Exploring IoT Uses in the Sports and Fitness Industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) had once been a groundbreaking technology. Today, it is a commonly used method to upgrade any aspect of human activity and make any business attractive to its customers.

During the last decade, companies have tended to utilize this technology in the sports industry, and it is still among the latest trends. We can witness that in the European Union alone, the number of IoT units in wellness and sports surged to almost 133 million in 2020, up from 68.4 in 2017. The number is projected to reach over 170 million units in 2025.

With such a rapid development of IoT in sports and fitness, customers’ preferences and expectations are also changing, as they seek enhanced personalization and growing opportunities. To become and remain strong players in this market, companies need to learn how they can use sports technology to meet and exceed these expectations.

So how can businesses integrate IoT into fitness and sports and thus provide exclusive value to clients? Let’s explore the capabilities of this technology and analyze the most successful and revolutionizing IoT use cases in sports and fitness.

IoT applications in sports and fitness

IoT units appear in different forms and serve various purposes, both for professional sports and daily use. This technology can increase users’ performance and progress drastically by gathering, analyzing, and monitoring consumers’ data.

Let’s have a look at the latest and most effective IoT solutions in sports and fitness.

iot-solutions-in-sports-and-fitness

Wearables

For many people, fitness trackers and smartwatches have become entrenched as a must-wear item for daily activities. They help not only remain productive but also analyze their actions and health during the day.

However, counting steps and monitoring the heart rate isn’t yet enough to satisfy customers’ needs. In recent years, wearables have gone much further. For instance, new Apple Watch versions allow users to measure blood oxygen levels, track sleep, and even get an ECG.

We want to mention other options of IoT solutions for personal health monitoring or tracking sports activities. These are some of the most innovative ones and might open up a whole new world of IoT implementation options for other businesses.

So what else can wearables do?

Better muscle training

Both professional athletes and gym enthusiasts often face troubles while trying to strengthen or grow their muscle mass. To make the process more efficient, MPower has developed a pod that you can wear around the target muscle group to keep track of several important metrics.

Using novel IoT sensors, the device gives you real-time insight into muscle response, activation levels, fatigue rates, and other related measurements. It improves the effectiveness of your muscle training, as you can find and stick to exercises that work best for you, and thus create an individual training program.

Facilitate posture improvement

Slouching is another issue in our century. People tend to curve their spines unnaturally when working at their computers, using phones and other gadgets. This can provoke not only back and neck pain but also even more severe health problems.

Lumo Lift is a tiny device worn below collarbones that uses IoT-powered sensors to indicate when you slouch. With a slight vibration, this wearable keeps you more mindful about your posture in your daily activities.

lumo-lift-app

Remove obstacles in progress monitoring

For swimmers, both professional and amateurs, tracking their progress during the training may be a true challenge. If you’re using a standard fitness tracker, you need to break strokes and check your wrist, which interrupts your session.

XMetrics Pro Swim Tracker allows you to attach the device to your goggles and get instant audio feedback about your performance, including laps, turns, strokes count, and efficiency. The device provides connected coaching to step up your proficiency fast and effectively.

Assist professional training

IoT-enabled devices contribute to professional sports, too. For football players, there is a dedicated Catapult Player Smart Football Tracker that can drastically improve individual and team play. The FIFA authorized device records players’ speed, total and sprint distance, and other metrics. Users can also get access to training designed by professional coaches to work on their performance. The technology is also suited to track the full team’s progress and contribute to better team play.

Although smart fitness devices can’t replace a regular checkup or a visit to a specialist, they may still assist consumers in taking care of their physical health and self-training. Hopefully, these examples have inspired you to make the sports and fitness industry even more productive and fun.

Fitness apps

When it comes to IoT for fitness, we can notice a huge rise in the app development sector. Especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of users who are interested in fitness apps has increased sharply: from 68.7 million in 2019 to 87.4 million in 2020. This tendency remains relevant today, too.

Fitness apps vary by form and purpose. They can offer personalized workouts, diet plans and trackers, calorie counting, nutrition programs, yoga, meditation, and other services related to the sports and fitness industry.

Apps can offer you a full-fledged training program and leverage IoT in fitness by allowing you to track the progress in smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Nike Training Club is among the leaders of the fitness app industry. It suits fitness fans of any level, and everyone will get individual recommendations from Nike trainers according to the user’s concerns and goals. The app offers a huge variety of body weight, HIIT, gym, and yoga workouts, as well as expert tips on nutrition, sleep, and other health-related matters.

