As we discuss in our nVision trend The Quantified Self, smart technology has made consumers better positioned than ever before to monitor their day-to-day behaviours and understand the impact of their choices – and typically in real-time, seamless ways.
One area where we’ve seen particularly strong growth here is in the sporting arena. From Swimtag to Xperiathon to Nike’s FuelBand, so many tools and devices now promise to track a participant’s performance and inject a fun / competitive / self-improving angle. And to this (quickly-growing) list of “Quantified Sports”, we can now add Tennis – with Babolat presenting a prototype of what it called the first ever connected tennis racquet during the French Open in May.
Used in a series of organised demonstrations featuring both amateur and professional players (including Rafael Nadal), the “Babolat Play & Connect” features sensors in the racquet handle which allow individuals to record data without interrupting their game.
Subsequently, players can transfer data to a computer, smartphone or tablet via a USB or wireless connection and then analyse specific information about their game – including service speed, qualification of strokes and ball spin. In addition, players can monitor their progress over time, set goals and, if they wish, post details to a specific social network to compare their performance or compete with others.
As the 10s progress, then, we have to expect ever more sporting activities to include a Quantified Self angle. But, perhaps just as importantly, must we also imagine that it will transform the process of spectating – making it a much more informed and interactive affair? By the 2016 Olympics, will we be able to receive instant assessments of how our favourite athletes have performed? We’d love to hear your thoughts.