The wearable technology market is one that’s been a fixation for the tech sector of late. Efforts to carry forward the spread of technology integration into things like glasses, watches, or footwear are transitioning into the mainstream, and it’s a play that most market watchers see as the next big step.
One intriguing avenue of that wearable tech revolution is coming from GTX Corp (GTXO) . The company specializes in GPS devices for shoes that help track people with cognitive disorders among a broad set of applications.
On Tuesday, John Ford, a writer and 30-year veteran of the investing world, produced a lengthy research piece on the company that took a decidedly bullish stance on GTX Corp. Equities.com got a chance to talk with GTX Corp’s CEO, Patrick Bertagna, about the piece and his company’s future in the wearable tech market.
EQ: The piece by John Ford describes him doing about 300 hours of due diligence and sitting down to talk with you at length. What can you tell us about the research process that Mr. Ford went through and how you were involved?
Patrick Bertagna: It was extensive. I started with a general overview of the company; that was probably a good two- to three-hour conversation. We subsequently had about a dozen very lengthy conversation, several hours each, and then probably another dozen or so shorter conversations.
In addition to that, we gave him a list of customers, vendors, and advisers which he was able to schedule calls with. He conducted, from what I gather, anywhere between 30- to 45-minute interviews with each of them.
Collectively he spent a tremendous amount of time and really dug deep into the whole business, the market size, the product, the efficacy of the product, and so forth. I give him a lot of credit. He put a lot of man hours into this.
EQ: No stone left unturned.
Patrick Bertagna: Absolutely not.
EQ: He also talks about the portfolio of patents that GTX Corp currently holds and the value of that portfolio. Could you talk a little bit about what portions of the technology specifically have been patented and how these patents protect the company?
Patrick Bertagna: The IP was a big focal point for Mr. Ford and rightfully so. Small companies typically don’t have an extensive IP portfolio. Most of them don’t even have a portfolio. They may have a patent or patent pending or trademark. We have amassed a large quantity of patents, between licensed and what we've invented on our own, we're over 80. It’s certainly an extensive or comprehensive part of our overall value.
As more people or companies want to get into the wearable tech space, our IP portfolio gives us certain competitive advantages, especially if younger smaller players want to come in. And it makes us quite an attractive proposition for the larger companies. The Apples (AAPL) , Googles (GOOG) , Adidas (ADDDF) , and Under Armors (UA) of the world that are already well entrenched in the wearable technology space. By having such an extensive portfolio, having specialized both on our footwear platform and on the core location-based technology, really gives us some significant protection and value.
EQ: As you mentioned, wearable technology has been a real buzz phrase in the tech sector of late. There’s a lot of major players in the space, including, like you said, Apple and Google. How do you see the wearable technology market growing in the next 5 to 10 years?
Patrick Bertagna: I see it being explosive. Most of the analysts out there are projecting multibillion dollar year over year growth. Some people are talking about this reaching $100 billion, even $200 billion in the next five years.
The analysts can pontificate on the validity of those numbers all day long, but, at the end of the day, we can just break it down and distill it down to the simple notion of empowering human beings with technology. We've already seen that paradigm shift when everything went to our smartphones over the last 10 years. I think this is just the next evolutionary step, to meld a lot of that technology inside of your everyday wearables whether it's shoes, jackets, hats, or T-shirts. The bottom line is: why not incorporate all of this great technology and meld it seamlessly into your lifestyle. I see it doing nothing but growing over the next decade.
EQ: The last time we talkedwas in mid-December when we did an interview that discussed the commercial launch of Smart Soles®. What can you tell us about that launch and how it has gone in the first two and a half months?
Patrick Bertagna: It has gone great. The acceptance and the traction have been superb. We simultaneously launched in the US and Canada and parts of Europe, specifically Switzerland, Austria, and parts of Germany. Since then we've opened up several other countries. Our international distributors have already started placing their reorders and annual forecasts. Overall, we are very pleased with the initial launch, and we’re on a solid northbound trajectory.
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