Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

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Sports - A billion dollar business case for the IoT industry

When Usain Bolt ran the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds in 2009 he sparked a long-overdue discussion. Many scientists wondered when we would reach the end of the road. And the answer? Soon. According to various estimates, a human being is unlikely to be able to cover 100 meters in less than 9.27 seconds. What happens when the highest peak has been conquered?
 
The fight for the last remaining records in professional sports is being conducted extremely harshly – no holds are barred when billions depend on just a few milliseconds. And where the human body is clearly reaching its limits, 'things' assume strategic significance. Even so, the potential for physically improving objects has been almost exhausted in most types of sport. The entry of the IoT into sports arenas therefore marks a turning point and creates an enormous market. 

Sport has always been about measuring, monitoring and analyzing, but these activities are being completely revolutionized by the IoT. Within a few short years, every jersey and bicycle, every ball, shoe, racket and even athletes themselves will be fitted with sensors that relay data to coaches and assistants via sports clouds. The depth and precision of analysis will boost the efficiency of individual training strategies.

All this is much more than a vison. Michael J. Crowley, Founder of InfoMotion Sport Technologies and the Inventor of the 94fifty Basketball points out that the new opportunities of the Internet of Things are about connecting people with objects in a completely new way. “In this one-to-one relationship the object becomes an extension of the human coach that athletes can trust and that improves their performance.” And this is exactly what the 94Fifty Smart Basketball does. The data it gains tells the player what he specifically should improve and it gives accurate feedback with a human voice, just like a real coach.

At the same time, the entry of the IoT into the realm of sport will lead to a significantly better protection for the physical condition of the athletes, which is increasingly susceptible owing to the enormous tolls on the body. Networked sensors, secure connectivity and data analytics can help us recognize dangers in real-time, develop effective prevention strategies and in doing so protect the lives and health of our athletes. The comprehensive expertise that IoT companies have accumulated in the health market and wearables are also applicable.

These considerations show the commercial potential of the IoT in the sports industry. But at the same time we should not forget that technology can never play more than a supporting role. It may be true that tomorrow's trophies will primarily be won thanks to the smart and connected things and platforms. But it is alone the human performance what gives sports their meaning.