Is 'wearables' too loose a term?

Interview with Jeremy Wall | Founder of Lumenus

Graduating from the NC State College of Textiles has given me a depth of experience and insight into a broad range of fields. A sound foundation in the structure and science behind fiber and fabric science is the unifying piece of my education that brings together my abilities in fashion, textiles, management, branding, and product development.

A love for nature and a passion for exploration of the unknown has pushed me into the outdoor sector. Through working in buying at a large outdoor e-commerce company in Detroit to my part-time gig as a sales associate on the floor of an outdoor outfitter in North Carolina I’ve been able to see into many aspects of the industry. My background in wearable technology started with an undergraduate research grant in the field and has since grown from that same grant into my entrepreneurial endeavor of a technologically laced apparel company. Currently I am fostering my experience with an incredibly unique opportunity by living Raleigh’s ThinkHouse, an action-learning entrepreneurial accelerator.

Smithers Apex:  Please  provide a few words on the state of the industry as you see it (or as it pertains to your presentation/session).

Wall: With 2015 projected as the year for wearables to really gain mainstream acceptance, the state of our industry is in a crossroads. I think that the term 'wearables' will quickly begin to lose relevance as these different technologies and uses will really begin to expand in their form, factor, and functions based on different consumer needs and use cases. Wearables is too much of a 'catch-all' type category; this will begin to really cause distinctions and separate markets to emerge as these new product categories come to fruition. 

The industry is still in it's infancy and will continually grow and expand into untapped markets. Entertainment, Healthcare, Performance Enhancement, Transportation, Safety, Communication, Business Operations, Lifestyle, etc.. will all truly grow into their own spaces and need to approach target markets as an individual as opposed to the whole of 'wearables' as a singular device type. 

Smithers Apex: Who do you feel would benefit most in this particular discussion?

 Wall: I feel that companies that are expanding into this new sector from stagnant industries will benefit from the unique approach and execution of start ups (like my own) whose core tenants lay in the world of wearables and smart devices.

Companies who are finding that market penetration is harder to come by than initially expected will benefit by learning how today's consumers are viewing the industry-- with a specific focus on the younger consumers.

Any organizations that is trying to engage with their future consumers, ie millennials and their adoption of these new technologies from the perspective of a tech savvy generation.  

Smithers Apex: What concerns you most- whether it be an industry dynamic you need to overcome or a major opportunity you think you can capitalize on?

Wall: I feel that the biggest challenge for our industry will be keeping users engaged with singular products and brand loyalty. With our market and products all still in fairly young stages with extreme promising futures-- the cannibalization of our market will likely be prevalent throughout different market sectors. 

This can however be turned into a positive for the industry: without any singular brand being able to monopolize the industry. The way we can turn this into a positive is through widespread collaboration. Instead of attempting to steal all users with a new feature on a completely new product, using a collaborative approach that synergistically benefits both brands is how we will continually evolve as an industry and as separate, but united, brands.