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In S2 episode 27 Christian Dalsgaard- CEO, of Smart Textile Alliance unpins the world of smart textiles from what smart textiles can be used for, the current climate and what’s in store for the futureπŸ‘–πŸ‘•πŸ©±πŸ‘—

Sit back, relax, tune in and be the first to discover…

  • Christian’s background in smart textiles πŸ‘–
  • What is the current market overview for the smart textile sector? πŸ‘—
  • What hurdles are there for the smart textile sector? πŸ‘•
  • What is the Smart Textile Alliance? πŸ‘–
  • How is the Smart Textile Alliance helping support product development? πŸ‘—
  • What is forecasted for the future of smart textiles? πŸ‘•

And much more!

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Christian Dalsgaard is the CEO of Smart Textile Alliance driving to bring standards to support innovation and growth in the emerging industry of smart textiles.

Connect with Christian on LinkedIn Here

Find out more about Smart Textile Alliance Here

Episode Transcript

Brad King-Taylor
Hello, and welcome The IoT podcast. I’m your host for today Brad King-Taylor and today I’m delighted to be joined by the CEO of Smart Textile Alliance, Christian Dalsgaard. Before we get into it, as always, please don’t forget to like and subscribe to the podcast because it gives you all the updates on the latest releases. So Christian, obviously absolute pleasure to have you thank you so much for joining us, I suppose the best place to start for the viewers purposes give us a little bit of an overview of your background in the smart textile industries.

Christian Dalsgaard
And thank you for inviting me to this. I have a podcast. I hope we can make it enjoyable, enjoyable for the listener. Yeah, my name is Christian Dalsgaard. I have a long background in electronics, it started out in companies part of the AT and T so I have been in laboratories the whole of my career. In 2004, I established the company or my Tech’s which was pioneering in the field of smart textiles. I had a degree in electronics, it and saw that many of the laboratories that the chip manufacturers in so Infineon Philips, they were all trying to look into the future of miniaturised electronics, and then how that would impact the way we see new products. And I thought that making electronics into comm it would be a natural step for a lot of the things that we we’re watches, even the the large boxes that are on the wall in the hospital. Yeah.

Christian Dalsgaard
So I established all my texts, and we were quite successful, had a contract for the European Space Agency in 2009, working with astronauts and very exciting work. And that has actually been a lot of the platform for doing sophisticated electronics into textiles. I stepped back from the company in 2009. In 2013, I have been in us for a year. And I thought that the founder was necessary, not necessarily needed anymore, that we had a good management set up. And I had the thoughts that were that a lot of the scalability issues that we have seen, actually came back to the lack of plug and play components, industry standards. And therefore we established Smart Textile Alliance, which is a nonprofit organisation in London, with the aim to join companies together to create a common solution for interconnectivity so that you don’t necessarily need to build everything from scratch, you can build your electronics independent on which garment it’s intended for, whether it’s a firefighter uniform, the police uniform, or even forces clothes processing device. And the content of PCB board is basically the same. It’s about reducing battery power. And you know that all that from the IT IoT world. So that was impressive. And that was inspiring for creating smart textile lines.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah. And to be fair, you just used the word that I wanted to say if it really is inspiring, when we came across you as a company and what you’re trying to achieve, it’s amazing. I think it’s probably good if we now start to familiarise ourselves with with the current climate. The current market overview in the smart textile sector and where we were seeing the most successful application of the smart textiles.

