News & Events Sports Technology

Sports Tech Shoutouts – Sep 2021

In this edition of shoutouts, we have a couple of big news and events in the sports tech world. It will be of special interest if you are a startup who has developed an innovative solution for sports. We also highlight a startup innovating in the swimming space. Read on to learn more.

Welcome to the Sports Technology Blog monthly shoutouts! Besides the Paralympics, the US Open was another major event that took place in September. There were a couple of interesting things about the US Open this year. Firstly both the men’s and women’s wheelchair singles winners (Dylan Alcott & Diede de Groot) won their first Golden Slams. What that means, is they both won all four Grand Slams in a year, plus also winning a gold medal in their Paralympic event. What legends. Another interesting thing is, the women’s singles final (Emma Raducanu vs Leylah Fernandez ) which drew more viewers on ESPN than the men’s final. What’s intriguing is that both girls (at the time of the event) were under 20, and before the finals, Emma was ranked 150 and Leylah ranked 73. For Emma, she was the first ever qualifier to reach a major final and to top it off, won the major title. On the other hand, Leylah defeated three top 5 seeded players to get to the final. It is no wonder their final event got more attention than the men’s final. If you missed the game, you can catch it on youtube here: link. I reckon they will be players to look out for in the future.

Moving on to our sports tech shoutouts, I wanted to share about a couple of big news and events in the sports tech world and I also want to highlight a startup trying to innovate in the swimming space. Lastly, I recommend a couple of books related to sports science and technology that I found interesting.

The 2022 Sports Technology Awards Are Open For Entries

Who is this for? Are you a sports tech startup, company or organisation, and you have developed an innovative product or solution for the sports industry? If yes, then you should take note of this and consider applying for the 2022 Sports Technology Awards.

What is it about? The Sports Technology Awards first started in 2014 and it has been running every year since then. The goal of this annual awards event is to showcase to the greater sports and technology community some of the best innovations, and to recognise and celebrate the top leaders and visionaries in the industry.

What happens? Sports organisations that put in an application in one of the 19 categories will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts. A selected number of the applications will be shortlisted and usually after a few rounds of judging, the winners in each category will emerge. Some of the previous winners include Genius Sports, PlayerMaker, Sportlogiq, Protecht and more.

Some of the previous winners

Why should an organisation enter? Being an established event in the sports tech industry, this is a great opportunity for sports organisations to showcase their innovations, to get their work validated by a wide panel of experts; and if shortlisted, they get more exposure to a world wide audience. The exposure could lead to conversations with potential investors, partners, clients and also attract talents to their organisations.

Key dates to take note: The 2022 Sports Technology Awards open for entries on 15 September 2021. The Early Bird discount is available until 7 October 2021, the entry process will remain open until 30 November 2021. The shortlist will be announced in February 2022 and the Ceremony will take place on 12 May 2022.

The awards ceremony events have previously been live events but the last one had to be virtual due to covid restrictions. For 2022, the event is planned to be live with the option for people to attend virtually. You can find out more on their website (link), or check out some of the highlights from a previous event:

New Australian Sports Innovation Centre For Excellence To Booster Sports Tech Commercialisation

The view to Melbourne’s CBD from Cremorne, the Silicon Valley of Australia. (source: herald sun)

Who is this for? This would be of particular interest to Australian sports tech startups, entrepreneurs and companies who would like some assistance in developing their tech, establishing their unique proposition through R&D, fine tuning their business model or scaling their growth in the local and global sports markets. At the same time, industry partners who would like to participate in partnerships and collaborations should consider getting involved too.

What is this about? The Victoria government has announced a $4 million investment to establish the Australian Sports Innovation Centre of Excellence (ASICE) in Cremorne, Melbourne’s global innovation and technology precinct. One of the goals of ASICE is to foster a world class sports tech ecosystem that produces game changing innovations and subsequently boosting commercial growth and supporting the creation of 2000 jobs in the next 4 years.

