(Our ruminations from three trend-setting trade shows in Q1)

 After traveling our annual trade show route to SHOT Show, Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show and ISPO (learn about it here), walking miles of aisles and consuming untold amounts of  bad candy, CGPR was impressed by the fast-growing trend of gear and accessories that communicate. We saw incredible technologies that transmit data to an external source, all with the goal of enhancing the user’s performance or experience.

At the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show, Safariland, lead manufacturer of gear for law enforcement, introduced the full capabilities of the wireless CAS Auto-Activation technology, which incorporates proprietary market-leading chip technology embedded into their Safariland 7TS duty holster. This technology pairs with several systems such as body-worn cameras, radios and in-car video, enabling officers in the field to wirelessly connect to different devices when the duty weapon is drawn from the Safariland holster. With CAS technology, an officer is reliably connected to other officers and or his command center, enabling transmission of real-time information from the field when a critical incident occurs.

At ISPO, wearable technology was visible in almost every segment of the show. The Rossignol and PIQ Wearable Ski Sport Tracker, the industry’s first wearable ski jump-analyzer, tracks rotation, air-time and G force at landing, as well as monitors carving style for suggestions on improvement – all through an app. With this technology, skiers may check their progress on the app and determine steps they can take to enhance their performance.

L.L.Bean, an outdoor industry leader, will be exploring the application of blackchain technology with LOOMIA, a technology company that adds intelligence to everyday objects. The LOOMIA Electronic Layer (LEL), a flexible circuitry that has heating, lighting, and sensing capabilities, is discreetly incorporated into L.L.Bean boots and jackets. It collects data from apparel and footwear about temperature, motion and frequency of wear. This technology provides the brand with valuable insight on the use rate of products returned. Consumers that participate by sharing the collected data from their products are eligible for a reward.

In the same way that the iPhone transformed how we connect to each other, gear and equipment with smart technology has the potential to completely change the way professionals execute their jobs and consumers pursue their passions. We predict this is the new normal.