Another example of a successful fitness app is Strava. It may become a go-to app for runners and just for everyone who is looking for workout motivation and a dedicated community. A GPS- and IoT-based approach makes it easier to track your fitness data with wearable devices. And what else can motivate more than regular challenges? Strava got this point and provides monthly challenges to keep you in shape.

strava-app

Some businesses create devices and apps that cover nearly all sports activities and thus work for a wide audience. Garmin has developed an app called Garmin Connect which allows the Garmin smartwatches and fitness trackers users to track anything they do, from running to kayaking. The app provides a daily, monthly, and yearly overview of your activity and health rates. It also provides options to get customized workouts, coaching advice, and additional info.

Fitness app developers have a considerable weight of responsibility for the content they offer. That is why they should include only trustworthy information and also assure users that it is necessary to consult with their doctors before working with the app. Remember that customers’ health and well-being are always the number one priority.

Connected training equipment & gear

In recent years, some companies came up with an idea to integrate IoT into fitness and sports by designing connected sports equipment and gear. They extend their scope of applications and training opportunities which makes them a step closer to replacing regular real-time coaching.

So what sports gear and equipment are already smart today and what can they do?

Weights

Modern smart dumbbells help fitness enthusiasts and professionals concentrate on their workouts by taking over routine tasks like rep counts or safety issues.

IoT technology allows you to control whether your technique is correct, and if not, weights will guide you to prevent potential injuries and make the session even more effective. Some of them are also voice-controlled and can even adjust the weight by themselves.

Basketball hoops

The latest sports technology automates even specific kinds of games and offers connected coaching options. As an example, smart basketball hoops keep the score, provide game statistics, and give play insights in a smartphone app.

Bikes, treadmills, elliptical machines, etc.

Smart gear can provide a professional gym experience even at home. Various kinds of gear work similarly, although they target different muscle groups. They adjust the intensity of your workouts, offer built-in training options, and their smart construction makes the workout sessions safer for the joints. They are also foldable, which makes them mobile and easy to move.

Mirrors

Instead of turning your attention to a regular mirror and trying to fine-tune the workout techniques, fitness fans have a chance to delegate this task to an IoT-powered smart mirror. Its sensors watch your movements, and the device gives you feedback and instructions. This smart sports equipment also allows users to create custom workouts.

Yoga mats

A smart yoga mat can become a kind of workout assistant and coach. IoT-based mats can control the position of your body and guide you to correct the technique, support your balance, measure basic metrics like practice time, and additionally, design a personalized training program.

yogifi-smart-yoga-mat

Connected sports gear and equipment can become a great supplement to customers’ improvised home gyms. While for newbies it is essential to consult a professional trainer first, intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts can benefit from automated equipment to enhance their progress by themselves.

Smart apparel & footwear

Sensors-rich and responsive sports garments may sound science-fictional, but it is our reality, and even a profitable one, as statistics say. By 2025, the smart clothing and fabric market is expected to reach over $5 billion. However, it may be easier to realize when we look at possible implementations of smart apparel and smart footwear pieces in sports and fitness.

Some clothes can look ultra-modern but still fashionable. The Hexoskin brand develops smart apparel stuffed with IoT sensors to monitor your overall health condition and specific metrics that are valuable for efficient sports and fitness sessions. Among other things, it measures step count, heart rate, burnt calories, sleep, breath, etc.

Other brands, such as Sensoria, perform similar tasks. But on top of the basic measurements, its smart socks can also become handy for runners, especially by analyzing possible risks and informing the runner about potentially traumatic running styles.

sensoria-fitness

Yoga fans also have an IoT option that can assist them during the sessions. To achieve a high level of proficiency, it is essential to practice together with an instructor, otherwise, yoga can even cause injuries.

However, especially during the pandemic, thousands of practitioners have become cut off from real-world guided sessions. Nadi X Smart Yoga Pants watch your progress for you and let you know about incorrect body positions by vibrating around the target area.

Footwear has also become smarter. Sneakers from renowned brands count steps, measure speed, and provide leg support while doing sports – both general and highly specific. Such giants as Puma, Nike, and Under Armour have set the current trends and create stylish yet practical pieces.

Generally, IoT-powered garments are close to other smart fitness devices. They can track all essential sports and health rates, but they also take it a step further and contribute to technique adjustment and better overall performance while exercising.

Facility management

IoT technology works not only for sports and fitness enthusiasts only but also for facilities, venues, and other locations where comfort and attractiveness are key.

Here are some ways in which IoT tech can assist facility management.

