Expert opinions, FORECASTS

The future of sports and fitness: Trends and innovative solutions

In the world of sports, even subtle changes matter, and fractions of a second are often the difference between winning and losing. Therefore, athletes are always eager for advantages that could help them not just outdo their rivals, but maintain their records for a long time in a very competitive environment. Athletes at all levels need tools that would help them grow and improve, and achieve new heights. Until recently, only world-class professional athletes had access to the most advanced and effective training methods, but with the advent of new technologies, anyone can train like a professional.

Trend 1: High-precision data visualization for athletes

According to forecasts, the market for sports analysis will grow from $125 mio in 2014 to $4.7 bln in 2021 (source: Sports Analytics, Winter Green Research, 2015).

There is a new wave of sensors and solutions based on artificial intelligence, computer vision and analysis that help athletes monitor and visualize their performance even at the micro level. These tools provide coaches and athletes with​​previously unknown measurements helping them identify otherwise imperceptible mistakes the athlete makes, compare the current performance with past results and effectively change their technique and training methods. Using this data helps athletes decide on methods to exercise the most effectively and remain in good shape.

Tip: give your customers dynamic charts and real time data that would show how effective your products and services are throughout the entire period of use.

Example: LED images help visualize biometric data in real time. General Electric has demonstrated how a new biosensor technology can be used to simplify the athlete’s performance analysis by converting key pieces of data into LED images. Wireless sensors track acceleration, muscle activity, and heart rate; LED imaging helps identify the weak points and areas for improvement in an understandable and accessible format. In the future, GE plans to develop more wear-resistant sensors that would take additional measurements of the athlete’s performance in training, including through from blood.

Trend 2: Real-time coaching 

Embedded sensors can now provide real-time feedback, which allows athletes to instantly make decisions. This helps maximize efficiency and avoid injuries. 

Tip: boost your products and services with technologies that increase efficiency of their use and decrease stress in clients through simplifying complicated procedures and instructions. 

Example: Artificial intelligence instantly provides data to cyclists during a training session. Global technology company IBM has developed an analytical system that combines data on cyclists in the real-time mode. The cloud solution operates on the basis of an AI platform IBM Watson and uses data collection sensors up to 64 times per second. Due to the data instantly transmitted via web interface, coaches can monitor both athletes’ key and accessory indicators, such as the pulse rate, muscle oxygenation and others, all of them in the real-time mode and convenient format as the data can be visualized with the help of a head-up display developed by the Solos company. 

Trend 3: Mental hacking

Sixty-two percent of research shows that simulators accelerate positive results in education and physical training (source: Effectiveness of Virtual Reality-based Instruction on Students’ Learning Outcomes in K-12 and Higher Education, Computers & Education, 2014). Athletes understand that the right mental attitude before a performance is as important as physical fitness. They need efficient and fast methods to visualize, control stress and increase motivation. 

In addition to achieving goals, these platforms also serve as a valuable resource for coaches’ insights as they help to understand an athlete’s individual characteristics. 

Tip: create products and services that can adapt not only to external conditions during exercising (air temperature and humidity) but also take into account a specific athlete’s emotional and mental condition and the level of his physical energy. 

Example: application for mental training improves reaction time in football players. Nike developed an app that helps athletes in their mental and emotional preparation and increases their reaction time during a game. By using this app, athletes can try numerous opportunities for improving their strategy, reaction time and skills.

By Maria Skalkina, Managing Partner, THI 

Previous ArticleNext Article