3 key points for e-textile project through the example of Genius Objects and Tintamar collaboration
In the emerging realm of FashionTech, the world of the textile industry crosses paths with some key tech players. As these two antagonistic universes converge, the challenge today is to cooperate in order to create new products with real added value. This is the challenge taken up by the teams at Genius Objects and Tintamar, in producing the first connected pouch: SmartZip.
Launched in September, SmartZip is the result of a year of collaboration and exchange between the two companies. All this, based on a meeting between one of the founders of Genius Objects, Philippe Tourrette and Edith Petit, founder of Tintamar. She was keen to continue the commitment made by the creative brand behind the ‘Intelligent Daily Bag’. Indeed, this French brand of small leather goods has been making a name for itself since 2003, offering bags that combine design, functionality and practicality.
In creating these connected pouches, there were three main issues requiring our attention:
Adapting the technology to its implementation (and not the opposite)
In order to imagine how these pouches could be truly useful in everyday life, and not just gizmos, the teams at Genius Objects and Tintamar looked again at the way these pouches are used on a daily basis. Some key issues then emerged:
- The use of ‘bag in a bag’ pouches is increasingly common: how could we help our customers to better organize their belongings?
- We tend to store our things in the same place within our bags: how could we assist our customers in remembering their important belongings in their day-to- day lives?
- We are all constantly searching for our belongings: how could we make these pouches easy to locate?
The Zip and Go® technology thus served as a starting point from which to imagine features that might meet these use cases. SmartZip pouches offer a ‘tracker’ feature, a ‘checklist’ feature, and a ‘security’ feature.
Integrating technology into design
SmartZip is a continuation of the style of bags made by the brand since its creation, with their uniquely identifiable design, specific fabrics and functional pockets. The challenge this time was thus to integrate Zip and Go® technology into this precise design – and not the other way around. The e-textile element, manufactured by Satab, has been integrated in the form of a traditional zipper. The circuit board and battery are inside the lining, invisible to the user.
The battery is hidden in a small pocket at the bottom of the pouch. We opted for an electric battery, so the pouch would not need charging everyday. Upon first using the pouch, the user simply activates the battery by removing the plastic protective film. That really is the only ‘technical’ operation on the user’s part, and the pouch is ready for use. With a battery life of one year, technology has been successfully integrated into the overall design, and is so inconspicuous as to be forgotten altogether.
SmartZip pouches might seem to be traditional pouches at first glance, but their users enjoy a range of innovative features that assist them daily.
Developing a digital user interface that is adapted to the brand
To provide a new overall experience for Tintamar customers, the teams at Genius Objects have developed a mobile application that serves as an interface between SmartZip pouches and their users. The application is fully customizable, to allow each user to interact with their pouch as best suits their needs. Users can name each pouch, determine an alert level and designate specific places where Genius Objects does not need to be activated (at home, at work etc.).
Keen not to be intrusive or invasive, the Genius Objects app works discreetly. The user does not need to activate it, or be constantly on the app to stay connected to their pouch. Simply closing or opening the zipper will trigger the necessary alerts.
There were three key issues that we identified in many of our customers, and which underpin the methodology behind Genius Objects. They can be broken down into four steps: understand, adapt, integrate and develop.
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