Automate comfort and convenience

Space and object disinfection, the availability of sanitizers, paper towels, toilet paper, and other basic supplies, as well as the fullness of trash bins, are essential aspects that make up the customer experience. IoT-driven sensors help facility managers to timely control these points and automate the process of keeping venues clean and safe.

Contribute to eco-friendliness and cost-efficiency

Smart technology monitors energy consumption and adjusts the use of temperature, lighting, etc. It helps the environment and the consumer by optimizing energy usage and reducing additional expenses.

Prevent damages

IoT technologies report possible equipment breakdowns, leaks, and system damages. In this way, specialists can fix many issues and save costs by solving the problems in the early stages without causing any harm to the visitors’ experience.

Facility management is a complex task that requires automation. Thankfully, we already have technologies that can make this process more effective and provide the necessary level of comfort and cleanliness for sports venues.

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Fan experiences

Sports and fitness don’t concentrate on individuals only. It is always about community, including fans – the driving force of the industry. No doubt, present-day technology is working not only on enhancing players’ and enthusiasts’ progress but also on the satisfaction of sports fans.

Smart stadiums focus on providing fan engagement and exclusive fan experiences. Sports events connect thousands of people emotionally with each other and their favorite players, and it’s crucial to make the stadium experience flawless.

For that, sports venues get stuffed with cameras and sensors to track fans’ activities and experiences and improve them instantly. IoT technology ensures that guests can find parking places fast and effortlessly, order food and drinks that get delivered right to their seats, have equal chances to observe the game, and feel safe.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games demonstrated an excellent example of utilizing top-quality IoT technology along with virtual reality options. They managed to provide a real-time immersive experience using stereoscopic cameras that recorded athletes from various panoramic angles.

Connected stadiums are the future of professional sports events. Modern IoT-based developments are going to take care of fans’ connectivity, safety, and comfort.

Benefits of using IoT in sports and fitness

The Internet of Things in sports emerges in different forms and can serve both general and specific purposes. However, all IoT units deliver similar benefits to fitness fans, players, coaches, and other sports and fitness parties.

Let’s sum them up briefly.

iot-benefits-in-sports-and-fitness

Real-time performance tracking

With all possible fitness trackers, whether a simple smartwatch, fancy sneakers stuffed with IoT sensors, or a smart mirror, users can not only get extensive information and statistics about their progress but also receive it in real-time. This accelerates their advance, and fitness fans get significant results even faster.

Enhanced coaching and in-game strategy development

Exhaustive data about physical states or sports-specific rates give additional insight for more effective management. With the appropriate IoT units for every player, coaches can see the strengths and weaknesses of every player and adjust the game strategy or even create a unique approach for this very team.

User safety and speeding up rehabilitation

Sports and fitness can often be traumatic, especially when it comes to inexperienced enthusiasts. Smart gear, equipment, and even apparel aim to prevent possible damages and guide users to utilize IoT-based products effectively yet safely.

Units that monitor and analyze customers’ heath can also assist them in the rehabilitation process, although professional help is indispensable at this point.

Enhanced fan engagement

The fan base is a huge part of every sport, especially during sporting events, and the fans’ wishes are their commands. IoT-enabled devices allow you to monitor users’ satisfaction and improve the convenience and safety of smart stadiums.

Improved equipment maintenance

Smart devices care not only for users but also for themselves. IoT-driven equipment notices whether its performance gets worse and then indicates necessary repair or replacement. That is why it’s possible to take the required measures without delay and extend its service life.

Today, the multiplicity of IoT in sports has resulted in a huge product choice for consumers. Nearly everyone can find a smart assistant that will help them set the bar high and achieve their individual and team goals.

Looking for IoT solutions in sports and fitness?

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Final thoughts

Utilizing IoT in sports and fitness is a huge step for any company from this industry towards enhancing user experience. We have demonstrated some ways to give life and shape this technology to upgrade your sports and fitness developments. It’s not only about revenue, it’s about supporting people who strive to become and remain healthy and fit.

How to get started?

The product discovery phase is the best first step you can take to lay a solid foundation for the development of your app. It includes a functional specification, UX/UI design, and a visual prototype that will give you a clear vision of the end product. On average, this phase takes 4-6 weeks.

The product discovery phase can help you:

  • define a full scope of work and develop a roadmap for the project
  • set a realistic budget for your MVP and plan your resources
  • test the waters with your audience using a visual prototype
  • craft a convincing investment pitch
  • get to know your team

Our experienced team is ready to employ its knowledge and skills to come up with a first-rate IoT solution for your project. Let’s work together and develop technologies that transform the sports and fitness industry.

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