Wearable technology is developing at a breakneck pace — basically, every month of the year brings new products from various manufacturers, which introduce fresh features and almost futuristic connectivity functions. Particularly interesting categories of products are smart jackets.
What are they exactly? To put it simply — they represent a fusion between the newest connectivity technology and basic functions provided by every jacket on the market. They appear to be normal jackets, but with some advanced microchips implemented inside them. This is basically an extension of what we already know — adding high-tech features to everyday objects like clocks, watches, lamps, speakers, thermometers or even kettles, fans and fridges.
Let’s look into one of the most amazing phenomena of our century — the Internet of Things. It’s a very simple prediction made in the 90s. According to this idea, at some point of technological development there will be more devices connected to the Internet worldwide than the whole world’s population. It might seem improbable at first, but this has already happened. The market data clearly shows that in the year 2020 more than 25 billion devices were connected to the internet. At the same time, the full market capitalization of wearable technology tends to increase rapidly — e.g. from 200 billion dollars in 2016 to more than a trillion dollars in 2019. At the same time it’s obvious that wearables are going to continue to evolve in the future.
And that’s why a smart jacket can be an excellent choice — it enhances connectivity and overall functionality of everyday objects even more than some other IoT devices like lamps or fans. The reason for this is simple: the most advanced IoT technology is usually implemented in wearable objects, which can be used outdoors at all times. And that’s where smart clothes come in.
Some might think that smart clothes are just overlapping many features that are already introduced in devices like smart bands or smartwatches. That might be partially true, but a good smart jacket often has some unique functions which cannot be provided by any other device.
Here’s a basic list of technology jacket features:
Of course, not all of these features are included in every smart jacket on the market. Different producers focus on chosen sets of functions which they consider to be important for their customers. That’s why an urban jacket might not have many heating zones, or a travel-type one doesn’t necessarily have to control your Spotify playlists. The exact scope of characteristics depends on the manufacturer's target audience.
Let’s flip through some of the most important characteristics of a technology jacket, which is usually its heating and various forms of connectivity.
This is one of the most popular smart jacket features on the market. The whole warmth-distributing system consists of a high-capacity rechargeable battery (usually li-ion or lipo) and a set of carbon fiber heating panels. The battery can provide power for several hours of continuous use. This makes the jacket a perfect choice for cold winters, biking and general outdoor activities.
But where’s the “smart” element in this feature? Basically, it’s mostly provided in two forms. The first one is Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to control the heat and exact temperature with a specially designed app on your smartphone. The second one is a thermostat, which can automatically adjust your smart jacket’s temperature according to the outdoor temperature. This is how smart this device is — you don’t even have to do anything on your phone to make it work properly.
Of course, the heating feature can raise some eyebrows. The main concern is user safety, especially in the context of water damage and risk of a short circuit. Fortunately, the manufacturers have designed smart jackets with safety in mind. They’re all waterproof so that some rain or snow cannot pose any danger to the user. Nevertheless, they should not be submerged in any liquid. At the same time they can be washed safely on condition of removing the rechargeable battery. With this information in mind, even the most precautious users can wear this technology without any safety concerns.
This can mean many things at the same time, but in the context of smart jackets it usually comes down to basic control functions — like a Bluetooth remote. A popular set of presets is “play, skip, stop”, typically working on smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs, and even some SmartTVs. The purpose of this idea is to minimize any effort needed for starting or stopping to play a music playlist, which is particularly useful during various sports activities like biking or jogging. It’s true that it overlaps some functions that wireless headphones or earbuds already have. But the main difference is your effort — it’s easier to reach a button on your sleeve than the one on a wireless bud.
But the Bluetooth connectivity is not limited solely to playing music. It can accept or dismiss calls, notifications and even text messages (in tandem with earphones of course). Again, this particular set of functions may be overlapping some of which you probably already use on your smartwatch or wireless buds. But, just like with music control, it’s easier to reach your sleeve than an earpiece or even a smartwatch, which is usually covered by the sleeve.
There are some more unique features, like smartphone loss prevention. If the user moves too far away from his phone, the smart jacket can issue a notification about it. Leaving a smartphone in a bus, car or train is a very common reason for smartphone loss. At the same time, the jacket can locate the smartphone with a simple solution — just like in a smartband, when this function is triggered, the phone will start ringing and vibrating. This can save a lot of time, especially if you’re in a hurry.
Perhaps it’s one of the most practical and sought-after features of a technology jacket. Smartphones are getting more and more advances, but at the same time their power consumption tends to dramatically increase. Carrying a good powerbank with you sometimes becomes a necessity, especially during tourist or business trips. Luckily, some smart jackets have wired or even wireless phone charging features. This option usually comes with the heated type of smart clothing — the same rechargeable battery which powers the heating pads can charge your smartphone.
It’s just like with smartwatches — they're packed with so many different sensors and chips that it’s easy to forget that they tell you the actual time. Smart jackets are products of very advanced and meticulous design. That’s why they’re made of premium materials and have various practical design elements. Some of them are:
A technology jacket is designed to be a perfect balance between high tech and clothing. It can be a very useful tool for anybody — it doesn’t matter if you’re a keen traveler or an urban socialite. Its functionality is well-developed, and every user can find the one just for him.