Spotlight on Kitman Labs – The Athlete Optimisation System

SPOTLIGHT ON: Kitman Labs

FOUNDED: Nov 1st, 2012

FOUNDERS: Stephen Smith & Larfhlaith Kelly

HEAD OFFICE : Dublin, Ireland

WEBSITE: www.kitmanlabs.com


What is Kitman Labs?

Kitman Labs is one of the rising stars in the Irish sports technology space. This position was confirmed at the 2018 BT Sport Industry Awards as the organisation was named winner of the inaugural Performance Technology of the Year Award. The company will be presenting at the September’s Masterclass in Sports Entrepreneurship, a workshop in partnership with SportsTech Ireland. With that in mind, we wanted to place a spotlight on this fascinating Irish sports tech solution.

Kitman Labs are the developers of a sports-based technology software designed to manage athlete health and performance. The technology help athletes, and trainers, to predict and manage injury. Kitman Lab’s system enables athletes to reduce the risk of injury, while improving overall performance.


How Did This All Come About?

Stephen Smith came up with the idea that would become Kitman Labs while working as the senior rehabilitation coach at Leinster Rugby. At the time Leinster had started to collect a large volume of data on its players without having any clear idea how to use it. Unfortunately, as is the case with many similar outfits, injuries were a serious problem at Leinster Rugby. Stephen watched on as players were forced to call time on their careers due to injury. Young players with many years left in them, given no other option but to retire. This is an unfortunate and ongoing issue across the world of professional rugby.

As an onlooker, Stephen was left frustrated at the amounts of data being collected with no real purpose. The issue he discovered was that the tools simply weren’t there to enable the club to do anything with the data collected. Instead of passively watching the ongoing injury problem grow, Stephen felt compelled to do something about it. “I felt like the athletes deserved more from us. We owed them a duty of care.”

As Stephen was completing his master’s degree he decided to place a focus on the topic of  “Combined Risk Factors as Predictors of Injury”. That is, using data collected on athletes to help predict future injuries. The findings that Stephen gathered from this research were then used on the Leinster Rugby team squad to great effect. The successful implementation of this system was enough for Stephen to pursue the idea of turning his solution into a start-up. And so, Kitman Labs was born.

How it Works

When working with Kitman Labs, teams collect data on their athletes. This includes daily movement assessments, subjective metrics about sleep, diet, soreness and mood. Teams can also aggregate data from third party devices such as GPS or game metrics. Once the data is centralised, teams have the flexibility to create data visuals and interrogate the data through their own analysis. This allows them to tailor training or recovery plans to each athlete or make quick interventions for at-risk-athletes.

There is no shortage of data in sport. However, there is a lack of tools that enable teams to properly interpret and find meaningful answers in the data.

Kitman Labs has built the world’s only Athlete Optimisation System™ that links data back to performance and injury. This helps teams to automatically identify meaningful trends in their athlete’s information. Management can therefore make quick decisions on how to improve the health and performance of the individual. Using Kitman Labs, coaches are able to understand the variables that elevate injury risk for individuals. Likewise with Kitman Labs performance analytics, teams are able to connect athlete data back to on-field performance metrics. This means that coaches can make decisions about an athlete’s training that will directly influence their ability to succeed on the field.


See Kitman Labs 3D Capture in Action

The short clip below gives a good idea as to how Kitman Lab’s 3D capture solution uses motion sensors during the player screening process.

Greater Player Availability – Greater Results

Kitman Lab’s mission is to change how sports teams use data to improve the health and performance of their athletes. The company believes that winning has as much to do with science as it does with desire. Kitman Lab’s products and services provide actionable insights that improve player availability and deliver stronger team results. They do this through employing a combination of machine learning and multivariate techniques that are grounded in scientific research.

There has been a tremendous amount of advancement in modern day sport. Teams can benefit from more advanced training methods as well as more sophisticated nutritional information. Nonetheless, the rise of injury is an ongoing concern. A tech solution that can proactively combat this issue is an exciting development to say the very least.


