Last weekend, Future Foundation was lucky enough to be invited to take an exclusive peek into the adidas psyche and its vision of the future of football, at the adidas lab in Victoria House. This was the first in a series of events showcasing adidas products of the past, present and future. Inspired by the UEFA Champions League on Saturday, the event focused on innovation in football and provided fans with the opportunity to test unseen products and engage with a range of high-tech, interactive experiences.
Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer and football legends Zinedine Zidane and Michael Ballack kicked off with a day of interactive and inspiring football innovations. Hainer stated the need to keep things ‘smart’ and ‘fast’, describing the cutting edge of football as ‘smart’ and ‘digital’, where revolutionary advances in monitoring and tracking the biorhythms of individual players will have implications for broadcasting and coaching.
Then the fun really began! We were treated to sneak previews of 4 cutting edge innovations, all designed to super-charge the beautiful game. First under the spotlight were speed enhancement technologies – the adizero 99g boot weighs less than an iPhone 5; while the 630g kit includes shirt, shorts, shin pads, socks and boots all designed to provide a lighter look with more game time speed. A limited number of both will be available in 2015.
The base layer of the kit is also fully integrated into another innovation – the miCoach Elite team system. This is the first system of its kind to take real time physiological data and send it back to a coach’s tablet on the sidelines. Measuring everything from power, speed and distance to heart rate and field position, it provides instant insights into player performance and work rate to keep players at their peak and in the game.
The final innovation, the Smart Ball, adds another element of smart-technologies to the sport with the ability to measure power, strike point, trajectory and bend through its built-in sensors. Its automated coaching system feeds back this information to the player through an app to improve technique.
All four were on display and available to interact with. I even got a chance to experience adidas’s future by running ‘The Track’, a 15m Astroturf track providing a real time data visualisation experience to test your game. This involved partaking in 3 running challenges to measure speed, work rate and skill. The data came to life as I ran the track and provided insight on which adidas boot would best suit my style of play – the Predator (the technical wizard), f50 (the speed demon) or Nitrocharge (the engine).
So what does all of this mean for the future of sport? The training, coaching and viewing of sports are all in for some dramatic changes. Mobile Living leaves no rock unturned, and it is now making its way onto the football pitch. Players and coaches will have new, personalised, quantified ways of tracking their performance and progress. The adidas innovations will be game-changing. Literally.