Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ralph Lauren flaunts health-monitoring shirt at US Open

Iain Morris
September 3, 2014
Clothes company Ralph Lauren has jumped on the Internet of Things bandwagon with the launch of a new sports shirt designed to monitor the health and fitness of its wearer.

The company teamed up with Canadian technology company OMsignal (Montreal, Canada) on the development of the shirt, which includes a number of tiny sensors that can read biological and physiological data.

The data is then processed using OMsignal’s platform technology before it is delivered in a readable and understandable format to customers via a smartphone app.

Ralph Lauren (New York City, NY, USA) unveiled the Polo Tech Shirt – as it is branded – during the US Open tennis tournament that is currently under way in New York, and says a number of ball boys are trying out the apparel during select matches at the Billie Jean National Tennis Center.

Moreover, Marcos Giron, the number one singles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, has been wearing the shirt during practice sessions to track his biometrics, allowing to him to make adjustments in real time to his play, form and breathing.

According to David Brewer, the US Open tournament director, there are features in the Polo Tech Shirt that could “revolutionize how players train and compete”.

However, Ralph Lauren sees an important role for the Polo Tech Shirt outside the world of elite sports.

“Our vision is that this will transcend sports to help us at every age and in every aspect of life,” said David Lauren, the senior vice president of advertising, marketing and public relations for Ralph Lauren. “Reaching far beyond just the needs of elite athletes, Polo Tech will offer innovative technology for all ages and lifestyles to promote general wellness and quality of life.”

Partner OMsignal, whose team includes experts in neuroscience, sports medicine and engineering, says the data collected by the shirt is stored by a “black box” that includes an accelerometer and a gyroscope capable of capture details about movement and direction.

The box transmits data into the cloud where it is plugged into various algorithms that gauge performance-orientated biometrics, including heartbeat and respiration, as well as psychometrics, such as stress level and energy output.

“It was clear from our very first meeting that Ralph Lauren had clarity of mind about the future of fashion tech,” said Stephane Marceau, the chief executive of OMsignal. “Its legendary Polo brand and unparalleled design and merchandising capabilities make Ralph Lauren a natural partner to bring smart clothing technology into everyday lives.”
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