Crescent Enterprises’ internal start-up incubator has led to the creation of a high-tech line of clothing that uses sensors to monitor the health of blue-collar workers, according to CEO Badr Jafar.
Speaking to Arabian Business in a recent interview, Jafar said that the clothing line – called Shamal – was one of the ideas that stemmed from CE-Creates, Crescent Enterprises’ internal incubator which has the goal of developing early-stage concepts into economically viable and saleable businesses.
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The idea, he said, came after he noticed that the work wear used by many blue-collar workers was not suitable to the particularly hot climatic conditions of the Arabian Gulf.
“It turns out that there was not a dedicated workwear clothing company that made overalls for people specifically in warm climates,” he said.
Over the course of a year and a half, Crescent Enterprises worked with partners in India and labs in the United States to “develop a line of clothing specifically for the workforce, and outdoor labourers, not just in the Gulf, but in the Gulf there are billions of dollars of infrastructure projects that will require a lot of outdoor work.”
“The material science and technology was there. We didn’t need to re-invent the wheel,” he said. “The sports industry, from golfers to footballers, they all have this. It’s just about applying it in a cost-effective way to outdoor work.”
Jafar added that many items in the clothing line include “little sensors” that foremen can use to monitor the workers.
“Foremen wanted to know when there is a problem on-site with someone, or there are health issues, blood pressure issues or issues of fatigue,” he said. “They usually don’t know until it’s too late and it can be very dangerous.”
“But with tiny sensors that are dirt cheap and embedded into these suits, the foremen in their offices can have a full map of all the vitals of all their workers on site, and can, in advance, see if there is anything out of the ordinary,” he added.
According to Jafar, a total of 14 concepts are currently being incubated by CE-Creates.
“Not all of them are going to make it to launch, as is normal in any incubator,” he said. “But so far, three have.”
Among the other ventures CE-Creates has incubated is Kava&Chai, a coffeehouse brand with the stated aim of “projecting Arab culture and traditions surrounding tea and coffee in a positive way.”
While there are currently four Kava&Chai outlets in the UAE, Jafar said he expects the brand will soon expand into the UK and US markets.
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