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Google and Levi’s to Discuss Latest on Project Jacquard at Wear Conference

Sales of fitness-tracking wristbands will top $60 billion in 2020, Euromonitor has said. But according to The NPD Group, 40 percent of people who own a device stop using it within six months. That’s not to say the technology has a use-by date; the next wave just has to be more wearable.

Adidas, Levi Strauss & Co., Google and Flextronics, to name just four, will discuss that and more at next month’s Wear Conference (May 24-26) at the Seaport Boston Hotel in Boston Harbor.

Billed as a super-event and organized by Smithers Apex, Wear is the result of the long-running Smart Fabrics & Wearable Technology conference merging with the Wearable Technology UX show.

“We’ve only just begun to experience the explosive growth this industry will see,” Barbara Fowler, conference director for Smithers Apex, said. “That’s why we wanted to find a differentiation from just technology and just textiles and combine both. We asked, ‘How can we create the next generation of wearable devices with the user in mind? We wanted to bring all of these ideas together.”

Fowler disclosed that she’s expecting between 350 and 400 attendees from around the world and across the value chain, ranging from retail sports giants and major fashion brands to consumer electronic companies and component makers.

The recently announced three-day program has been curated by an advisory panel that includes Stacey Burr, vice president and general manager of digital sport at Adidas, and Kate Drane, a senior director at Indiegogo, among others.

Attendees can look forward to a “fireside chat” between Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., and Ivan Poupyrev, technical product lead at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division, as they discuss the latest on Project Jacquard.

Day two kicks off with plenary sessions, followed by breakouts with the likes of Betazip Co-Founder Adam Whiton, who will talk about the world’s first sartorial robot, dubbed Zipperbot, and Kenji Higashi of Spiber will introduce the Moon Parka, a garment co-developed with The North Face that’s made from synthetic spider silk.

The final day of the conference will include a presentation from Flex about the capabilities it’s putting in place to facilitate the transition of wearables into clothing, while later on, Mikko Malmivaara of Clothing+ will talk about the challenges in managing a smart clothing project.

“We’ve seen this disconnect many times,” Fowler said. “They make a big announcement but then the brands don’t know how to actually use the product so what we included in this season are the people in between the people who work in the supply chain making it work, research and development, and also making it work in terms of economics and business, because it can be really expensive.”

For more information and to check out the rest of the lineup, visit wearconferences.com or follow the #WEARcon2016 hashtag on Twitter.

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