Christian Dalsgaard
Yeah, sure. You need to look for work or market which is 70 million billion dollars. The smart textile market of today is only around $500 million. However a lot Certain loss of part of the verbal market would include some kind of textile integration, whether it’s in straps, t shirt, the jackets, sleeves, socks. So I imagine that this 500 million US dollar, which is the current market would expand over the next coming five to 10 years. But in this 500 million US dollar market, the main applications are here to textiles, meaning, you can wear a battery you can be in rural areas become clogged cold. And you can support this weather extremes by actually in power in your target or powering your smart devices. And that appears to be the most common application. Now for smart textile. Although the sport sector is highly growing. With application where you measure your muscle activity during exercise, you can also track your motion, so that you can optimise maths you shoot when you’re in a football game. And in in all areas where fitness occur, it’s good to understand the heart rate, good to understand your respiration and track that also with the people in your surrounding with colleagues with friends, and use it as a benchmark and motivation, motivator. So that’s the main the main market is the heated garment sports area sports apparel in following. And then clearly in the future, we will see a lot of healthcare applications.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, perfect. And no, me as well. Like, I’m glad you brought that up. Because sport is always been a huge part of my life. So seeing things like this now, it’s just mind blowing. For me. I play a lot of football, a lot of golf and and this can help a lot. It’s a very high standard, I’ll be honest, but I play it nevertheless. So people that do play that highest standard, I think this can be almost game changing for them. So it’s great, obviously all these sorts of things. Nothing ever comes easy. So I’m keen to understand a little bit more about the challenges that you’re seeing in the smart tech, textile sectors. And you early on you refer to the scalability, so it’d be good to see how you’ve overcome those issues as well?

Christian Dalsgaard
Yeah, one of the main challenging currently is that there are no standard, no universal connectivity standards. Imagine USB. on computers before USB actually exist, there was proprietary solution for connecting printer, and you need to deliver both the printer and the computer. And that could be an IBM, for example. And that really had the bottleneck in the expansion of the market. Similar, we see similar things here. Now, in the smart wearables, a lot of solutions are proprietary, I think I want to show this as an example of a connector solution. And it fits very well. I hope you can see Yeah, it can be snapped, it can be snapped to can be snapped to a T shirt. However, even this is washable, and can support the data as well as power. Since it’s a proprietary solution, it cannot be reused in other application. Therefore, every time the connector is developed, it’s just an add on to the cost. And that that create a bottleneck currently. So one of the main issue is to actually event or find establish the solution so that you have interoperability between the electronics and can utilise your power on a garment and the integration of the sensors and all the things that say are new to the new to the to the electronics industry.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, amazing. And the fact that you obviously you’ve noticed the challenges you’re working towards overcoming overcoming them. That’s that’s the main thing so that we have a good overview of the industry now, which is great, and the viewers would appreciate that. But let’s talk more about the Alliance. Right? That’s that’s why you’re here what we’re what we’re interested in. So going into a bit more depth on that. What is this one? Hot tech solid lines, where does the inspiration come from?

Christian Dalsgaard
The inspiration actually comes from the history about the USB about Bluetooth, Wi Fi Alliance. industry was that was lacking standards. And I’m not here talking about governmental standards or prescriptive standards, but really industry solution that the companies agreed on. So, and the way they these standards have evolved and the technology have been widespread, is because there have been an agreement or an established and not for profit organisation that can advance the specification agree on the details in the specification, so that companies that actually want to use that technology can have a say. And the way it also works is that if you signed up to this organisation, you will automatically gain IP rights to use the other members technology. So in advance of putting your own IP right into the pool, you will get access to the full spectrum of, of the USB or Bluetooth. And that’s a huge advantages for for everybody.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, so what Yeah, huge advantage, and it’s about building those networks, right. And it’s the same for anything, anything that we do, it’s and that’s why podcasts are good, because again, it’s just another way of growing your network and sharing your message and all that sort of stuff. So, the fact that you are working with that sort of ideas as well is superb. So, how is the smart textile lines related to IoT development? Obviously, we are an IoT podcast, if you like to a certain extent. So yeah, how are you related as a company to that?

Unknown Speaker
The smart textile technology has a huge in common with IoT, miniaturisation, miniaturised Asian, batteries, autonomy, cloud solutions, infrastructure, so you can say from the technology side, it’s a huge link between the IoT world and the smart textile world. At the moment, we don’t have any link to IoT other than what you have been invited me to participate in. And I hope that can be that can be developed. Sure, because there’s a lot of similarities in the way the the industry develops,

Brad King-Taylor
yeah. develops is a key word in what we all do. In this crazy sector, you whether you’re developing some sort of software, or you are the the industry itself is developing, growing, ever changing, right? And that’s, that’s one of the key things in different things.

