Sport and Wearable Technology

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A substantial amount has been written on the subject of wearable technology in industries such as health and fitness, retail and sport.

So what is wearable technology? Why is the sports industry interested in wearable technology and what are some of the things you need to be aware of in regard to wearable technology?

What is wearable technology? 

Simply put it is some form of device that collects information or data about individuals which can then provide valuable insights.

In general the Wearable market is split into two segments :

– The ‘basic’ wearable segment (which do not run 3rd party apps)

– The ‘smart’ wearable segment (which do run 3rd party apps)

Whether you are an athlete or sports fan, Wearable devices come in all shapes and sizes such as an Apple Watch, fitbits armbands, bracelets etc.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts 72.1 million wearables will be shipped throughout the world in 2015, up from 26.4 million in 2014. In 2019, the IDC believe shipments will hit 155.7 million!

In sport, wearable technology is already used in tracking player performances in training and during matches. Recent developments such as virtual reality, augmented reality and placing wearable technology on clothing and head gear have been used in a number of sports to allow the amateur or professional athlete and coach to analyse all aspects of an athlete’s performance over a given time period.

Why is the sports industry interested in wearable technology? 

Sports organisations are adopting wearable technology due to a number of reasons, namely:

– To enhance player’s health and improve performances by giving coaching staff a comprehensive view of the work a player has done each week and to understand the demands placed on their bodies. This data helps coaches to prepare players leading up to games.

– To enhance productivity in the Sports organisations ‎. ‎

– To improve communications and customer service with their fans

– To provide interesting stats on the players during training and matches.

– To drive sales of merchandising/ticketing/food/etc by making the payment easier for the fans.

Coaches can use wearable devices to collect data on players glucose levels, blood pressure, sleep patterns, ‎hydration levels, manage injuries such as detecting head injuries. In addition coaches can analysis data during live games to help inform the staff on tactical decisions during a game.

What are some of the things you need to be aware of in regards to wearable technology in the Sports Industry?  

– More sports organisations will employ wearable technology for their players during training, at matches and at home to ensure their athletes are performing to their optimum level.

– Data will be the new revenue for sports organisations with a need for them to purchase data analytic tools to understand and reuse the data for common benefits ‎inside and outside the stadium.

– Wearable Technology will be used more and more for contactless payments such as ticketing and merchandising.

– Fans will want personal wearable devices unique to them in terms of look and feel, colour etc

– There will be an increase in smart wearable devices linked to apps from sports organisations.

– The growth of virtual reality (VR). VR will be used by coaches for creating patterns of play‎ and creating learning environments with their athletes. In addition, VR will be employed in the stadium for the fans to enhance their experience.

Geoff runs his own Sports Consultancy, working with clients such as FIFA across the world. He is also on the board of SportNI.  You can follow Geoff on twitter@geoffwnjwilson or connect on Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/geoffwnjwilson

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