by Stefanie Crucius

July 9, 2015

Live Report from WT | Wearable Technologies Conference 2015 USA in San Francisco – Day 1

9:39 am: Only a few minutes before the conference starts. We are looking forward to a great conference day.

10:03 am: Introduction by Christian Stammel, Wearable Technologies AG. We will learn how to sell a product and to make it successful (and how not to fail at the last steps). Another big topic: We need to overcome the purpose of energy – is energy harvesting the solution? Lastly, at the conference you will learn more about how to make your product safer with WT and TÜV SÜD.

10:11 am: Daniel Kraft about “Quantified Self to Quantified Health”. Everything is connected, so let’s call it the internet of the body. What is changing at the moment in the healthcare market: formerly no health related wearables; but now wearables can be applied in the medical world to be used by health professionals as well as trainers. Digital Coaching is a big topic at the moment. We can see our future and this causes that we will change our behavior and remain motivated. We are able to bring innovative healthcare products to the poorest areas in the world. Daniel Kraft encourages us to be data donors to create the future together.

Oded Cohen, UpRight, on stage: Trainables give immediate feedback and can function as a personal trainer. The 3 A’s are key: Awareness, Automation and Action. The process is much easier with wearables – immediate consistent feedback which is personalized (e.g. using the in our personal environment, not at the gym or a doctor). Wherever we are we can train in order to change our habits. With UpRight, changes in postural habits are already visible after only one week. Why: Minimum efforts, maximum value by subconscious, intuitive learning.

11:40 am: Keynote: Building a Smarter Future – Mike Dennison, President Consumer Technologies Group, Flextronics

We believe in a connected and smarter world but we have to think about new ways to make them more successful. Innovation is everything, the engine of differentiation, driver of success. Consumers dictate about products and development of products to make them successful. They have a strong voice in what’s getting created and why. We must be quicker, invent faster. Consumers didn’t move the needle in the past, but now they are demanding and we have to react. One result: faster product lifecycles – from 18 months 2005 to 9 months 2014. The industry changes: “86% of the original Fortune 500 companies no longer exist” (Fortune Magazine) – adjusting quickly is crucial. In the next five years we will focus less on FDA, but more on the consumer and their needs.

11:05 am: Coffee Break. Have a coffee, enjoy the snacks and talk to our exhibitors! Thanks Ascent Batteries – booth no. 3 – for sponsoring the coffee break. Have a look at their advanced rechargeable batteries for wearable electronics, portable electronics and industrial applications.

Visit Mondaine Watches, Acton, Movo, Practech, SGS, Clothing+, Jabil, Oura and learn about their cool devices, products and services.

You are interested in learning more about how Flextronics can help you to reduce the product lifecycle and to focus on your customer’s needs? Visit them at their booth no 22.

11:30 am: The Ear a Good Idea? featuring wristables, hearables, eyewear and more moderated by Scott Amyx.

11:34 am: Marco Suvilaakso, Polar Electro on stage. People enjoying activity, achieving success – that’s a lot of what Polar is about. In 1982 they launched the first ever heart rate monitor – which means that they launched a whole new category. Marco mentions that there is a huge misunderstanding about activity monitoring against step counting. Polar Loop first activity monitor measuring heart rate and inactivity alerts.

Smart Coaching – how does it work? How can you make a product relevant for the consumer? Without those questions there is a limited factor of success. For example, heart rate variability is a very individual asset to your training status. The system must be intuitive and “simple” to find your personalized training zone. What’s your training benefit whilst wearing a polar devices? Simple, summarizing and visually showing you what you achieved today – like if you improved your aerobic fitness, or sustainability of maximum speed with a very clear feedback. Polar delivers confidence, what you need to change to improve.

The future for Marco: a Iot more collaboration with 3rd party cloud services and devices for better holistic system. Such as, helping coaches and trainers to achieve success with those devices – no competition but cooperation for greater success.

11:55 am: Wearables interacting with our needs, emotions. They can affect our state like calmness excitement, anxiousness and how we behave. Fotini Markopoulou, Co- founder, Team Turquoise about empathic wearables. Focus or relax on demand with your body’s natural response to rhythm to let you set your pace.