Christian Dalsgaard
I need to emphasise that the smart textile alliance is not doing and develop ourselves, we another development house, we we hope for for creating these highly needed standards. So, plug and play solutions that can be beneficial for everybody.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, of course. Well, that leads me straight on to the next question. So, what is the smart textiles textile stack? And how is the smart textile support product development?

Christian Dalsgaard
We are doing during the years that I have worked with smart textiles I have seen a lot of you can say logical separation in the way that the supply chain work. Textile companies, yarn manufacturers have a huge manufacturing set up for making really really impressive conductive yarns. And they are good at that. And I think this would keep being good at that. So, thinking of how you build a smart textile product by having a layer with the fabric and the fibres interconnected to a layer where you can have a universal connector and this is this universal connector can be attached by an EQ platform of electronics whether it’s so sensing device, a device that work as connectivity between a Bluetooth or a Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone, or whether it’s a solution actually goes directly to 5g, the importance is that you can separate the layer of fibre and fabrics to, to the connector layer to the to the processing layer. And on top of that, it’s also important that to know that everything you do in the smart textiles world ends in a washing machine. So that’s that’s simply a condition and today you will not see any electronics that are washed yet unsafe with accidents. But normally, your cloth is washed 50 time and therefore there is a handling layer that needs to take care of how you treat your electronics. Separated disposal. What kind of ingredients can be used in relation to integrated sensors? And how is it displayed? Today you have symbols, I can send all your clothes. But there are none that actually prescribe how how a sensor enabled the jacket or shirt should be pretreated. So that’s part of the work also to have a layer on top of all the technical, technical technical layers, which take care of care and handling

Brad King-Taylor
layers is such a big word and everything that we do, there’s always leis I can see that being clipped for when we do the build up to this podcasts you talking about? Pretty much everything you do ends up in a washing machine, which is a great quote. So obviously with with everything that we do there standards, right, it’s one of the main things, everybody has to focus on industry standards. So I’m keen to understand how the Alliance advanced and helped improve industry standards.

Christian Dalsgaard
Currently, we are in an infant state, we were established in 2020. We have structuring being I’m located in Denmark, I’m Danish, we have our office in London, during the pandemic, there was forever restrictions that were limited the ability to to get people together. But I hope this autumn we have we have a group of ambassadors who have signed up to support our mission, I hope we can advance that group, we can also make common work attempt to to agree on on a direction for for standards, especially on the connectivity and the interoperability. And I expect that this autumn would be kick off some of that work.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, good. And you’ve kind of touched on it briefly for what you’re hoping to achieve in the future. So obviously, the past is the past, were a little bit more able to do things now. So like you said with the meeting, but what are you forecasting for the smart textile sector in the coming years? And how are you looking to support the innovation of what is a growing industry

Christian Dalsgaard
right? There, I can’t prove it. But I see that all the wearables that we are wearing today watches, belts, one in another way, the next logical step in that evolution would be that it becomes part of something that has the character of textile, whether it’s a stretchability probability, or whether it can be weird as part of T shirt. And therefore, both because that you can have a much higher currency on your measuring if it’s a muscle activity monitoring if it’s oxygenation, monitoring, saturation, EK T, everything becomes more accurate in the moment where you can integrate it into things that that is commonly understood as a garment. So I think there will be a natural next evolution of wearables that include more and more elements from from what is known from fashion and textiles, which can also increase the user experience of these type of product you can create the elements that are known from fashion and the way you express yourself in the way you you like products and like wearing things.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah. And everybody, I say everybody, everybody should, especially in sport, things like that should be wearing clothes, right? So it’s gonna be good for I’m thinking things like injury prevention and stuff like that for for high level athletes that there’s still the issue, they’re understanding that their muscles and their blood flow a little bit better in terms of there’s there’s obviously they all these people have really strong teams around them to try and help prevent with mass ologies and therapy and that sort of stuff. But I think this can take it that little bit step further. Would you agree?