Breaking the Elite Performers Market

Kitman Labs has been working with some high profile clients worldwide to help them get the very best out of their players. Injury prediction, a previously foreign concept, is becoming a real option for sports teams. Some notable clients of Kitman Labs include American sports teams such as LA Galaxy, Buffalo Bills, San Jose Sharks and the NY Yankees. A number of top level rugby clubs such as Saracens, Bath and Leinster Rugby. As well as a host of English Premier League clubs. With users of their solution experiencing a huge drop in both injury layoffs and performance outcomes, the future looks very bright indeed for Kitman Labs.


Another high profile adopter of Kitman Lab’s ‘Athlete Optimisation Solution’ has been Rowing Ireland. Recently, we caught up with European and World Champion, Mark O’Donovan. We discussed how Irish rowers are using Kitman Labs to improve performance, Mark’s rigorous training schedule and the value of upskilling for elite performers. Mark also looked ahead to the massive challenge facing himself and teammate Shane O’Driscoll. The pair recently moved from lightweight to heavyweight in the hope of landing a place at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

As mentioned earlier, Kitman Labs is one of many fascinating organisations that will be presenting at the upcoming Masterclass in Sports Entrepreneurship. This Two Day Masterclass will introduce guests to the global picture and emerging trends. It will also take a deep dive into the stories of successful entrepreneurs and innovators from the world of sports business to uncover their path to success. Learn more about the event by clicking the button below.

Sports Entrepreneurship Masterclass

SportsTech Hub at Elevate, 9-10 May 2018, ExCeL London

Elevate is the UK’s largest fitness & physical activity trade show. The exhibition contains 1,000’s of the latest products & innovations whilst over 200 expert speakers share information across an action-packed free-to-attend two-day programme.

Elevate 2018 will be the UK’s largest gathering of fitness, performance and healthcare professionals. Attendees will be able to discuss the very latest trends and debate the future of fitness with insights into how technology is transforming the sector.

A new Tech Hub will take place at the event, which is supported by London Sport’s SportsTech Hub, ukactive’s Active Lab and the Open Data Institute. It will feature new start-ups and innovators; giving attendees the opportunity to see the very latest technology that is set to disrupt the physical activity market.

With over 150 suppliers represented within the exhibition hall, there are a large number of innovations and new products on show, in addition to the free-to-attend Elevate Thought-Leaders Conference and seminars.

REWARDS FOR THE BEST ON SHOW

A popular addition to last year’s show, the Elevate Innovation Awards returns in 2018 to recognise the best products and services in defined categories, linking to the show’s themes of inclusivity, performance, health and wellbeing and business. Judged by a panel of industry experts, the five categories are: Best Health and Wellness Innovation, Best Workout Innovation, Best Facility Innovation, Best Innovation for Human Performance and Best Start-up.

Max Quittenton, Founder & Director of Elevate, adds: “We’re understandably thrilled to welcome such a huge number of high quality exhibitors again this year. Elevate provides the perfect opportunity for companies to showcase their products, gain valuable exposure and engage in essential discussions about how their products, services and innovations can help tackle such a complex societal issue as physical inactivity.”

Supported by Public Health England, ukactive, London Sport, CIMSPA, and The Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health (ISEH), Elevate 2018 promises to be an unmissable event for start-up and established sports technology businesses.

Click here to register for your free 2-day pass. 


SportsTech Ireland Expands its International Board

SportsTech Ireland Grows Advisory Board In Ireland and the US

[Limerick; 6th February 2018] SportsTech Ireland has announced the addition of two new members to its international advisory board, including Sam McCleery, the VP of UnderArmour’s Innovation Lab in Baltimore in the US, and George Kennedy, Corporate Partner at Holmes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors, headquartered in Limerick, Ireland.

SportsTech Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation that champions sports technology and innovation, helping to position Ireland as a leading destination for FDI and startups. The organisation has formalised projects and partnerships with Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority, (IDA), Ireland’s leading sports campus the University of Limerick, the University of Ryerson, Toronto, leAD Sports Accelerator in Berlin and Stadia Ventures in the US, among others.

