Manufacturer of protective gear for motorcycle and auto racing, as well as action sports such as mountain biking and surfing Alpinestars will be presenting in a few days at our our WT | Wearable Technologies Conference in Milan. Here a brief interview with Product Design Engineer Colin Ballantyne who will be on stage at the conference:
1. What is the most important thing you learned while being involved in the topic of wearable technologies?
One of the most important aspects that I learned is that wearable technologies should be as discreet as possible in terms of their integration with the garment. This is not just in terms of looks, but also in terms of function – people are looking for WT to enrich their lives, not interfere with them by having too many buttons/functions or confusing displays… or requiring too much personal investment in setting up the device to get useful information, the whole process should be as natural as possible for the user.
2. How can your company help bringing the world of fashion and the world of technology closer together?
The response to this question actually follows onto the last one – fashion and technology can be brought closer together by making them as seamless as possible… but that actually, in order to access the greater market, it is actually the ‘fashion’ part of the product that needs to be in the driving seat, as this provides the ‘reassurance’ to the customer that the technical product that they purchased lives up to their lifestyle requirements. Even if you have a very good technical idea, no one will buy it if it looks terrible. Likewise when you have a number of competitors on the market, the user may ‘filter’ the products using a technical parameter (like weight) but in the end the final decision comes down to how the customer imagines how they look when wearing the product. At Alpinestars we have both a long history of design innovation in products and a substantial fashion clothing design team, who are responsible for Alpinestars lifestyle clothing collections, who have input into designs to ensure we have attractive and desirable products for our customers.
3. What is your favorite wearable product/device (besides your own) of 2015?
Thinking back to the conference in February, I have to say that I was most impressed with the wireless scanning system for the blood sugar level exhibited by Abbott Diabetes. While this is obviously only for people with a particular medical condition, I could see how a device like that would make an immediate positive contribution to the daily living of a person – and ultimately that is the aim of all wearable devices.