NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The blurring of the digital and physical worlds has begun.
By now, most people are familiar with smartwatches and smart glasses, such as Google Glass. In the fast-paced world of technology, they're almost old-school already … almost.
Smart clothes are increasingly where it's at and where the industry is headed — a growing universe of garments made from fabric that's wireless, washable and that integrates computing fibers into the integrity of the fabric.
As just one indicator of how big this market may soon be, Google announced a partnership recently with the iconic clothing maker Levi's.
At the Google I/O 2015 keynote event, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group unveiled its Project Jacquard partnership, whose mission is to make garments interactive and overcome any historical limitations of wearable technology.
The deal is merely one sign of the explosive growth analysts predict for the next five to 10 years.
A report from tech analyst Gartner shows sales of smart garments skyrocketing — going from barely measurable in 2014 to more than 10 million shipments this year and to 26 million in 2016.
The number of companies involved in this industry, more broadly referred to as the Internet of Things, is also expected to multiply in the near future. Gartner predicts IoT companies will generate $300 billion in revenue by 2020.
The term refers to the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. This technology excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones.