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3 Ways IoT Devices Are Revolutionizing Sports

Benjamin Hunting
May 31, 2018

The impact of the Internet of Things and IoT devices now reaches into almost every area of our lives – and this includes the playing field.

In fact, the U.S. Olympic Committee has been using IoT tech since the 2016 Summer Games. Mounir Zok, the USOC’s biomedical engineer, told Bloomberg that “Once an athlete starts using technology to peak when she wants to peak, limit injuries, and maximize performance, she can never go back to just intuitive training.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an Olympian to benefit from IoT. Check out these 3 ways the Internet of Things is revolutionizing sports.

1. Keeping training equipment online

Have you ever walked into the cardio room at your local gym and been disappointed to find your favorite machine was out of commission? Maintaining workout gear is a challenge for any athletic facility, as it’s traditionally been difficult to know how much one machine is used over another, and which one will wear out first.

IoT devices are taking the guesswork out of this kind of maintenance, however, by allowing for a gym to use sensor data to keep precise records of exactly how often a particular piece of equipment has been used over a given period of time. This is a huge boon for larger facilities like Rutgers University, where hundreds of machines can now have their maintenance planned out in advance, instead of simply reacting to complaints from spinners and stair-climbers about broken gear.

Going into Monday on 🔥#wilsonxbasketball 📸@convenient_tennis_coaching

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2. Helping you train like the pros

Professional sports teams have long had enormous resources – both technological (player-tracking cameras, radar guns, analysis software) and human (coaches and therapists) to help players improve their game. IoT devices are now making it possible for almost anyone to have access to the same kind of data that the major leagues have been enjoying for years.

Take, for example, the Wilson X Connected Football and Connected Basketball. These two products include sensors that keep track of how long your last toss was, how fast the ball was thrown, its spin rate, arc of throw, and even how many shots or misses you’ve had – lifetime – with the ball. Each connects to an app so you’ll always have that data with you in your pocket.

3. Protecting your brain

Perhaps no sports injury has received the same attention in recent years as concussions – and this is one area where IoT has stepped into play a leading role. ‘Smart helmets‘ that contain impact sensors are increasingly being developed and deployed by amateur and pro teams seeking to determine when an athlete has been exposed to a potential brain injury, allowing them to withdraw from a game or practice and begin their recovery immediately.

It’s clear that IoT technology is capable of not just expanding our understanding of how we play sports, but also improving our skills, our athleticism, and our safety while we’re out there having fun. We’re still in the early stages of integrating this type of data collection and analysis into our regular team routines, but it seems likely that in the near future, connected devices in the locker room will be as common as cleats and running shorts.

Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting has covered science, medicine, and technology for a wide range of publications, and has also been published in the Journal of Medical Economics. He coded his first computer program at the age of 8 on a Commodore VIC-20 and still has the audio cassette he saved it on hanging around somewhere in his office.
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