Feb 26 - The connected world is one of the key themes at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ivor Bennett looks at some of the more innovative ways to connect including sensitive fabrics and informative toothbrushes.
Forget heart rate monitors, fitness can now be measured by the clothes you wear. A new fabric designed by French company CityZen Sciences can monitor everything from body heat to respiration thanks to sensors sewn into the shirt. Impossible to see or feel, the sensors relay live data to a smartphone or lap top. Jean-Luc Errant is the company's CEO. SOUNDBITE (English) JEAN-LUC ERRANT, CEO CITYZEN SCIENCES, SAYING: "It is not only a product for sports. It's very useful to follow the healthcare problems and in the health market, it's a big opportunity to use this product." SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "Connectivity is one of the buzz words at this year's Mobile World Congress, with a new generation of devices aimed at an audience that's always on. Why? Because traditional voice calls and text messages are on the way out." The number of texts sent in the UK actually fell last year for the first time ever - dropping 7 billion to 145 billion. They're being replaced by smartphone apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat - the number of instant messages sent last year rising nearly three times to 160 billion. Matt Hatton is from Machina Research. SOUNDBITE (English) MATT HATTON, DIRECTOR, MACHINA RESEARCH, SAYING: "There is an impetus put onto the mobile operators to make sure that they can support these critical systems, and as a result they have an essential part to play in this "M2M", IOT space which will affect pretty much all of the business sectors that you can think of and also the way that people live in terms of their connected home, consumer electronics and so forth." Connectivity is even extending to the bathroom - courtesy of the world's first smartphone connected toothbrush, The device is linked to an app via bluetooth - where brushing progress displayed in real time. Designed by Proctor and Gamble, it tells the user when to move to different sections and warns if they're brushing too hard. But it's not just healthcare. Ford's unveiled its latest connected car - showcasing its new Sync 2 platform that'll soon become standard. Voice-activated, the system can link to apps on your phone, playing music and reading the news. It can even give directions to nearby restaurants if the driver says he's hungry. With talk of making the technology mandatory in the US, it may not be long before cars can talk to each other. Head of Research Pim Van Der Jagt. SOUNDBITE (English) PIM VAN DER JAGT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FORD RESEARCH, SAYING: "A good example is in a city if someone was at a stop sign and tells all the others that it won't stop then other cars can react to it by emergency breaking. So, we don't want people to misuse it, but it can avoid a lot of accidents," Complete connectivity may be inevitable, but we're not there yet. The wifi and bluetooth at this event soon became saturated due to such high demand. So for now at least, the old fashioned ways can still work best.