Christian Dalsgaard
Yeah, it’s a way of it’s a way of creating tools that give you a better insight to whether it’s your respiration, cardiovascular capacity, your muscle activity, having instrumentation have always, always gain, in fact, in the way you understand and be able to coach and train and optimise your, your performance. So 100%

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, yeah. And this is why I love what I do in everything, the conversations that I have, and some of the technology is out there at the moment, we’re in an unfortunate place where cardiac arrests, I think you touched on on cardiac is become quite it’s, it’s a more of a thing now, especially in football. So this is why just little things like this can can make all the difference. And it’s exciting. Right? It is genuinely is exciting. So thank you for First up for this sort of stuff. So yeah, that before we end the podcast, as always Christian, we’d like to go back to a previous guest and get a question from them. In this instance, is Roy Dagon, who was the CEO of security things. He wants to ask you, how would you see the supply chain lag evolving in the next two or three years? And what tips do you have for companies looking to fully demand in the market?

Christian Dalsgaard
I’m not sure. I’m not sure if I understood the I can see the supply chain. But was there a security element in this?

Brad King-Taylor
I don’t think so. So I think it’s more about like driving the applications and and how we can benefit maybe in the end users and it’s just just little things like that potentially in in how we can help fulfil,

Christian Dalsgaard
I think I think that unfortunately, it would be mainly electronic companies that are driving the growth of smart textile. And that would influence the supply chain, it would be medical device companies that will say expand more into soft products. And therefore, I think the main the main value chain or the main part of the value chain would be electronics companies, but but they need to be supported by electronics by bye, bye, yum manufacturer of fabric manufacturers. And then I think they will say if you take the electronic supply chain in the middle, you will have some add on in the beginning with says fibre and fabrics. And then you will have an new add on in closer to the consumer, which is the apparel industry. So that the branding of products the way you normally think clothes, sport brands will adapt the solution that is supported by the Electronic Industries and electronic developers.

Brad King-Taylor
Perfect. And I’ve got one final question. I know. Naturally, a lot of the stuff that I’ve referred to and spoke about it’s been sport that’s just me, it’s just who I am. I can’t get away from it. But I could ask you a question that hopefully it might if we if we take that that sector away from things what’s either one sector that you personally Christian want to have a big impact on or you see this being a big impact on

Christian Dalsgaard
add to what the what I have seen, I think the motion capture is so interesting. Being able to understand your exact shoot, being able to understand how you how you behave when you’re doing exercise. And being able to track the exact even say motion is clearly the muscle activity monitoring. Clearly the vital sign doing this exercise is also interesting. But being able to fully track how you move when you’re doing a gaming. Okay, and how you can optimise your posture. I’m confident that that would that would be a fun and huge advantage for athletes and people that are serious about fitness.

Brad King-Taylor
Amazing. And health. Yeah, I am truly excited about where this can go. I think it’s I think it’s brilliant. I noticed that you, you naturally went to a dark throw, is that your game? Or is that just what you you tend to use as an example? If you play darts, sorry, do you bet Do you play darts? You’re not you, you went straight for the Dart throw on that when you started that? Oh, just your example that look. Brilliant. Again. Thank you so much for coming on. It’s been it’s been a pleasure. Thank you. And I as I’ve said a couple of times already, I’m genuinely excited about where this can go. So yeah, brilliant. Thank you. The final thing as always, is if you can just give the listeners direction in terms of your socials, your website, that sort of stuff or where they can find you.

Christian Dalsgaard
Yeah. Yeah, look into smart textile alliance.com or google it, we are the only with that name on the internet. And that will give a great inspiration, you can definitely also look into our ambassadors, which include, which include The Danish Technological Institute found 244 very competent Institute’s that can help you with printed electronic with sophisticated way of doing a system on on Flex, manufacturing garments. So the ambassadors, the Group of Ambassadors is a very unique place to start. And we also have a supplier directory where you can look for components and specific elements that can be used in inspire textile, and it’s all trusted suppliers. So we know what they do. And we describe in good detail what you can achieve by using these off the shelf products.

Brad King-Taylor
Brilliant. And I can’t wait to wrap up. Thank you so much, Christian, and appreciate you coming on and joining us today.

Christian Dalsgaard
Okay, yeah, thank you, and have a good day.

Brad King-Taylor
And you take care, enjoy the sunshine. As always, make sure you like and subscribe to the podcast. We want to make sure that we’re giving you all the relevant information and updates on when the latest releases are coming. It doesn’t matter how you’re watching where you’re watching, as long as you’re watching. Thank you and until next time

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