Nowadays, smart devices such as smartphones and smartwatches have become an essential part of individual’s life. These devices are used for multiple purposes, most commonly for communication, entertainment, work, and fitness tracking. As technology use is being explored in various existing equipment and devices, the development of smart sports equipment is gaining significant momentum, as they have broader market demand.
What are Smart Sports Equipment?
Smart sports equipment are digitally connected with sensors and allow individuals to monitor, track, analyze, and improve their performance. The different types of smart sports equipment include basketball, football, helmet, golf stick, stand-up paddle boards, and rackets. These sports equipment come with smart features to improve sports and fitness outcomes.
For example, Fitbit and Apple Watch are widely used by athletes and fitness freaks alike. These devices are used to track various metrics, such as heart rate, calories burned, time, and metabolism in real time. Some of the other popular sports apparel brands such as Under Armour, Adidas, and Asics have their own mobile apps.
Emphasis on health and awareness about wellness has increased, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn, has boosted consumer preference for smart sports equipment. Individuals, worldwide, are concerned about their health and want to be strong, due to COVID-19 fears and the prevalence of other diseases.
How Smart Sports Equipment Can Be Game Changer
Some of the most popular trends and innovations in sports, in today’s times, are the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), eSports, augmented and virtual reality, and smart stadiums. The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) smart sports equipment, is proving to be a game changer, as it enables machine-to-machine communication, offers accurate information without human intervention, and is a cost-effective solution. Benefits of these IoT technologies are increasing their adoption across several industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, BFSI, retail, and others.
In particular, IoT smart wearables are assisting players in creating a personalized training schedule. These training modules are prepared after examining the player’s strengths and weaknesses. Coaches can check crucial information including rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2), with the help of IoT technology. With IoT devices, coaches can provide better training to the players and identify the fatigue loads.
Moreover, the use of smart apparel and smart footwear helps players improve their training and performance outcomes. Sports manufacturers are coming up with innovative sports wearables, that help in reducing discomfort faced by sportspersons during the game and training time. For instance,
- In November 2021, Curry Brand powered by Armour launched a seven-part footwear collection, Curry Flow 9 Shoe. The product includes the addition of new tech uses on the upper called UA wrap, which acts like a seatbelt on the foot. This shoe is designed to be lighter and more breathable.
The Internet of Things (IoT) technology has made it possible to build state-of-the-art stadiums, which give a more immersive experience to the spectators. Recently, the FIFA World Cup 2022, turned out to be the best example of how IoT is integrated into stadiums to improve fan’s accessibility to sports viewing within the tournament.
Smart sports equipment such as smart golf sticks provides easy access to high-end practice tools for beginners and seasoned golfers. Smart golf clubs have the strategic design of a realistic training and playing experience, through their Wi-Fi-compatible features, which increases the usage of smart golf sticks.
- According to the US National Golf Foundation (NGF), around 119 million individuals, which is more than one-third of the U.S. population over the age of 5, played golf (on-course or off-course), followed golf on television or online, or listened to a golf-related podcast in 2022. This was up to 12% year-over-year.
Sports equipment manufacturers are developing various smart sports equipment, gadgets, and tools to offer diverse options to sports enthusiasts around the world. For instance, in March 2023, an American, Swiss-based multinational technology company, Garmin Ltd. announced the Approach S70 series, its newest flagship golf smartwatch.
These smartwatches are available in two different sizes and packed with on-the-course tools and fitness features, to build a better all-around game. Both smartwatches feature stunning AMOLED touchscreen displays and enhanced golf analytics.
Latest Buzz in Smart Sports Equipment Space
The rise in the use of smartphones and connectivity is turning out to be beneficial for sporting equipment makers and suppliers. In recent years, the purchase of smart sports tools is immensely supported by growing demand from eCommerce-savvy individuals. Digital platforms and sports equipment manufacturers are driving consumers’ preferences for various innovative fitness devices and sporting tools through social media marketing and promotion strategies.
Several companies in sports equipment manufacturing industries are adopting various strategies including acquisitions, collaborations, and launches, to expand their consumer base globally. For instance,
- On June 21, 2023, A global smart wearable brand, Amazfit, owned by Zepp Health Corporation, launched its first dedicated running smartwatch series, the Amazfit Cheetah Series. These smartwatch solutions are designed for runners, with the use of industry-leading GPS technology and AI coaching.
- In March 2021, Garmin Ltd. expanded its Approach offerings, with a new lineup of GPS devices, to help golfers improve their game. The new additions to the Approach series of GPS golf products include the Approach S42 smartwatch, the Approach S12 watch, and the Approach G12 GPS rangefinder.
The integration of emerging smart sports technology is expected to improve the user’s performance, offer personalized coaching, enable data tracking & analysis, and provide an overall better sporting experience. Due to these factors, the demand for smart sports equipment is surging worldwide.