McCleery has strong Irish connections and has a history of driving change and innovation in multiple sectors. As Chief Technologist with ESPN (the world’s largest sports TV network), he championed fan engagement across platforms. With a long career in sports TV, he created the field of ‘virtual’ advertising, creating groundbreaking adverts which revolutionised the commercial ad space.

Kennedy joined HOMS in 2011 from A&L Goodbody in Dublin. Since making Limerick his home, he has also been a champion for change, shaping the growth and development of the city, as an advisory board member of Innovate Limerick and as a Director of Limerick Chamber. HOMS employs over 150 people across its offices in London, Dublin and Limerick, and offers extensive legal services across 26 practice areas.

They both join a distinguished panel of advisors that includes award-winning founders, investors, athletes, entrepreneurs and educators. SportsTech Ireland, with the support of its advisory board, and a diverse range of mentors and international partners, has committed to doubling the number of sportstech startups in Ireland by 2020. SportsTech Ireland has been instrumental in working with the IDA to attract a number of high profile sportstech firms to the midwest of Ireland, with the creation of over 120 new jobs.

ENDS

Want to get in touch? Email hello@sportsTechIreland.com

 


When Passions Collide: Rugby, Technology and Performance Analytics.

 

When Passions Collide: Rugby, Technology and Performance Analytics.

An Interview with Andrew Sullivan, former coach/performance analyst with New Zealand Rugby and STATS.com Director.

Andrew Sullivan was destined for a career in SportsTech, even if he didn’t foresee how two of his passions would eventually collide, back in his days as a sports performance analyst in New Zealand.

“I had three loves, that of sports, the Crusaders, and Information Technology,” says Andrew, who had originally begun a career as a Systems Analyst in IT, before being snapped up by New Zealand Rugby.

Andrew spent almost a decade working as a coach and sports performance analyst for the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby, working with the Crusaders, New Zealand Rugby and of course, the All Blacks. He went on to advise Australian Rugby Union for a further 6 years, before being headhunted by STATS, to work as a multi-sport product manager.

STATS geographic reach extends to Europe, China, Australia, and Africa, and its tech analyses athletic performance to deliver commercial insights, enabling coaches and front-office personnel to make intelligent decisions and gain competitive advantage. STATS boasts a database of over 100,000 players, and captures proprietary data from around 12,000 sporting events each year. Their software combines data analytics and video tracking to analyse matches, trends, opposition scouting opportunities and more.

“I have to admit, the transition from sports to sportstech was tough. My first role with STATS had almost as steep a learning curve as the one I faced at the start of my coaching career. My very first technology role focussed heavily on content, streaming video and live events. There was a lot to learn on the software side, but it was also incredibly exciting. With technology changing so quickly it meant that each day was about finding new opportunities – finding an edge – something that I was used to when working with athletes.”

Andrew has thrived in the STATS environment, though travel has been inevitable. With a HQ in Chicago, and a new office in Limerick, it means some time on the road. However, this isn’t too much of a change, life on the road with the Crusaders, and the All Blacks, took him all over the world, working with their high performance athletes. 

We discussed the challenge athletes face, when retiring from a sporting career. Professional athletes are often faced with serious career challenges once they reach their 30’s. Many athletes have begun to address the lack of meaningful support following high profile athletic careers, highlighted by recent press and interviews with the likes of Olympic badminton player  Gail Emms and others. 

Andrew believes that player welfare is key. He highlights how clubs like the Crusaders are leading the way.

“The life of a pro athlete is short, and player welfare is key. For example, the Crusaders are totally committed to ensuring players make the transition from performance to post-performance smoothly. The player welfare officer will help athletes identify a new role, they will look at financial planning, and ensure that players can make that transition smoothly and effectively.”

One example of an athlete-turned-entrepreneur is JP Hartigan, a Limerick native and rugby player who turned to product design in college, and launched his rugby tackle dummy back in 2009. JP was pro-active in his efforts, and sought out Andrew’s advice back in the early days of product development, when Andrew was working with New Zealand Rugby.

