Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Clare Newell has worked at IDTechEx since 2011, based in Cambridge, UK. Clare has supported the sales growth in IDTechEx’s market research and subscription businesses in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India. Prior to joining IDTechEx, Clare worked in sales and marketing roles in the UK and France, in the Pharmaceutical Industry, for leading scientific journals and information providers, including: “The British Medical Journal”, “Nature”, and Derwent World Patent Index, now a Clarivate Analytics company. Clare has a 2:1 degree in French and Russian from the University of Durham, with Distinction in Spoken French.
James Hayward is a Principal Analyst at IDTechEx based in Cambridge, UK. Joining in 2014, he initially developed IDTechEx's wearable technology platform. He now oversees a team of analysts across varied topic areas, as well as oversight over the wearable technology research efforts. This area now includes reports looking at the technology and markets around wearable devices, wearable sensors, electronic skin patches, e-textiles, augmented, mixed and virtual reality (AR, MR, VR) and more. He has also worked on reports and led projects in many parallel areas, on topics including haptics, sensors, displays, stretchable electronics, advanced materials, user interfaces and other related topics.
Clare, James, tell us a bit about your background and your projects so far. How did you get into this industry?
Clare: I got in a bit “by the back door”; my academic background isn’t in STEM subjects, I studied Modern Languages! But I have worked for various well known scientific publishers and information providers, in sales and marketing roles.
James: I finished a Chemistry degree at Imperial, and a broad interest in technology took me to IDTechEx as an analyst. I was fortunate enough to start off looking at this new topic area for the company called “wearable technology” and have now been covering the topic for the last 5 years.
What does your current job role entail?
Clare: I am a member of the Business Development team at IDTechEx, looking after companies based in some European countries (including Belgium where I can use my French!) and also the Middle East, Africa and India.
James: I work with our teams to produce content around wearables and related topics, work with IDTechEx’s subscription and consulting clients to deliver projects meeting their needs, and help to support the events that we run in the space.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Clare: I am currently working on putting together a “Women in STEM” panel discussion for our Wearable USA! event in Santa Clara, which will be held on November 20-21. Please see www.WearableUSA.tech for more information about the event and panel.
James: We have just published our annual summary report looking across the entire wearables industry (Wearable Technology Forecasts 2019), and now I am working with our team towards the events that we are holding in the coming months around relevant topic areas.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Clare: Well, despite not having a STEM background, I am very pleased to have worked in STEM companies for the last 30+ years. And I’m still really enjoying it!
James: I’m very proud of the team that we are continuing to build at IDTechEx. In a world where technology report writing seems to increasingly be a race to the bottom, it’s a pleasure to be able to work with a team of smart people to produce high quality work on topics that we find meaningful.
What does the #WomenInTech movement mean to you?
Clare & James: We think it’s really important to try to get to get more young women into great jobs in tech companies; they are the most well paid, and perhaps more importantly the work is really interesting, so any support that #WomenInTech can provide is excellent.
Clare, what are the challenges of being a woman in wearable tech / STEM?
Clare: Not sure if it’s specific to STEM, but there might still be a problem with being taken seriously – unfortunately! I was speaking just the other day to a friend who is an R&D Director in a UK company and she says it still happens to her, even at her level!
Clare, in your experience, what is the most important piece of advice you can give to all women in this industry out there?
Clare: Probably the same advice to any women in work, anywhere: “Stand up for yourselves!” “Ask for what you need!”
In your opinion, what will be the key trends in the wearable tech and IoT industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
Clare: Having initially worked in Life Science businesses I am fascinated to see how Wearable Tech is now influencing Med Tech/Medical Devices and look forward to seeing some great benefits for patients in the future. I am also fascinated by what the issues around collection of data/use of data might be. There could be many benefits, but I also have concerns about privacy, and I think more awareness of these issues might be important.
James: I will echo some of Clare’s comments in looking towards the impact of wearables in the healthcare and medical industries. It’s certainly been talked about for a long time, but we are starting to see meaningful and lasting steps taken towards better healthcare using wearable devices, whether this be a repurposed “consumer” device, or dedicated wearable medical devices. We are holding dedicated event called “Healthcare Sensor Innovations” in Cambridge, UK on 25-26 September (www.IDTechEx.com/Cambridge), from which there are many exciting innovators presenting their work. I’m excited to see how this progress will continue.
Who are your 3 inspirational people / businesses in wearable tech and / or IoT?
Clare & James: No-one specific, but we think wearable tech development seems to really enthuse and inspire people. We met so many people at our last IDTechEx Show! in Berlin (umbrella event, of which Wearable Europe is co-located with) with interesting ideas issuing from Wearable Tech; ranging from kit to help dancers train without injuring themselves, to a tech start-up that has managed eventually to morph into a full blown medical device company. Exciting!
Wearable USA is a conference and exhibition focusing on the commercialization of wearable technology. The dedicated 2-day conference is carefully crafted by IDTechEx analysts. Over 60 dedicated speakers will cover topics from materials and manufacturing, to applications and markets, alongside a co-located exhibition with over 270 exhibitors / 90,015 sq ft. Hear the latest progress in wearable medical devices, consumer healthcare, worker monitoring, sports analytics and more. Join the key networking event for the electronic textiles, stretchable and flexible electronics, advanced manufacturing and advanced materials communities.
Women of Wearables are media and community partner for this years event, use code WOW20EUS19 for a 20% discount off the full conference price. More info via official website.
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This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables.