participating companies presented various “challenges” that had to be mastered by interdisciplinary teams within 48 hours. The Smart Textiles Platform Austria, for example, was looking for ways to use intelligent textiles in such a way that computers understand human emotions. The joint project of the Zumtobel Group, Kapsch and Microsoft focused on the topic of “Smart Office” and how such an intelligent office could be designed. The Rhomberg Bau Group and Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group posed the question of how a construction and railway company can act ecologically, economically and socially sustainably. And the fruit juice manufacturer Rauch Fruchtsäfte wanted to redefine the fruit juice experience of the future.
The winning team of the Smart Textiles Platform Austria finally convinced with its innovative approach to the topic of health. The “intelligent seat” integrates sensors that provide information about an app when sitting too long, that activity is necessary and at the same time suggest fitness and stretching exercises. The team now has the unique opportunity to pursue or implement their idea as a pilot project with the company.
While this corporate hackathon format offers young talents the opportunity to get support from experienced coaches, make contacts and gain practical experience, the companies in turn receive valuable market insights, inspiration, prototypes for new solutions and contacts to creative entrepreneurial minds. Schools and universities from Vorarlberg, St.Pölten, Innsbruck and Germany used this opportunity and participated in this year’s “InnoDays”.
The “InnoDays” took place for the second time in Vorarlberg. The format has already proven itself internationally in places such as Berlin, Innsbruck, Vienna, San Francisco, Jönköping or Honolulu, where impressive start-up-driven innovations have been created in this way.
Learning from each other
The parallel events offered the approximately 200 participants of the “wecon” and the “InnoDays” the opportunity to receive valuable input from experts as well as from young imaginative minds and to network and exchange among themselves.
© Mike Siblik, Wisto