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Jan 3, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Connected jacket by Levi's and Google warns you if you forget your smartphone

Initially designed for cyclists to enable them to use elementary smartphone functions without getting the device out of their pocket, the Levi’s / Google connected jacket has come on in leaps and bounds ever since. The "Commuter" can act as an indicator and also transmit VTC notifications, and via the "Always together" application, it will prevent you from leaving your telephone behind by automatically setting off vibrations if the two objects are too far apart.


The "Commuter" connected jacket presented by Levi’s and Google in 2016 now has a new functionality. According to French website Numerama, it goes by the name of "Always together" and enables users to connect their jacket with their smartphone to make them vibrate if they are out of range of a Bluetooth connection – a useful aid for those who tend to be forgetful.


Variation on a connected jacket for cyclists


Unveiled in 2016 and on the shelves since September 2017, the futuristic Levi’s "Commuter" is fitted with a tactile surface on the left sleeve on which can be clipped a small device which can connect the item of clothing to a smartphone via Bluetooth. This system then enables the user to control the basic commands of their telephone such as Google Maps or a music application.

The aim was to make it easier for smartphones to be used in situations where it is difficult to get them out, in particular on a bike. The project was an interesting one but not accessible to the general public due to its cost, with the jacket checking in at 350 dollars as opposed to 145 for the regular version, making it unsuitable for mass consumption at that price. 


Project Jacquard – a Levi’s / Google joint venture


The Levi’s connected "Commuter" was designed as part of Project Jacquard, which was the fruit of a partnership with the legendary jeans brand and the Google Advanced Technology Projects Group (ATAP), with the aim of developing connected materials on a grand scale.

While the "Commuter" was initially seen by the general public as a gadget, it has proved to be an ideal test bench for Google and has constantly been improved by its creators. For example, it now has various new functionalities including a notification system linked to VTC applications, and can also be used for lighting or as an indicator when worn at night.


"Always together", or how you will never forget your telephone again


Last summer, a "find my phone" functionality was launched to enable users to find their smartphones by making them ring at maximum volume, even when they had been set to silent mode, via a command located on the sleeve of the jacket. The only problem with this was that you had to realise that you had left your smartphone somewhere...

The latest improvement is called "Always Together" and is easy to configure via the Jacquard application. It goes a step further by automatically setting off vibrations, both in the jacket and the telephone, once they are too far apart to be connected by Bluetooth. It is thus impossible to forget either the one or the other... unless of course you are so forgetful that you forget both at once.


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