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Recent advances in technology have brought together the apparel, technology, and textile industries to develop new capabilities in fabrics with the potential to change how athletes, patients, soldiers, first responders, and everyday consumers interact with their clothes and other textile products.

Known as ‘smart fabrics’, these new high-tech products have the capability to interact with their user or environment, including by tracking and communicating data about their wearer or environment to other devices through embedded sensors and conductive yarns. The applications for these new capabilities are broad with most smart fabric product development now seen in the fields of defense, fitness, health, and public safety.

Reaching the market’s full potential will require overcoming not just technical challenges but also bridging differences in how these distinct industries approach product development as well as addressing various public policy issues.

To foster greater collaboration between the U.S. apparel, technology, and textile industries and to identify the public policies that could accelerate the design and manufacture of smart fabrics products by U.S. companies, the Department of Commerce in partnership with the Industrial Fabrics Association International will host the Smart Fabrics Summit on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Specifically, through a day of panel discussions and industry demonstrations, the Summit will:

  1. Bring together industries that need to collaborate in order for this emerging industry to meet its full potential and accelerate its development by U.S. companies;
  2. Improve mutual understanding of the needs of private sector industries and the roles of public sector agencies; and
  3. Spur original thinking among public and private sector organizations about how new or existing policies interact with future smart fabrics products.

The policy issues that will be explored at the Smart Fabrics Summit include: (1) research and development funding, (2) intellectual property, (3) standards, (4) import classification, and (5) health regulations.

The Smart Fabrics Summit will feature an exciting series of lively panel discussions on urgent policies affecting the development of the smart fabrics industry and demonstrations of innovative new smart fabrics products by private companies. Below is a general outline of the Summit’s agenda with speakers and presenters still to be finalized. If you are interested in presenting your smart fabrics product at the Summit, please email smartfabricssummit@trade.gov.

  • 7:45am

    Registration and Continental Breakfast

  • 8:25am

    Welcome and Opening Remarks

    Joshua Teitelbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

  • 8:30am

    Presentation: “A Market Research Overview – How Big is the Market for Smart Fabrics Really?”

    Jeffrey C. Rasmussen, Market Research Manager, Industrial Fabrics Association International

    Answers to questions about which fabrics are considered ‘smart’ and the size of the market for their use are often up for debate in this emerging industry. In this Summit opening presentation, Jeff Rasmussen will help define the terms of the conversation by reviewing the various applications for smart fabrics, spotlighting the latest innovations, and diving into research estimates on the size of the market for smart fabrics and their future growth potential.

  • 9:05am

    Industry Demonstration

    Mark Mordecai, Director of Business Development, Globe

    Globe is one of the largest manufacturers in the world of turnout gear to protect firefighters, and will demonstrate its innovative Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform (WASP) system, which provides commanders on the scene with mission-essential situational, real-time awareness of both physiological status and location tracking of personnel. With stress and overexertion accounting for half of firefighter line of duty deaths, the WASP system uses smart fabric technology to collect and share potentially life-saving technology for our first responders.

  • 9:40am

    Panel: “Manufacturing Smart Garments – Surprises, Challenges, and Lessons Learned”

    Moderator: J.J. Raynor, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, National Economic Council, The White House

    Panelist: Amanda Parkes, Chief of Technology & Research, ManufactureNY

    Panelist: Qaizar Hassonjee, Vice President of Innovation, adidas Wearable Sports Electronics

    Panelist: Despina Papadopoulos, WWA Advisors and New York University

    How electronics products are built could hardly be more different from how textiles and apparel products are assembled. Integrating sensors and other electronic components into a fabric, garment, or other textile product to make it ‘smart’ requires overcoming challenges throughout the supply chain. In this panel, hear directly from the experts who have done it. In a conversation led by J.J. Raynor, a member of the staff of the National Economic Council at The White House, Amanda Parkes of Manufacture NY, Despina Papadopoulos of WWA Advisors, and Qaizar Hassonjee of adidas Wearable Sports Electronics will discuss how they overcame the challenges of integrating two very distinct supply chains – one for electronics and one for textiles and apparel – to create smart fabrics products. They will also discuss the surprises they encountered during that process, and the lessons they learned that the broader industry can use. They will also explore how manufacturing and sourcing for these products differs from traditional electronics, textiles, and apparel, and whether the U.S. now has a competitive advantage in the research, design, and manufacture of smart fabrics.

