What do developers and athletes have in common?
In pop culture, we’re the guys sitting in the corner with a grey hoodie stretched over hunched shoulders, typing away. The athletes, on the other hand, are busy doing ‘cool-down’ lunges.
We deal in code. They deal in biceps.
They get fresh air. We look like vampires.
So what is it that we share?
Strong Sports Software.
Did you know that last year, 42% of US consumers used an app to track their health and fitness? Whether or not our developers are part of that percentage number… we’re sitting up. Making notes. Coding. Watching the IT Crowd. Whatever.
Actually, the genius of what we do (not just us) is in its versatility. What underwrites software is the same code, appropriated to meet specific goals. In the case of sports software, athletic goals.
The moral of the story? Don’t judge us by our reps. Judge us on our rep.
Big Data + Fitness Trackers
Why are the best athletes in the world alive today? Perhaps I should clarify the question– why are we continuing to break records? An obvious answer is that it’s just human evolution. As we pushed ourselves and worked towards greater ambition, so too, did our bodies adapt to scale these new heights.
Some of the leaps and bounds are due to human advances. For instance, before Title IX was passed in 1972, 1 in 27 girls played sports. That number is now a healthier 2 in 5. Widespread visibility of the Olympic Games, for instance, has a questionable impact, but one thing for sure is the effect of visible role models. The more you can see people you can relate to reaching athletic achievement, the more you can envision what is possible for yourself.
Actually the brunt of record-breaking is a lot less grandiose. Believe it or not, it’s technological insights that have led to the greatest strides. David Epstein’s Ted Talk has one of the best known examples. Usain Bolt’s incredible record in the 100m sprint at the 2012 Olympic Games was 9.77 seconds. In 1936, the gold medal winner Jesse Owens completed it in 10.2 seconds, which would have placed him last in Bolt’s race. At face value, this seems like an incremental, but vast, difference in leading athleticism. When you take the tech into account, however, it’s not so big at all.
Bolt was running on ‘engineered carpet’, with starting blocks; Owens on cinders, with small holes for starting points. Were Owens to have been on the same surface as Bolt, it’s estimated that he would have come within one stride of victory, rather than last.
It’s a common misconception that we’ve naturally evolved into the best athletes in history. Sophisticated insights on environmental factors, body type, training regimes, dieting, clothing, footwear and so much more have honed and refined the art of the athlete.
Software that enables these complex insights include the growing sector of the Internet of Things. These are physical objects embedded with software that can gather, share, use and analyze data. Domestically, think Alexa or Google Nest, your smart thermostat or fridge. In sports, this usually comes in the form of tracking devices.
Watches, tags or sensors built into the gameplay track and analyze performance stats. We’re talking amassing information on heart rate, speed, acceleration and deceleration, among other insights. The aggregated stats are called big data. Interpreted by software with a swiftness and accuracy which escapes humans, it provides an unflattering, objective overview of the status quo. This allows players to see how competitive they are when stacked against other athletes, and where they’re falling short. It also shows them what output works best for their bodies and their trade.
Pivots can be made in training routines or on-field performance in response to learnings. For instance, if over a period of four weeks, a footballer realizes that training at a greater level than usual negatively impacts their game, they’ll know to review that approach. Leaning down, beefing up, or examining the impact of diet on performance is also a useful way of refining approach.
A good software company is able to build and program the language for high functioning IoT to influence and impact performance. They can also ideate new and disruptive technologies to keep athletes competitive.
This software uses AI-technology to make informed predictions on future events such as demand and performance. Without bias, at speed and with accuracy, it tells you what will most likely arise, based on historical data. This is useful not only for athletes, but from a business perspective, too.
An ever-evolving difficulty is retaining the interest of spectators at home, and at-event. While you’re focussing on customer experience, predictive analytics can take care of your inventory levels. Analyzing buying trends from spectators means that if your patrons tend to buy Pepsi, you can order more of that and less of what they don’t consume.
IoT can also provide insight on conditions in which injuries tend to occur, which can inform pivots. More sophisticated tech can automate video analysis from playback to annotate gameplay and identify areas of vulnerability.
VR + AR Experiences
Further to the above, as customer expectations rise with innovation, the booming alternate reality industry does, too. Engagement levels and market value are skyrocketing. From a spectator perspective, imagine being able to immerse yourself in the world of your team, or watch the Olympics right next to the track? This is already being done, and will build towards being an option for at-home audiences to have a 360° experience for an alternative, virtual ticket.
For athletes, it’s being put to good use for training throughout recovery from injury or for specialized training practice, without the risk. While this sort of tech can seem expensive or for elite users, that’s not the case at all. There are lots of providers who can host experiences, or you can work with a software company to develop a story and experience, and they can source a host for you.
Team Management Software
While Facebook may take the cake in organizing sporting events or meet-ups, there are just some things it’s less convenient for. An app to manage teams, one place that your local rugby players or 5k buddies can tap and conveniently use, is just the way to go. They’re letting individuals connect with community teams to meet people and get healthy.
On a larger scale, for bigger projects and professional or semi-professional athletes, coordination across a team with a high level of security is really helpful. This can centralize coordination, connect to your IoT to aggregate performance and vital stats, and even incorporate payroll.
Athletes are already making use of this to review game or training footage and see insights, all in one place. This helps make pivots and strategy shifts a breeze. Player registration and roster management are also great features.
One in five US adults wear a fitness tracker, and most of these now sync with a lifestyle app. These track your vital stats and workouts, giving you an overview of your fitness levels. The greatest advantage of this tech is the motivation that comes from tracking your progress. If you’re able to see what you’ve achieved tangibly, you’re more likely to continue to pursue your goals.
Sports software has been and continues to be instrumental in helping humans maximize their athletic potential. If you’re looking for assistance with any of the above or something different, we’ve got the team and tech to help. Our developers and designers have combined decades of experience, creating cutting-edge software that is relevant, engaging and disruptive. Up your game and do it with the pros, at Synic Software.