Doppel imitates your heart beat. It pulses on your wrist like a heart rate and so can help you to get going, like when you are exercising. It can help you relax when the beat is roughly soothing, calming, or relaxing. With Doppel you can double your focus and improve alertness. The device is a wearable that is part of your body – the device has to be calibrated to your body and person.

Support their campaign on Kickstarter: st/1d68XlG 

Philipp G. Schwarz from Wearable Life Science presents their ANTELOPE Suit – full body electro muscle stimulation (EMS) to push yourself to the limit. Anytime anywhere.  Even though human body possesses incredible performance potential, only few people are capable of actually unleashing it. With ANTELOPE you can activate the full potential of the body, prevent widespread health issues such as back pain and improve quality of life in the fastest and the most effective way possible.

12:40: Hearables can solve some real problems. David Cannington, Co-Founder Nuheara about the world’s first adaptive hearables. An assisted listening device, Bluetooth ear piece and noise canceling headset all in the one. Control what you want to hear, when you want to hear it. It is a massive problem on the market to allow people to hear what they actually want to hear.

12:50 am: Lunch Break; enjoy our delicious organic catering provided by Bi-Rite Catering

1:20 pm – 1:50 pm: Listen to the Demo Pitches from Ascent Batteries Lithium-Polymer rechargeable batteries, HZO liquid protection, Flexible Circuit Technologies flex circuit design, rigid flex circuits, flexible circuits and heaters, Shimmer’s wireless sensing systems, AiQ Smart Clothing, Firstbeat’s physiological analytics for sports and well-being.

2:30 pm: Fashion, Luxury and Jewels featuring the latest in fashionable wearables, tech jewelry and accessories moderated by Scott Amyx, CEO of Amyx + McKinsey.

Let’s start with Mark Hanna from Richline Group giving us insights about why Function needs Fashion. He underlines the difference between fine jewelry (8 bio dollar industry) which is built to last a lifetime – and custom jewelry (“fast fashion”). How can wearable tech fit to fine fashion? We need substance. It’s not about gadgets but high quality. So we need to find a way for tech to affect a positive change. No need for an extra layer but something which integrates in your life. There must be an emotional need, otherwise, it won’t work out.

So we need to create fine jewelry pieces that are meant to last and outlast trends. Let’s define modern grace and let’s see if it’s Alerts, Fitness Tracking, Making Memories your clients are looking for.

2:45 pm: Hardware Production: So Easy, So Hard – John Pelochino, Director of Product Engineering. Ringly connects to your phone and sends you customized notifications through vibration and light. Most devices are designed for men, but there is a large demand for wearable tech products designed for women. Ringly is a fashion first product. LED patterns according different alarms. You decide if you want to be interrupted or not.

3:08 PM: Designed to Be Worn – Revolutionary Ring for Your Wellness. Petteri Lahtela, CEO and Co-Founder on stage. The ring understands changes in your behavior, environment and lifestyle and their effects on your mind, body and readiness. It has no display, no LEDs, no buzz, no buttons. The ring simply switches on when you put it on your finger and off when you turn it off. The standalone wearable has a battery life of about three days. Biosignal detection offers the analysis of activity, recovery, sleep and chronobiology to improve your daytime, listen to your body and recover.

3:24 PM: The Importance of Fashion, Brand Power, and Status for Wearables. Sam Yang, Founder and Managing Director, Kairos Watches. Those are the three most important reasons for watches. Why do we wear watches? For 93% status is the reason. It’s about the brand, the design and the personal identity it creates. Unfortunately, smartwatches do not yet satisfy this demand. Therefore, Kairos came up with ‘the hybrid watch,’ a mechanical watch layered with transparent LED display, touch display and the high class design with the quality of a Swiss watch.

4:15 PM: Keynote: Crowdfunding – Creating Wearable Devices in Public Julio Terra, Design and Technology Outreach Lead, Kickstarter

You have a great idea but no money to make it real? Kickstarter can help! There have been over 100 projects for funding wearables – the most successful one was also a wearable: Pebble. 8.4 million people have been funding to make things happen. There are different approaches and it has been shown that Kickstarter is a great platform for quirky ideas. There have been over 50 million dollars pledged via Kickstarter. There are four steps for your campaign: 1) craft product vision, 2) enlist funding and support, 3) share about your journey, 4) determine viability.