“It’s great to be back in Limerick again, in fact, one of the most promising startups I’ve seen in the space came from here. I met JP Hartigan of Shadowman back in 2010 as he was beginning to launch his tackle dummy into the US market.  I was here with Australian Rugby, and he got in touch. I think JP got it right – he identified a problem, and then he helped to solve it. He has managed to effectively control the load on players as they tackled. I have watched his progress with interest, and I’m delighted that he’s made such a big impact on US football.”

Concussion in rugby, and American football, is a topical subject.

When asked his opinion, Andrew said;

“It’s very important to address the issue of concussion and brain injury at the very earliest coaching opportunity, from day one for the youngest athletes. Prevention and coaching methodology is key.”

However, many clubs rely on volunteer and amateur coaches. And in this Andrew says that the education starts from the top with World Rugby and governing bodies and he emphasises that they are doing a good job with online coaching tools and education.  The severity of risk is such that the best practice must be applied throughout coaching systems, to protect all of those that play. SportsTech has generated interesting examples in this space – such as mouth guards that measure the impact of a tackle, however, this is a diagnostic rather than a preventative tool. It will be interesting to see how wearables, smart fabrics and player analytics are applied to solve this problem in the future.

 STATS has a fairly international scope, so how big a part does rugby play in that mix?

“STATS has a global focus, but the major elements would be worldwide soccer, international rugby and then the major US sports. The work we’re doing around optical tracking and pixel tracking is immensely fascinating, the data we are drawing down on player performance is second to none. When we also consider the new advantages available from machine learning and player outcome tracking, the future is wide open. Not only can we automate data analysis, we can start to understand playing styles, player performance and so much more.”

“Working with players gave me the euphoria and satisfaction of helping people to achieve their goals. Yes I miss that, however, working on the technology side is a new kind of exciting. There really is no limit to how much we can learn and I’m very happy to be in the heart of that kind of action.”

 

In conversation with Emily Ross of SportsTech Ireland, Limerick Oct, 2017, at the Savoy Hotel. Limerick welcomes the Barbarians to Limerick for their game against Tonga on the 10th of November. Follow Andrew on twitter @sydneydigit for more rugby and sportstech insights.

 

 


Berlin’s Adidas Family Funded Accelerator Winners Announced

19 iOT, Video, Apps and Hardware Startups stand out at the leAD Selection Days

 

In July, leAD Sports Accelerator, the sports startup programme developed by the grandsons of Adi Dassler, invited 40 sports startups from all over the world to gather in Berlin for two gruelling days of competition and assessment, with the goal of selecting 15 companies to participate in its sports acceleration program. Winners will come to Berlin for three months of intensive mentoring, leadership development, network building, and those remaining in the accelerator after the semi finals on Oct 11 will receive an investment of €25,000. Eventually, due to the high quality of the invited startups, 19 instead of 15 were selected to join leAD  in September.

 

The programme, aimed at sports companies at early stage, received 480 applications from 26 countries. Teams that assembled in Berlin came from as far away as New York, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv and New Delhi, joining other teams from all over Europe.

 

Trends of note: There were a high number of startups commercialising video technology within the sports market. These included video analytics for feedback, player performance, as well as technology for score keeping and tracking. Video analytics for athlete scouting as well as trend analysis was also a common theme. Apps of course were plentiful across the board.

 

IoT was everywhere and present in a diverse array of companies. Smart tennis courts, smart referee watches, and smart athlete devices all stood out as companies that had harnessed connectivity to improve sports for all. Sports nutrition startups were also out in force. A smart bottle with Nespresso style nutrient capsules made the final cut.

 

Manufacturing innovations also abounded. Winners of note included a skateboard designed to mimic all the movements of a surfboard, a helmet with detachable earphones, a suitcase that could connect to your bicycle for bike tours, and socks with a special surface that acted like shoes.

 

Tim Krieglstein, Managing Director of leAD said: “We were overwhelmed with the volume of ideas, the quality and the innovation that we saw here in Berlin. It is remarkable what can be achieved when you are truly passionate about an idea. We are delighted to be a part of so many new stories in the world of sports.”

