Opening Keynote – Canada’s Wearables Industry: Challenges and Opportunities
Wearable technology has far reaching implications for a host of industries, from first responders and military personnel, to healthcare for an aging population. From devices worn on the arm or wrist, to eye wear, footwear, exoskeletons and functionality embedded into fabrics, wearable technology promises to impact every individual in the course of their daily lives.
A key enabling technology for all these devices, due to advantages over conventional electronic components, is printable, flexible and hybrid electronics (FHE).
On the one hand, Canada’s textile industry has a strong pedigree with which to take advantage of this new global market opportunity. On the other, it is a traditional and relatively low-tech industry that is not a natural fit for this kind of advanced and additive technology. The question is how can such a traditional industry renew itself and work with technology partners to boost Canada’s knowledge-based economy.
In this talk, Leo will outline the market opportunities that exist for Canada’s textile, apparel and knowledge-based industries in the global wearables market. He will highlight the efforts of innovative companies that are creating next-generation smart apparel to harness the power of IoT and AI for health, wellness and personal safety. He will contrast this with the challenges that face Canada’s traditional textiles and apparel companies to adapt to change, build a robust ecosystem for wearables, and take advantage of the global market opportunity. He will also touch on how the intelliFLEX Innovation Alliance is working with various public and private sector partners to help Canadian firms overcome this gap.
Leo is a senior marketing communications and public relations consultant who has worked with a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. He has spearheaded media relations campaigns for emerging and high-growth multinational technology companies in North America and the U.K., created thought leadership content to support the lobbying and advocacy efforts of industry associations, and worked on a variety of initiatives that support entrepreneurship and local business growth. His involvement with the Ottawa business community includes serving as editor of the Ottawa Business Journal.