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Wearables require technology, logistics collaboration

Posted: 30 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wearables? wearable technology? logistics? semiconductors? shipments?

The global wearable technology industry is forecast to grow by a massive 1,082% in three years. A Juniper Research report estimated that smart wearable device global retail revenue will reach $53.2 billion by 2019, from the $4.5 billion estimate for 2016.

It is easy to see why wearables are appealing; Technology is one of the most valuable tools in our personal and professional lives. Nowadays, this value is observed through wearable technology, which lets users operate their garments and accessories like they operate mobile devices. Thanks to the state of wearables, we can now access and record information in ways thought to be impossible only a few years ago. You can record yourself from a unique point of view—such as skiing down a snowy mountain—by strapping a small action camera to your head and pressing "Record." If you would rather experience an adventure from the comfort of your home, then wear a virtual reality headset. You can even track the number of steps you have taken by wearing a fitness tracker or, if you would rather keep up with your text messages and calls while on the move, a smart watch.

Semiconductors (small structures frequently composed of germanium or silicon) are what help make these and many other electronic devices a reality. Given the existing and future demand for wearables, tech businesses must ensure their semiconductor shipments will always get to their destination in a timely and efficient manner. However, not just any logistics provider will do.

Semiconductor production processes call for a logistics expert

According to the International Trade Administration, companies have three options when manufacturing semiconductors: going "fab," going "fabless" or using dedicated foundries.

* Fab companies, also known as Independent Device Manufacturers (IDMs), use their own fabrication plants to design, create and sell semiconductors. While these plants are often an expensive investment due to the fluctuating nature of technology, fab companies gain the benefit of completely controlling the manufacture of their semiconductors.

* Fabless companies outsource the production of their semiconductors as a cost-effective solution.

Companies can also use dedicated foundries to manufacture semiconductors as "factories for hire."

As of 2015, the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore are among the leaders in semiconductor sales. Therefore, companies involved in the production of semiconductors for wearables must work with an experienced and reliable logistics provider that can do the following two things:

* Offer multimodal transportation: Whether you are a company that adopts a fab, fabless or dedicated foundry business model, semiconductors might need to be shipped via road, air, ocean or parcel at any moment. Working with a logistics company experienced in multimodal services will simplify the shipment process and, in effect, streamline the manufacture of wearables.

* Properly ship items: Tech companies must seek a logistics provider that will take all precautionary steps to guarantee safe and compliant semiconductor shipments, irrespective of their origin.

The future of wearables

As is custom in technology, the world of wearables will evolve. For example, Project Jacquard, a collaboration between Google and Levis, promises to deliver interactive textiles that can be worn as everyday clothing or integrated into furniture.

However, one of the most exciting opportunities for wearable technology stems from quantum iron dots. Michigan Technological University is looking into the possibility of replacing semiconductors with quantum dots of iron placed on boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). While the experiment has only been partially successful, the findings suggest a chance at effective nanotechnology that will not overheat like semiconductors do.

Nevertheless, regardless of what the future of wearable technology holds, tech companies must remember one thing: A reliable logistics provider that knows how to adapt to your needs is key to satisfying eager wearable consumers.

-Brian Ackers

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