 

After an intensive interview and selection process, the following 19 companies were announced as winners, and will be accepted into the leAD programme, which will begin in Berlin in autumn:

 

– Wingfield
– UNIT 1
– Skinners
– Fitto Nutrition

– Reachbird Sports
– Accuwear
– 2020 Armor
– bstoked
– Bio Boards Landsurf
– Venuzle
– Evolve Basketball App
– Sentier Adventure Gear
– Valtik Foods
– Starting 11 LLC
– The Movement Athlete
– Winmill
– ForwardGame AR
– Who Knows Wins
– Horse Analytics

 

About leAD Sports Accelerator:

 

leAD Sports Accelerator – legacy of Adi Dassler, launched in Berlin, Germany to boost talented founders and turn promising startups from seed to fully-functioning, profitable ventures.  The first edition of the leAD Sports Accelerator will take place from 12 September to 8 December 2017 in Berlin, Germany. leAD Sports Accelerator was initiated by the grandchildren of Adi Dassler together with a unique group of shareholders who are experts in the fields of venture capital, business, sports business and tech.

 

Passion for sports – leAD Sports Accelerator: www.leadsportsaccelerator.com

Video – leAD Sports Accelerator – the Legacy: https://vimeo.com/202071653


Social channels

 Twitter: www.twitter.com/leADsports

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/lead-sports-accelerator

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leadsportsaccelerator

Startup Overview:

 

Wingfield
Wingfield is developing a system that can transform any tennis court in the world into a smart court. Playing on a court that is equipped with their system, the players get the same game analytics as the professionals do. With a combination of hardware and Arti cial Intelligence, the system keeps track of the score, analyzes strokes and gives personal feedback right after matches or practice sessions. From the average speed of serve to a point by point video analysis, the system provides all the information needed to improve. The system only costs a fraction of a professional system and is easily set up.

 

Unit 1

UNIT 1 developed SOUNDSHIELD, an all-season action-sports helmet with wireless, detachable headphones. It provides a seamless experience both on the slopes / parks and outside of them. When skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding or biking you wear both, the helmet and headphones, seamlessly connected. When done riding, you simply detach your headphones and take them with you, no need to leave the music behind. It also features a speci cally designed interface, a proprietary docking system, Hi-Fi audio and a built-in mic for taking calls.

 

Skinners

Skinners is a new kind of footwear. The innovative sock-shoes are designed for travel and sport enthusiasts. They provide ultimate freedom of socks with protective elements of shoes. Due to their compact dimensions, Skinners are useful as a handy backup footwear for outdoor activities (e.g. inline skating, cycling, hiking, rock climbing etc.) or as a primary pair of shoes (gym, yoga, pilates, running etc.). Skinners are produced with a unique waste-free technology that does not use any adhesives or seams, guaranteeing that the abrasion-proof handmade bottom part is neatly joined to the upper antibacterial material.

 

fitto Nutrition

fitto is an IoT consumer health startup aiming to disrupt the supplements industry. tto wants to create the new age of smart personal nutrition with a smart bottle, pods and AI engine platform that optimizes nutrients intake and body potential through user pro ling. It syncs and utilizes data from biometrics and health cross devices and platforms. The users get real-time nutritional status and progress on goals.

 

Reachbird

Reachbird is a Influencer Marketing SaaS-solution that uses AI to nd the right influencers. The SaaS-solution of Reachbird provides marketers with three tools to professionalize influencer marketing. In the rst step, a search engine helps marketers to identify influential persons in social media that really t the purpose of their advertising campaign. The search engine is based on AI, using social media data to make a perfect match between advertiser and influencer. In the next step, a management-tool helps marketers to control advertising-campaigns in every step – giving marketers the possibility to communicate with influencers as well as an integrated payment solution. The third tool provides in-depth analytics on the outcome of a social media campaign with influencers. Reachbird now wants to tap into influencer marketing in the sports industry.

 

Accuwear

Accuwear provides athletes and race participants with powerful information they did not have before. With the Accuwear Band, athletes can gain access to ranking positions, live-tracking, estimated nishing times, time/distance from their next competitor ahead and much more during the race. The live data is sent to the mobile app so that fans and spectators can follow the action from anywhere. The data collected is monetized through media organizations such as TV and social media feeds.

