August 18, 2017

Five for Friday: Sports tech

Sporting with technology yields remarkable results in Finland.
Sporting with technology yields remarkable results in Finland.
Istock.com/mayrum

Finnish devotion to sport and intuition for tech manifests itself in successful sports tech endeavours.

From crowded ice hockey games to buzzing outdoor gyms, Finland breathes an affection for sport. As a frontrunner in entrepreneurship, many startups have turned that passion into profit by developing innovative systems for sports data analysis and for boosting event experience. Here are five ideas to get you off to a running start.

Smash

An official sports-oriented side event to start-up event Slush, Smash first appeared in November last year, hosting 400 participants from 10 countries. The aim is to create a platform where passion for sports and technology can unite and develop, oriented towards improving performance and experience in all levels of sport, including spectators.    

CEO Tommi Kolehmainen described last year that “sport is the world’s greatest source of passion and enthusiasm… We want to provide a platform where these passions, skills and business sense can meet”.

Runteq

Running without experience or a trainer can easily lead to injuries, a problem that the measurement system Zio by Runteq aims to rectify. Through the collection and analysis of running technique information such as strike impact and bounce, Zio acts as a miniature trainer that fits in your pocket.

“It’s a coaching application, combined with a wearable sensor that can help you to run faster, smarter and prevent injury,” CEO Tommi Ojala said in 2015. “It helps you to enjoy running more.”

Sportscam

If you have ever dreamed of having a sports bar milieu in your mobile phone, you’re in luck. The “mobile sports bar” lets its users watch games together, and communicate by sending video clips. In the past year, Sportscam raised 1.5 million euros and has partnered with top sports clubs and medias to enhance the game experience.

“Sportscam aims to be the biggest social media for sports in the world,” CEO and co-founder Tomi Kaukinen stated in 2016.

AiScreen

Here, lights and machine vision cameras are installed above an arena or game area, emitting a wave length of light invisible to the naked eye. The reflections of light allow for the collection of real-time data, and its analysis and distribution. Such data has been useful for tracking different elements of team sports such as player performance and mechanics for both fans and for coaching.

“Our technology is exceptional as it provides real time data without the need to install active sensors in the players’ equipment,” explained CEO Mika-Petteri Kuro in 2015.

FootBalance

Customised insoles can make a significant difference in a healthy strut, not to mention the benefits to seasoned athletes. Typically, however, ordering insoles is expensive and time-consuming – so this company developed the proficiency to analyse the foot and produce an insole in less than 10 minutes.

Founder Erkki Hakkala described in April that “I realised that if we could make an insole that would be at least as good, but quicker and cheaper to make, there would be a huge market for it – not only in Finland but internationally”.

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