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Smart Fabrics: Getting Smarter

Emerging Trends in Research, Technology and Public Policy

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 ability to interact with their user or the environment, including 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 currently seen in the fields of defense, sports/fitness, health, and public safety.

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

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: Getting Smarter” Summit on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. This event will build on the success of the 2016 Smart Fabrics Summit and highlight emerging trends and new technology in this growing market.

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

  1. Bring together industries that need to collaborate in order for the emerging smart fabrics industry to meet its full potential and accelerate its development by U.S. manufacturers;
  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 affect current and future smart fabrics products.

The issues that will be explored at the Smart Fabrics Summit include: (1) research and development funding, (2) intellectual property, (3) standards, (4) data security and privacy, and (5) product development trends.

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.

  • 7:45am

    Registration & Continental Breakfast

  • 8:25am

    Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • 8:30am

    Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective

    Representatives of various U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will discuss their agencies’ involvement in the emerging smart fabrics/e-textiles space. Discussion topics will include labeling, safety standards, healthcare standards and certification/testing requirements, and enforcement. Agencies will also discuss why a government regulation might be developed and implemented as opposed to adopting an industry-led standard, how stakeholders can provide input, what existing standards and regulations apply to emerging smart fabrics technologies, and where there are gaps in existing standards and regulations that may require new rules to be developed to account for changes in smart fabrics technology.

  • 9:15am

    Session #2

    Description coming soon

  • 9:45am

    Smart Fabrics Standards: A Standards Development Organization’s Perspective

    Representatives from ASTM International, IPC (the Association Connecting Electronics Industries), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) will discuss how standards development organizations (SDOs) identify areas in which new or updated standards are needed for the emerging smart fabrics and e-textiles sector, how various organizations work together to ensure that standards do not overlap, and how private sector representatives can get involved in standards work groups. Discussion topics will also include information on each organization’s current slate of work and will identify gaps in existing standards that may require the development of new standards and/or test methods to aid in the development of emerging smart fabrics technology.

  • 10:30am

    Coffee & Networking Break

  • 10:45am

    Session #4

    Description coming soon

  • 11:15am

    Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics

    Representatives from U.S. research universities and public-private partnerships will discuss their current research into smart fabrics and wearable technology, specific products that are currently being developed for commercialization, and views on future trends in smart fabrics research and development. Panelists will also provide information on how private sector companies can engage with these organizations for research, development, testing, and other collaboration.

  • 12:15pm

    Keynote Lunch Presentation

  • 1:45pm

    Session #6

    Description coming soon

  • 2:15pm

    Data Security and Privacy for Connected Textiles and Apparel

    Panelists will discuss concerns related to data security and privacy, and how product developers should address the challenges of protecting personal data collected by smart fabrics and wearables. Panelists will provide an overview of current standards and regulations related to smart fabrics and wearable products, as well as share best practices for implementing internal controls to mitigate risk of data security breaches.

  • 3pm

    Session #8

    Description coming soon

  • 3:30pm

    Session #9

    Description coming soon

  • 4:30pm

    Coffee & Networking Break

  • 4:45pm

    Session #10

    Description coming soon

  • 5:45pm

    Concluding Remarks

  • 5:50pm

    Networking Reception

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

To learn more about the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and to view directions, parking and other details, please click here.

There are no room blocks associated with Smart Fabrics Summit 2018. Below is a list of 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 | 202-898-9000

For more information on sponsorship, please contact:
Mark Berriman, meberriman@ifai.com, 651-225-6909.

For more information on sponsorship, please contact:
Mark Berriman, meberriman@ifai.com, 651-225-6909.