IoT STRIDING TOWARDS AN INTERCONNECTED FASHION INDUSTRY

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SAMARA GINSBERG

03.01.21

The average person likely does not know about The Internet of Things, let alone how much we regularly interact with this technology. Abbreviated as IoT, its concept revolves around interconnected technologies such as hardware, artificial intelligence, security, and data analytics. Upon hearing the term IoT, there can be a predisposed notion about its meaning such as referring to just anything on the internet; however, IoT encompasses how things are specifically connected to the internet. As this technology evolves, the fashion industry moves alongside it, adopting and responding to technological developments.  

The world of fashion intertwined with technology is only just beginning. The simple shift from in-person shopping to online shopping rocked the fashion industry, allowing consumers to engage with the market at their fingertips. Now, technology is taking another huge turn in implementing smart clothing and fashion, all because of IoT programming. The difference in the technology utilized in IoT, versus regular technological advancements, is the distinction between technology as a whole, and how we can use technology to connect systems. IoT is paving the way for the fashion industry to add an entire new layer of tech to their arsenal. 

IoT is currently colliding with fashion in the form of health benefits. Smart watches and apps such as Nike+run are examples of IoT implementation, and every day new technology is broadening the scope of what is possible in the future. Clothes now have the capability of being tracked, along with being able to send information such as heart rate and other health measures to smart devices through applications.

 

One of IoT’s biggest achievements is transforming fashion via the wrist watch industry. Many fashion lovers dislike the Apple Watch because although it is useful and convenient, it is also bulky and can take a trendy outfit from a 10 to a 5. Well, thanks to the ever-growing Internet of Things, this might not always be the case. SWATCHPAY! is one of the first developments in turning high-end watches into smart watches. The company’s goal is to make everyday life easier via smartwatches by implementing an NFC chip into the watch to make quick and easy payments at the tap of one’s wrist. Customers simply connect their watch to an app to use this technology—it’s that easy. SWATCHPAY! starts at $55, compared to the Apple Watch which starts at $199. Granted, the Apple Watch has many features that a swatch does not—such as receiving text messages, heart rate tracker, and other smartphone-like abilities—but SWATCHPAY! still has room for growth through ever-advancing technologies. 

For years, watchmakers and technicians struggled while experimenting with IoT to realize their vision. Jean-Claude Biver (CEO of TAG Heuer) expressed a few years ago that he could not implement smart pay technology at the time, but in the future it would be possible. Fast forward a few years, and SWATCHPAY! has made his dream a reality. Again, this is all possible due to IoT tech that allows devices and clouds to become interconnected.

IoT is implementing smarter techniques to assist fashion retail companies as well. For example, the IoT allows retail stores better maintenance, improved inventory practices, and transparent marketing. Examples of this are: sensors being used to track packages and find damages leading to better customer service, checking inventory levels at any time, and companies being able to prove to their customers their ethical manufacturing processes through advanced marketing.The usage of smart sensors is revolutionary. 

 

The overall impacts of IoT on fashion will grow as technology advances—this is only the start. Using algorithms linked with sensors, designers have free creative range to take their brand to the next step. Fashion shows, advertisements, clothing itself—they are all using IoT to further their business models. Endless possibilities and futuristic technology is the recipe needed to change the fashion industry and bring it new meaning.