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TMC's FAST - Fitness and Sports Technology - Conference Primed to Take Off Today
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
December 09, 2013
TMC's FAST - Fitness and Sports Technology - Conference Primed to Take Off Today
By Tony Rizzo
TMCnet Senior Editor

Surely you remember when treadmills and other sports equipment began to include such things as early heart rate monitors that provided a fairly adequate measure of one’s heart rate, along with such things as calculated calorie loss and other sometimes relevant information. Technology for use in the sports world has evolved greatly since then, with consumer-grade technology having evolved far beyond consumer needs and well into the realm of professional sports – including use within pro teams across many sports, college sports and high school. As well, health, fitness and sports technology has grown in sophistication at the fitness club level.

Fitness and sports technology (FAST (News - Alert)) innovations within sports and fitness take on many forms. They range from pure, directly connected monitoring devices for individual testing – with the ability to finely monitor and measure numerous biometric statistics for individuals, to wirelessly connected teams being measured individually while collectively playing their various sports in real time. For teams playing and being monitored in real time, biometric data is also collected for entire teams, giving coaches and trainers new and unparalleled views of how their teams operate physically in the field.

Behind the technology that gathers all of this vital information is the information itself. Wireless field technology is now able to capture amazing amounts of data. It is critical to understand what is represented by all of this data – along these lines teams and individuals need to be able to center on the measurements that matter most, those data points that matter less, and the real time, on-field circumstances around which the data makes the most sense.

Understanding the value of measuring numerous biometric data points is critical. Just as critical is the ability to dig into the data to uncover patterns, hidden relationships between different types of data and the ability to translate these newly discovered patterns and relationships into meaningful ways to develop better training techniques, better coaching capabilities, and ultimately developing both tactical and strategic ways to better compete. This includes better preparing athletes and what they do from both a training and real time game perspective.

It’s all easy to say, but in fact the data gathering itself is complex, the relationships between numerous biometric data points is complex, and the ability to uncover the relationships among huge quantities of data is complex. In fact, the underlying data efforts qualify as bona fide “big data” projects. These big data projects include both post-gathering analysis after the fact, as well as real time analysis that takes place as a game is being played or as an athlete is executing his or her particular sport individually (e.g. a swimmer or a runner or a tennis player competing in non-team sports and fitness scenarios).

Next, as much as we might focus on health and fitness, sports technology goes well beyond this to include such things as athletes being able to visually record on-field activities as they occur in real time on the field. Professional and college sports teams in particular provide good examples of sports scenarios where technology can lead teams to providing their fans with new and exciting views of how sports are played and what players see and do in real time. Capturing video on the field is emerging as a next generation capability that does exactly this. As well, there are also pure fitness uses for such technology.

Finally, we are witnessing a rapid explosion of wearable technology that is able to function across both consumer environments and club and professional level sports scenarios. Yes, Google (News - Alert) Glass may best be known today for being able to take photos of the kids hands-free. But Google Glass will also lend itself to serious sports applications. Professional athletes may find themselves wearing special clothing with special sensors in them as well as ways to deliver data wirelessly as it is recorded, but these same types of shirts are becoming available for consumer level athletes as well.

The FAST Conference

We’ve spent a significant period of time building a conference program to dig into all of the above and to weave it together into a holistic package that will help anyone involved in sports – professionally (for both college and pro sports), as a serious amateur level (including health clubs and high school sports) and at the consumer level – understand both the technologies involved, the capabilities they deliver, and ultimately how they all deliver new services for sports teams to deliver to their fans, as well as to develop far better coaching and training methods.

The FAST program opens presentations from STATS (News - Alert), a company that is deeply involved in capturing on-field data, and the United States National Soccer Team training and fitness coach, which is utilizing STATS technology. Following that, adidas will present its miCoach Elite technology, which provides the sophisticated technology that is able to capture real time data. The conference is designed as well to offer interactive dialog between presenters and attendees and members of STATS and adidas will present a special luncheon session to do exactly this, stepping beyond their formal presentations to converse with attendees.

The rest of the day is devoted to understanding the biometric data, to uncovering the meanings behind the data – with SAP (News - Alert) delivering a special presentation on the use of its in-memory HANA database system to do exactly this. There will as well be presentations covering such things as on-field video capture, different types of wearable shirts that deliver on biometric data, a look at how Google Glass can be used to deliver a serious sports application, as well as a look at the hardware being developed by such companies as Telit Wireless (News - Alert), Freescale and Sensoplex for use in creating ever more sophisticated wireless and real time data capture.

image via shutterstock 

In short, FAST offers a top to bottom education on today’s state of the art in sports and fitness technology. It will leave attendees with the ability to create actionable game plans to take back to their own sports scenarios and will provide not only a clear understanding of what can be done today, but what is just around the corner. Whether attendees are looking to gain individual or team sports training and coaching advantages, FAST offers the sessions to get attendees to that actionable game plan.

As the conference director behind the FAST program, we’ve had the opportunity to dig deeply into all of these issues. Given our ongoing conversations with all of FAST’s presenters we are very much looking forward to its kickoff today. We hope to see you there!

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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