April 12, 2024

Understanding wearable technology in elite sport

Published June 12, 2023, 3:20 a.m. by Courtney

Adir Shiffman, Executive Chairman of Catapult, discusses wearable technology landscape in elite sport and how fan engagement can be built on an athlete welfare foundation.

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so wearables and the Internet of Things

are very hot topics everybody is talking

about them but in fact I've heard it

described as a jungle it can be very

confusing and when you think about

wearables for elite sport what you

should really be thinking about is

advanced analytics for elite sport and

that is an easier way to understand this

category and in this wearable you have

two relatively distinct kinds of

technology one is the location

technology so you hear the media talking

about GPS in describing this technology

but in fact GPS or GNSS they are just

outdoor location technologies just like

LPS or RF are indoor location

technologies that is just one part of

the technology that tells us where an

athlete is by the other half of the

technology solution is what we call

inertial sensors these are things like

accelerometers magnetometers gyroscopes

and these are essential for capturing

detailed information about the small

constant movements that athletes are

making whilst they practice or whilst

they play and it takes all of this

information being captured together it

might be eight or nine hundred data

points a second all of that information

is what feeds into our analytics engine

and is what makes it possible for us to

help elite athletes improve their

performance and reduce injury that is

the way to understand wearables in elite

sport delivering value to teams and to

athletes is all about the analytics

solution several years ago we at

catapult made a decision that we would

continue advancing and evolving the

hardware because the hardware is still

essential but we would also invest

heavily in building an analytics

platform a world-first

analytics platform the first one focused

specifically on elite athletes it would

be cloud-based it would be fully

functional and today we have the open

field platform it is that platform that

enables us to so effectively deliver

benefits to our client teams

and to so effectively assist with player

welfare player performance and all of

the other benefits that we deliver to

our clients it's really interesting to

think about legs actually legs have got

two ways to approach this particular

technology platform they can approach it

from a top-down perspective which is to

look for an application or a solution

that delivers primarily media benefits

alternatively they can take a bottom-up

approach which delivers player welfare

and player performance benefits to teams

as a baseline and then layers the other

benefits on top of that core platform

those other benefits would include

tactical features fan engagement and

broadcast applications and it is our

strong view at catapult that it is the

bottom-up approach that will serve

leagues teams players and fans much more

effectively than a top-down approach and

it is the reason why we have built the

world's first end-to-end solution that

can deliver everything from player

welfare and player performance to teams

team technical applications broadcast

benefits and fan engagement apps that is

the catapult solution well catapults DNA

is all about the confluence of sports

science technology and wearables we're

not just a technology company and we're

not just a wearables company running

through the heart of everything we do is

a core of sports science that is why we

so consistently submit to independent

third-party testing and validation of

our technology and algorithms that is

why we are consistently patenting our

technologies and that is why we employ

so many sports scientists to continually

enhance our algorithms and our

applications it is all about bringing

sports science to the technology of

wearables when people think about the

outputs that we deliver they tend to

think about single results from single

sensors for example they think about a

sensor that measures speed and they

think a typical output would be how fast

as a player

certainly that's an important output and

it has applications but in fact it's the

algorithms that we have developed that

deliver most of the value and the good

example of that might be a tackle

algorithm so obviously there's no single

sensor that says that was a tackle but

we've been able to build an algorithm

that can identify from the output of

multiple sensors that are tackle event


we've independently validated that

algorithm and it means that once we've

identified that a tackle event has

occurred we can do some magical things

like for example we can understand the

velocity that the different players

experience going into that tackle the

force of the tackle the vector of the

tackle and most interestingly of all we

can start rating and scoring the impact

of that tackle on the players overall

player load we find the best outcomes

for leagues occur when teams are already

using our technology and already

deriving benefit so for example when

most or the majority of a league is

already using the technology it is much

easier for the league to then deploy

that same technology in game it means

that there is a platform of player

welfare and player performance and lay

it on top of that in the in-game

experience is the team tactical

applications as well as the broadcast

and fan engagement benefits in our

experience that has been the easiest and

most effective way for leagues to deploy

this technology in game at catapult we

do nothing but sport our technology and

our team is dedicated completely to the

elite athlete the elite teams and elite





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