  • 10:30am

    Coffee and Networking Break

  • 10:45am

    Industry Demonstration

    Amit Kapoor, President and Co-Founder, First Line Technology  

    First Line Technology designs and manufactures disaster preparedness and response equipment, including PhaseCore Cooling vests, which allow users to increase productivity and duration of use while reducing heat injuries by gently and safely cooling the body. First Line Technology’s President, Amit Kapoor, will demonstrate how these heat-activated personal cooling products can prevent and control heat stress for a variety of public safety and first responder officers in hot and humid environments.

  • 11:20am

    Panel: “The Federal Investment in Smart Fabrics from Transformational Research to Start-Up Accelerators”

    Moderator: Alan Davidson, Director of Digital Economy, U.S. Department of Commerce

    Panelist: Stephen Luckowski, Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute, Department of Defense

    Panelist: Jesse Jur, Assistant Professor, ASSIST Center, North Carolina State College of Textiles

    Panelist: Daniel Cotter, Acting Director, First Responder Group, Department of Homeland Security

    Alan Davidson, the Commerce Secretary's Director of Digital Economy, will talk to senior federal leaders and researchers about how the significant federal investments made today will support the innovation that will be the foundation for the smart fabrics of the future. These investments include the establishment of the Revolutionary Fiber and Textiles Institute for Manufacturing Innovation and NextFlex, two new manufacturing institutes pioneering the development of cutting-edge fibers, textiles, and hybrid electronics. Stephen Luckowski, Program Manager for the RFT at the Defense Department, led the effort to establish this institute, and will describe its potential to support smart fabrics development. The National Science Foundation also funds critical smart fabrics research being performed by the ASSIST Center at the North Carolina State College of Textiles. Jess Jur, Assistant Professor at the N.C. State College of Textiles, will explain the unique role that this NSF research plays in partnering with private companies to develop new smart fabrics products. And, the Department of Homeland Security is taking an active role in supporting the development of connected protective apparel for the first responder of the future. Daniel Cotter, who oversees the Next Generation First Responder Apex Program at DHS, will describe the impact of this work.

  • 12:10pm

    Networking Break and Seated Lunch

  • 1:40pm

    Industry Demonstration

    Michael Burrows, Business Development Manager, Microcircuit Materials of DuPont

    DuPont’s Microcircuit Materials will demonstrate the latest developments in their suite of electronic ink products, which make smart clothing easier to design, manufacture, wash, and wear. The DuPont materials have been used to create thin, form-fitting circuits that can be seamlessly bonded with many standard fabrics, allowing for comfort and freedom in wearable electronic design. Dupont’s electronic inks build on the company’s decades-long history of materials innovation and stand ready to provide an alternative avenue to building smart fabrics.

  • 2:15pm

    Panel: “Using Intellectual Property Rights to Protect and Spur Smart Fabrics Innovation”

    Moderator: Michael Petricone, Vice President for Public Policy, Consumer Technology Association

    Panelist: Vikrum Aiyer, Chief of Staff, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

    Panelist: Lynn Rzonca, Partner, Ballard Spahr

    The ability of entrepreneurs and companies to commercialize new smart fabrics will depend in part on the strength of the intellectual property rights in place to protect innovation. As new products or combinations of existing products emerge, intellectual property protections may have to catch up to the new technology. Michael Petricone, Vice President for Public Policy at the Consumer Technology Association, will lead and join in a dynamic discussion with Lynn Rzonca, partner at Ballard Spahr and expert on the interaction of smart fabrics and intellectual property law, about how smart apparel companies can use intellectual property law to avoid landmines before and after their product launch. In addition, Vikrum Aiyer, Chief of Staff for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will discuss how the USPTO handles new and emerging technologies, especially those that cross existing product categories or create new categories altogether.

  • 3:05pm

    Industry Demonstration

    Scott Ballenger, Senior Vice President, Business Development, PurThread

    PurThread will demonstrate its high performance, high quality antimicrobial fibers and yarns for businesses serving the healthcare, consumer, home, military and industrial markets. Using next generation technology, PurThread improves on existing antimicrobial textile solutions by embedding EPA registered, non-nano silver salts into fibers at the molten stage of production, yielding unsurpassed efficacy, durability and versatility to textile product designers and manufacturers. PurThread’s anti-microbial textiles, whose specialized silver salt is non-metallic, will not interfere with electronic circuitry and is therefore well-suited for incorporation into wearables and other smart fabrics products.