Who is involved? ASICE will be headed up by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN), Australia’s lead industry body for sports technology and innovation, and will be connected to the state’s flagship Digital Hub in Cremorne.  ASTN’s network of more than 500 Australian-based sports innovation companies will be connected to the centre and they will continue to help companies develop and expand globally. On top of that, ASTN will have the support of existing local and overseas industry partners including the Global Sports Innovation Center (GSIC) powered by Microsoft, the International Sports Technology Association (ISTA), Varcis Group (Asia market entry partner), and Vumero’s Sports Tech World Series (STWS), just to name a few.

ASICE and ASTN Key Activities (source: ASTN)

What to look out for? ASICE will be providing startup support services, education and training programs, trade and strategic leadership mentoring opportunities, as well as connecting startups to develop new industry partnerships, research collaborations and open innovation initiatives. There will be a focus on key areas such as sports media and entertainment, Artificial Intelligence, mobile and digital innovations, tech in stadiums and events, wearables and e-sports. 

Read more about this on their press release – link. Or check out the previous work of ASTN helping startups and developing a best practice playbook in the video below:

Athlos Live Wants To Keep Swimmers Motivated With Smart Tracking And Music

Athlos Live Smart Earbuds

Who is this for? This is a wearable tech product mainly for swimmers. Swimmers who train in the pool and sometimes feel unmotivated. Swimmers who do not train with a coach or a training partner who could push them harder. Swimmers who struggle to keep track of their training sessions. Athlos Live also developed protocols for guided running and interval training (HIIT) workouts. But there is a stronger focus on swimming.

Athlos Live Earbuds

What is Athlos Live? Athlos Live is a pair of waterproof earbuds (rated IPX8) that can be a swimmer’s audio training companion when swimming laps. When paired/synced with the Athlos App, the swimmer can plan and create a swim workout with the strokes they want to focus on, and the distances and pace they want to stick to. Once in the pool, the swimmer can start the workout and at each lap, get audio feedback of their progress and timing. If there are set variations programmed into the workout, the swimmer will get audio prompts of the next set or rest intervals. The earbuds are designed with motion sensors (IMUs) to detect when the swimmer turns at each lap. But it doesn’t have GPS so it’s not really suited for open water swims.

Why have audio feedback? There are essentially 2 ways a swimmer can get feedback of their swim during their swim (timing, distance etc) – visually or by hearing. The visual options could be glancing at a watch or having smart goggles with a display. Both have their downsides. Glancing at a watch to get your stats usually means stopping and disrupting the rhythm which is not ideal. The smart googles is a cool alternative but the fit of the goggles might be an issue for some, and some swimmers found a display distracting. All these reasons are what led David Shau, the founder of Athlos Live, to go with an audio feedback solution. That plus listening to music during a workout is pretty common these days.

What to look out for? Athlos Live was successfully funded on Kickstarter recently but those who are interested can still get in on early bird pricing at their Indiegogo page. They are aiming to ship the first units out in Nov 2021 and that’s when their app will be available too. In the meantime, you can also check out their promo video below:

One Other Thing – Sports Reading

One other thing before I finish. If any of you are into reading, I have a couple of recommendations for books that are related to sports tech and science. I found them to be inspiring reads and figured it’s worth sharing.

  1. Beyond The Finish Line (by Jonathan Finn)- an interesting book about how the pursuit of the “photo-finish” led to the development of various technologies for capturing that finish line moment. The business of sports and entertainment had a role to play in promoting it. But rules/regulations or rather limitations from different sports and sporting organisations also determine how technology can be applied. You can check out my review of the book here: link.
  2. Endure Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance (by Alex Hutchinson) – a pretty in depth book about physical endurance and how athletes push themselves to the limit in various activities. It talks about the different limits people try to push through, including pain, muscle, oxygen levels, heat, thirst and fuel. It covers a fair amount of sports science research and well-known athletes and events. It all somehow brings back the notion of the power of the mind that plays a significant role.

And that is our sports tech shoutouts for Sep 2021. If you would like more information about any of the above, or maybe you caught on to something and would like to chat about it, feel free to reach out or leave a comment below. If you enjoy our content, please do share on the socials using the links below or subscribe to our blog here: link. Thanks for spending time with us! 

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