Printable, flexible and wearable electronics (PE) is a diverse and rapidly growing industry sector. It is a key enabler of the Internet of Things, to economically add intelligence to everyday objects.
Global revenues for PE-related materials and end-use products in 2016 is estimated at $26.9 billion USD, an annual increase of 31.8 per cent since 2010. Consulting firm Smithers Apex expects the market to grow to an estimated $43 billion USD by 2020. Market research firm IDTechEx predicts the market to reach $70 billion USD by 2024.
About 250 organizations and counting are involved in Canada’s domestic PE industry, from startups and growing mid-sized companies, to multinationals with Canadian operations, and leading academic and institutional research teams. Beyond materials and components, many focus on application development in the following sectors:
- Intelligent Packaging
- Intelligent Buildings/Connected Homes
- Aerospace and Defence
- Automotive and Industrial Applications (smart parts)
- Health and Wellness
- Intelligent Documents
- Consumer Electronics and Wearables
Their common meeting ground is the annual Canadian Printable Electronics Symposium, CPES, organized by the Canadian Printable Electronics Industry Association (CPEIA). The event runs from May 24-26 at Centennial College in Toronto.
CPES2017 is Canada’s sole conference and trade show exhibition dedicated to PE. Technology developers, industrial companies and end-users can discuss how they can collectively overcome technical, manufacturing and scale-up challenges to commercialize new products and applications. Academic researchers can showcase their research and discover how they can link it to market needs and opportunities.
Highlights of CPES2017 – giving a boost to startups, SMEs
All presentations this year will be from industry showcasing commercial solutions and manufacturing. On day one, we explore high-volume applications for smart packaging and retail, intelligent homes and buildings, and wearables and smart textiles. Day two looks at 3D printable electronics, inks, substrates and manufacturing components. In addition, the exhibition side of the event continues to grow – we have 27 tabletop exhibitors and academic posters this year, names like AFELIM (France’s PE industry association), NovaCentrix, Henkel, Myant, OMSignal and IEEE Canada.
But new this year is day three. Our consultations with the CPEIA’s industrial members last fall showed that the domestic industry sector remains fragmented. There are a legion of startups and SMEs that need help securing sources of capital, partners for pilot programs, and resources for manufacturing scale up. So, on day three we are featuring a financing panel with BDC, MaRS and others, and mentoring and pitch sessions for SMEs and startups. We will also be naming our first Startup of the Year.
Why are we doing this?
We’ve already seen in recent years hundreds of millions of dollars invested into institutes for PE-related R&D and commercialization in the U.S. and Europe – the kind of government, industrial and academic partnerships we need to see more of here in Canada.
We are watching all these developments with an eye to understanding what Canada must do to make the most of its innovation and seize its share of this market opportunity. Our role at the CPEIA is to create that rising tide that will float all ships. CPES is a big part of this, but it’s not the only one. We continue to engage with our members, as well as government, to understand what we must do, and how we can do it, to further develop the Canadian ecosystem, get more products to market, and extend this supply chain around the world.
Why should you come to CPES2017?
More industrial companies, including multinationals, are taking part than ever before. While the academic and research side remains a big part of CPES, we are constantly working to evolve the event into a common meeting ground for organizations of all stripes that have an interest or a stake in this industry sector.
Our homegrown startups and established mid-sized companies are engaging more with each other and the multinationals who are key suppliers, end-users of PE products and applications, and potential commercialization partners. We continue to build awareness, attract broader interest and, most importantly, get people talking to each other. This usually results in new business alliances and new customers.
So, if you want to take the pulse of Canada’s PE industry and forge vital contacts to advance your commercial or research interests in this high-growth sector, come to CPES2017.
Full disclosure: ITBusiness.ca parent company ITWC is a media sponsor of CPES 2017.