Last Updated on September 8, 2022 by Josh Mahan
It seems like IoT is everywhere these days. We’ve got smartwatches, smartphones, and even smart toasters.
What is IoT? And, how is it used in athletics and sports today?
We’ll define IoT and then give three unique examples of how it’s changing every aspect of sports for athletes and fans.
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What is IoT?
The internet of things (IoT) is a network of interrelated objects, computing devices, digital and mechanical machines, animals, or people that are given sensors with unique identifiers (UIDs).
With these UIDs, they are capable of transferring data over networks without human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction.
The thing in the internet of things can be anything with sensors and an IP address that can transfer data over the internet.
IoT ecosystems are devices that share the data they collect by connecting to an IoT gateway or other edge device. Then, the information is transmitted to the cloud or locally, where it is analyzed.
3 Unique Examples of IoT Applications in Sports
You can find examples of IoT applications in every aspect of sports today. From improving athlete training to making venues more efficient and enhancing a fan’s experience, IoT is there.
Enhancing Athlete Performance
The manufacturers of sports apparel, footwear, and equipment are turning to IoT-equipped gear to help ensure athletes’ health and safety and enhance player development and training.
IoT-equipped apparel is taking athletes to the next level of personalized performance training.
Clothes with sensors can take real-time data and use connected coaching to analyze biomechanics, player form, timing, and technique.
This data can also boost fitness by optimizing training and recovery routines.
Smart shoes equipped with pressure sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes can analyze a runner’s style, strain, balance, and foot strike.
This in-depth data is helpful as wearers can use it to optimize their performance and also to help prevent injuries from poor technique.
Physical therapists are also using smart footwear for the patient rehabilitation of spinal and nervous system injuries by analyzing their foot strike and balance.
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According to an article by Allied Market Research, the global smart equipment market is expected to explode to $12 billion by 2026.
Manufacturers of smart sports equipment are looking to equip almost every piece of sports equipment with IoT sensors like helmets, golf clubs, tennis rackets, baseball bats, basketballs, and soccer balls.
By providing athletes with smart equipment, coaches and athletes can track, monitor, and analyze data that can both help improve their performance but also enhance their health and safety.
IoT to Improve Sports Facility Management
Sports organizations can use IoT to increase the efficiency of their venues while improving the fan experience at the same time.
How IoT Can Increase Stadium Efficiency
- Traffic Management – Mobile apps, sensors, and cameras help fans get to and from the venue, find parking, and navigate around the stadium.
- Stadium Security – Use surveillance cameras and facial recognition to observe the behavior of crowds and restrict access to areas as needed.
- Optimize Building Performance – Operations can monitor and track all of the metrics of a venue, like energy costs from a central area, to optimize the performance of the building.
- Restroom Maintenance – IoT can trigger maintenance notifications during peak times and when the visitor count has been exceeded for a restroom.
- Energy Optimization – Optimize the usage of energy and lighting conditions by monitoring occupancy levels and the time of day.
- Automate Temperature Control – Set custom building temperature requirements like outside temperature and occupancy to adjust the temperature of the building.
Optimizing the efficiency of stadiums in both peak and non-peak times helps reduce the cost of stadium operations.
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IoT to Enhance Fan Experiences
Organizations can use IoT to engage fans at every step, from buying tickets before the game to getting advice on the best route to avoid traffic on the way home and providing feedback on the experience.
How IoT and a Mobile App Can Improve Fan Experiences
- The fan looks for seats and purchases tickets using a mobile app.
- The fan drives to the stadium based on directions provided by the mobile app.
- Upon arriving at the stadium, the fan finds a parking spot.
- The fan follows directions to their seat using beacon technology.
- A fan watches a replay of a big play on their phone, shares it on social media, and the post is displayed on a media wall in the stadium.
- The fan can vote on pregame songs using the mobile app.
- The fan shares a social media post and then receives a discount from a vendor located in the stadium.
- When the fan needs to go to the restroom, they use the app to find the cleanest bathroom with the shortest lines.
- As the fan walks around the venue, beacon technology alerts them to the closest concession stand or the one with the shortest lines.
- The fan purchases a jersey at the team store using loyalty points accumulated and stored on the mobile app.
- Before it rains, the fan gets an alert recommending the route back to the car, which will keep them dry.
- The fan uses directions on the app to find the route home with minor traffic.
- The fan uses the app to rate their gameday experience when at home.
IoT has changed from going to a game to a fan having an experience at the game. Teams can use the data gathered and create a more personal experience for future games.
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IoT Is Changing Every Aspect of Athletics and Sporting Events
Athletes, coaches, and fans are using IoT-enabled devices to collect and analyze data in every aspect of sports.
Smart shoes, apparel, and equipment provide data that coaches can use to improve the performance and health of athletes.
Arenas can use IoT beacons and sensors to monitor activities during and between events to improve the efficiency of the operation of the building and a fan’s experience.
A mobile app combined with IoT sensors and beacons can guide a fan through the gameday process, from finding seats and buying tickets to finding the most efficient way out of the stadium.
Athletes, coaches, fans, and organizations not currently taking advantage of the benefits IoT offers need to adapt before they are left in the dust.