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Use Cases and Real-Life Examples of Wearable Technology in Sports

Today’s wearable sports technology market is on the rise. Forbes says that it doubled from 2019 to 2022 to become a $27 billion market. More and more sophisticated gadgets appear almost every quarter. And they can meet almost any specific sporting need, including:

  • Tracking and improving athlete activity
  • Monitoring performance and health
  • Preventing injuries
  • Powering team progress
  • Providing new ways for fans to interact with their favorite teams

And that’s not even half of it! In this article, we’ve rounded up four working examples of wearable technology in sport. As vendors introduce these solutions, their customers generate valuable business results.

Sports Wearables Outlined

Wearable technology in professional sports comes in all shapes and sizes, from mere fitness bracelets and smartwatches to sensors integrated into sports equipment and skin patches attached to the body.

The point of wearable technology lies in generating data and analyzing it on the go. Each solution consists of sensors and a user app, and the rest takes place in the cloud. Data generated by sensors is collected and processed in the cloud, and all the insights are available through the user’s app. This information brings benefits on all levels, for individual athletes and sports institutions. Individual athletes use these findings mainly for performance monitoring and improvement, while sports clubs rely on the data for decision-making and building training and competition strategies.

Case 1: Tracking Health Indicators

Monitoring athletes’ vitals helps organize the most suitable training plans. Thus, coaches and athletes themselves can track progress, control workload, and foresee risks. All this results in maximized training efficiency and reduced injury risk. So, designing wearables that help track such vitals is the primary focus for sports tech businesses.

For instance, to monitor heart rate, wearables measure electrical signals from the heart. These are then processed in the cloud, and algorithms produce clear pulse readings.

Athletes use them to interpret their workouts. Coaches, in turn, can have a better understanding of how athletes benefit from exercise.

Real-Life Example: Translating Heartbeat Data into Valuable Insights

Firstbeat Sports is an athlete-monitoring solution from the Finnish company, Firstbeat. It optimizes training and recovery and helps boost performance with comprehensive physiological analytics. The solution is designed for both sports clubs and individual athletes.

The solution consists of a sensor attached to an athlete’s body, an app, and a dashboard. The sensor collects heart rate variability data (HRV), training load, and recovery data. Then, this data is analyzed by the advanced performance analytics algorithms. Finally, it is displayed in the dashboard and app. Based on the HRV-based insights, coaches and athletes make data-driven decisions.

SV Fügen, an Austrian football club, has tried Firstbeat Sports to rise up the ranks. Their primary goal was to reach a new level in terms of endurance and performance. They use Firstbeat Sports in every session.

Benefits

Since the football club has implemented Firstbeat Sports, they say they have managed to:

  • Advance to the third division of the Austrian football league (they were previously in the fifth division)
  • Control training load more effectively
  • Keep players injury-free
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Case 2: Monitoring Sports Performance

Sports tech startups work towards designing more and more advanced sports wearables to help players progress in their training. In-built GPS, sensors on the equipment, accelerometers, and gyroscopes capture an athlete’s position, direction, and speed. They can also record the workload and body parameters. This creates tons of data which is turned into actionable insights on how to boost individual performance.

If athletes and their coaches know their speed limits and intensity, they can plan productive training sessions and grow!

Real-Life Example: Tracking Swimming Progress

A sports technology company, FORM, created Smart Swim Goggles. The goggles serve to track progress during swimming workouts.

Designed with an augmented reality display on the right lens, goggles pair with FORM’s app. They are compatible with Apple and Garmin watches. The AR display provides important instructions for effective workouts, and also shows vital metrics. These metrics include speed, pace, distance, time, biometric data, calories burned, and session duration.

A US swim club has recently started to use FORM’s goggles, both during training and competitions. The club wanted to assess their performance and improve individual results.

Benefits

In the relatively short time they have been using smart swim goggles, the club say they have:

  • Boosted swimmer performance during competitions
  • Prepared individual plans to progress every athlete in training
  • Connected to the swimming community in the app for expert advice
  • Started using pre-built workouts from the app

Case 3: Controlling Athletes in the Weight Room

Weight training has gained popularity dramatically in recent years. The number of weight-training clubs is rising rapidly. In view of this, these clubs are vigorously seeking to improve the quality of their workouts to attract more visitors.

First and foremost, athletes should measure the speed of the weight bar and their body. For this, they need a precise solution.

Linear position transducers were previously used to measure bar speed and calculate velocity. However, it wasn’t so cost-effective and accurate.

Today, vendors offer velocity-based sensors and accelerometers built in wearables. They help gather more accurate data during power and strength workouts to provide athletes with a clear picture of their physical shape, performance, and lassitude. Clubs get significant benefits from using such devices.

Real-Life Example: Quantifying Performance When Lifting Weights

For strength-training addicts, Beast Technologies created Beast Sensor. It’s a wearable device designed for monitoring weight training. The product tells the user how much they are pushing when lifting weights.

It’s an accelerometer built in a hardware module that can be attached to a person’s wrist or back, or to gym equipment. The sensor tracks data on speed, power, strength, performance, and velocity. It records training progress and gives feedback based on the principles of velocity-based training (VBT).

Based on that feedback, coaches make informed decisions on how much weight their players should be lifting, depending on their fitness goals. It also helps review performance and achievements.

Benefits

Beast Sensor allows sports clubs and coaches to:

  • Provide better coaching services (by making better decisions about loads, sets, and reps)
  • Reduce injury risk to their clients
  • Precisely measure and improve athletes’ performance
  • Evaluate their training programs based on objective metrics and results

Use Case 4: Tracking Sleep

Sleep trackers come in handy for individual athletes, teams, and sports clubs. Such solutions help increase the efficiency and accuracy of training, get higher scores at competitions, and prevent injuries.

To do all that, sleep-tracking wearables must be equipped with advanced sensors. They should be able to monitor noise, heart and breathing rate, snoring, and oxygen saturation during the night.

Moreover, some sleep trackers can check air temperature and quality, as well as brightness and humidity in the room.

With this data, coaches can assess an athlete’s sleep patterns, adjust some key parameters, and optimize sleep quality. This results in better performance and achievements.

Real-Life Example: Getting Detailed Sleep Analysis

Measurement is key if teams and clubs want to control how their players sleep. Beddit is a great solution for this. Designed by a Finnish company that makes sleep trackers, Beddit is an alternative form of wearable device. The solution is a sensor strip that can be placed under the bed sheet. This product helps sports institutions get a kind of sleep study and track how their athletes sleep at night.

Beddit accurately tracks sleep duration, heart rate, breathing, snoring, room temperature, and humidity. Then, all these readings are uploaded to the cloud. Analytics tools analyze them and present them in the form of clear and actionable recommendations in the app.

Benefits

Using Beddit, sports clubs get:

  • A home polysomnography with recommendations for their athletes
  • Higher rankings
  • Less accidents because of better sleep
  • An analysis of each sleep phase and nightly results
  • Improved player performance and health

Final Thoughts

Today, wearables are an integral part of the sport industry at all levels. Getting real-time data is crucial for teams, clubs, and sports establishments to stay competitive. The ever-growing need to gather and analyze that data will further stimulate technology companies to create innovative wearables. Wearables that are small, sometimes invisible, but powerful and efficient. Wearables that drive visible business results.

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