You share good and bad things with the community – the audience is part of the project, you may say an extended part of your team. The funders expect active involvement and to be able to provide feedback. They can be your main promoters or main detractors.

Core values you need to embrace:

1) Transparency / Integrity: Prototypes matters. Without a prototype your chances are not perfect – you might not yet be ready for the funding. It helps you to share the user experience, what it is like to use your product. You need to have a relation to your product to be able to share it with the community.

2) Community: Storytelling matters. Reveal details about the people who will use the product, make it feasible.

3) Engagement: You have to live the story, we are super passionate and will do everything to make it alive. You need to sustain and update the project. You must exhibit the passion and convince the community that you will do everything to realize it and that you have the expertise to bring it alive.

4:49 PM: Display Features for Wearable Applications by Vincent Chou, CTO, US Micro Products. They are passionate about engineering the best display solutions backed by years of experience. What is the future of the wearable market / forecast? US Micro Products say that the sales volume will increase to 146 million in 2018 (from 23 in 2014). They predict a  370% market scale increase from 2014 – 2018 (3.8 – 14.1 billion). The average unit price will drop 42% in five years 2014 – 2018. Relevant parameters for OEMs: the form (width, thickness, size, shape), lower power consumption, sun light readability, touch or mechanical interface, lower cost). White OLED can result in a 44% improvement in efficiency due to a chemical reaction (change of recipe).

2:10 PM: Brian J. Toleno, Director Global Product Management from Henkel Electronic Materials speaks about Materials to Enhance Reliability of Wearable Devices. In his speech he focuses on reliability enhancement. For example, you never know what people will do with your device. So be prepared. For example a 1mm thick multilayer board can avoid that the components from a circuit can break and pop off. With adhesives there is no corrosion and makes sure that things stay where they are needed to stay since they are stretchable. A sweat test shows that with coating up to 54 hours with no failures without any coating leakage current reaches 200 uA within 15 minutes. So adhesives can improve the sense for shock, drop and bend and moisture resistance

2:28 PM: Materials Tailored for Wearable Medical Devices and More. On stage is Tim Jacobs, Key Account Manager for TPU Resins in NAFTA, Bayer Material Science. He explains the company provides materials for the body and the skin. Water and chemical resistance. Bayer Material Science designs flexible coating solutions to meet the latest market trends: perfect touch, comfortable feeling, light colors / transparency and many more. Baymedix materials allow for customized skin attachment adhesives with high comfort, low trauma, breathable, non-allergenic, adjustable adhesive strength, fills and foams that provide high breathability, comfort, sterile or protective barrier, soft touch inviting feel, cushioning and absorbency and can incorporate active ingredients. They are in the watch band application for more than 15 years with the thermoplastic urethane. There are several wearable applications in the recent years such as tablet display cushion trim, protective skins, cushions and they are working on shape memory TPU, 3D printing TPU, TPU from CO2 and many more. Of course their products are environmentally friendly and qualified not to harm.

5:45 PM: Jean-Francois Rubon, SVP of Innovation and Strategy from Gemalto about Digital Security and what Gemalto can do for you. More than 3000 banks already trust in their technology. They provide diverse applications – e.g. payment via wearables has become a reality (Pulsera La Caixa, bPay, Jawbone UP4 + Amex, Saracens Rugby K, Apple Watch+Apple Pay).  How to achieve that? First part: tiny chip which can store all the banking information and only release the information to the right application in the device or cloud. Second part: A network must be provided that can work with diverse providers.

Another big area next to the payment or automotive market is the topic of cellular connectivity which is extremely complex as you can imagine. Mobile operators are different in all countries. Therefore, on demand connectivity is the solution. One SIM that can be personalized for initial use anywhere in the world.  Some more applications: travel, calls / communication, access control, log on, close loop pay, decrypt, manage your services, read secure mails and many more. Nonetheless, Gemalto is happy to learn about your demands and to help you solve it.

6:05 PM: Join our evening reception and get together. Have a drink or two and network with our exhibitors.