  • 3:40pm

    Panel: “Smart Fabrics Standards – Building the Foundation for Growth”

    Moderator: Jeff Weiss, Senior Advisor for Standards and Global Regulatory Policy, U.S. Department of Commerce

    Panelist: Ira Keltz, Deputy Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, Federal Communications Commission

    Panelist: Sandeep Khatua, Technical Director, Consumer Products, Bureau Veritas

    Panelist: Alpesh Shah, Senior Director of Global Business Strategy and Intelligence, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association

    As long-standing consumer and industrial products, electronics, textiles, and apparel, each have well-known standards for performance and testing. However, as electronic capabilities are integrated into textiles and apparel, there are questions as to whether existing standards apply to new smart fabrics and whether the current lack of standards is inhibiting development. Led by Jeff Weiss, Senior Advisor for Standards and Global Regulatory Policy at the U.S. Department of Commerce, panelists Sandeep Khatua of Bureau Veritas and Alpesh Shah of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers will explore the current state of standards in the smart fabrics space, whether certain existing standards can be adapted to address the needs of smart fabrics manufacturers, whether new standards are needed, and which organizations are beginning exploratory work on possible smart fabrics standards. In addition, Ira Keltz of the Federal Communications Commission will explain how existing rules for electronics may apply to new smart fabrics products.

  • 4:30pm

    Coffee and Networking Break

  • 4:45pm

    Keynote Panel: A Business Roundtable on the Future of Smart Fabrics

    Moderator: Penny Pritzker, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

    Panelist: David Lauren, Executive Vice President of Global Advertising, Marketing, and Corporate Communications, Ralph Lauren Company

    Panelist: Joshua M. Walden, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the New Technology Group, Intel

    Panelist: Mary Hennessy, CEO and President, Industrial Fabrics Association International

    Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will lead a spirited conversation with the private sector leaders whose companies are at the forefront of smart fabrics development and how they each see smart fabrics evolving in the future. Last year, Ralph Lauren became the first fashion brand to debut a smart athletic shirt for the consumer market. David Lauren, the Executive Vice President of Global Advertising, Marketing, and Corporate Communications for Ralph Lauren, will discuss the company’s experience with PoloTech and how he sees smart fabrics impacting the apparel industry. In the technology industry, Intel’s New Technology Group is spearheading the creation of the hardware and software that will power the next generation of wearables, including smart fabrics. Joshua Walden, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the New Technology Group will highlight Intel’s commitment to wearables and smart fabrics and the many initiatives and partnerships Intel has established to bring this new category to life. In addition, Mary Hennessy, CEO and President of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, will provide the perspective of the innovative technical textiles companies seeking to become not just manufacturers of advanced textiles but also a platform for electronic capabilities.

  • 5:45pm

    Concluding Remarks

    Joshua Teitelbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

  • 5:50pm

    Networking Reception

    The networking reception will be located in the reception area of the Pavilion Room of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and end at 7:30pm.

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Hotels near the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center:

JW Marriott Washington DC
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-393-2000

InterContinental The Willard Washington DC
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 1-800-863-7818

The W Washington DC
515 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-661-2400

Washington Marriott at Metro Center
775 12th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Site | 202-737-2200

Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square
806 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Site | 202-730-8800

Courtyard by Marriott Washington Convention Center
900 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-638-4600

Monaco Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel
700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Site | 202-628-7177

Renaissance Washington DC
999 Ninth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Site | 202-898-

Please click here or on the image below to open a full sponsorship matrix pdf in a new tab.

For more information on sponsorship, please contact:
Casey Strauch, cmstrauch@ifai.com, 651-225-6904.

Smart Fabrics Summit 2016 Sponsorship

Gold Sponsor
Propel Logo Dupont Logo
Drexel Logo Coated Technical Solutions Logo
Eeonyx Logo DVTI Logo
PurThread_Registered_300x140 BEKAERT_FC_B-BL
Final Noble Logo International_Trade_Center_Logo_Blocked_Blue

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