 

2020 Armor

2020 Armor wants to change the way we do martial arts in a competitive way. Common counting systems in Taekwondo, the most popular martial art (80 million people practicing), favor taller players and are hard to understand through the electronic counting that was introduced eight years ago. 2020 Armor’s goal is to provide a solution inspired by street ghter games. Fighters in a competition wear vests with sensors and start all with a certain amount of “energy”. The harder the ghter is hit, the more energy he loses. The rst one to lose all energy is defeated. This should bring even more excitement to martial arts.

 

bstoked

bstoked is a marketplace for action & adventure sports travel, which makes outdoor sports experiences around the world accessible to a large, global audience. It minimizes the planning time, risks and costs while optimizing the travel and sports experience on many levels. Sports enthusiasts can easily discover and book unique sports experiences around the globe, which are offered by independent local tour operators or experienced local sports practitioners that can hardly be found elsewhere. It allows local hosts with little to no infrastructure to attract guests without expensive intermediaries.

 

Bio Boards LandSurf

Bio Boards developed the LandSurf, a skateboard that through its innovative setup allows you to perform unique surf tricks and maneuvers on land. Using advanced research technics, they’ve mapped the biomechanics of sur ng and engineered a board that perfectly recreates the sensation of sur ng on the land. The development was done in corporation with professional surfers. Additionally, the board is made of recycled materials only.

 

Venuzle

The vision of Venuzle is to make the planning and coordination of sports activities user-friendly. At the same time sports providers are given the opportunity to optimize their management, communication and distribution channels, as well as simplifying manual processes and increasing the utilization. They provide an online marketplace to search and book sports venues and sports courses, match sports partners, nd new teammates, join other teams or manage their own teams for sportspeople. For sports providers, the Venuzle Sports Manager is an enterprise management solution for municipalities, local councils, clubs and schools to manage their facilities, courses and enrollment or offering of private.

 

Evolve Basketball App

Evolve Basketball App is a virtual training platform for youth to enhance their skills regardless of their demographic, location or money situation. It combines social media with gami cation features implemented so users can have the ability to unlock videos via ads free of charge and the ability to purchase coins to unlock videos. Users also can choose from multiple elite certi ed trainers across the world. The app allows them to interact with the trainers on a personal level. Users also can save up on coins as the coins are a virtual currency that allows you to buy goods inside the app from sponsored brands.

 

Sentier Adventure Gear

Sentier Adventure Gear is a hardware startup focused on building technical, smart and tailored products for outstanding performance in the most challenging urban and outdoor conditions that encourage enthusiasts to empower life as a journey by avoiding complexity and time- consuming effort. Their rst product is the Bike Trolley, a new concept of a trolley bag, easily convertible to a high-performance bike trailer.
It drastically enhances the luggage handling experience while providing an outstanding riding performance, reducing travel costs and stress.

 

Valtik Foods

Valtik Foods developed a fast-absorbing hydration mix under the trademark TITANIUM that provides faster hydration avoiding stomach distress both for the amateur and the endurance athlete. The mixture of sugars and electrolytes moves from the gut to the bloodstream in just 15 minutes compared to other products that do this in 30 minutes or more. It favors gastric emptying and carb absorption rate in the small intestine and inhibits glucose saturation in the cell membrane of the cells in the body. They also understood that different sports have different sweat rates, and energy and muscle use. They thus developed four lines of TITANIUM segmented by sport category adapted to each sport’s speci c needs.

 

Starting 11 LLC

Starting 11 is a daily fantasy soccer app. Users build an 11-player fantasy roster of real-life soccer players and compete against other users. Statistics accumulated by real-life players are converted into fantasy points that are earned by the user’s 11-player fantasy roster. The user’s team with the most fantasy points at the end of a single day wins the contest. Starting 11 offers both free contests and contests where users can win cash prizes. Starting 11 is dynamic because users can make up to three in-game, real-time substitutions, just like a real soccer man- ager. Their geolocation feature allows users to challenge fans watching the match nearby in a soccer bar or soccer stadium. Or, users can in- vite friends to play private 1 vs. 1 games.

 

The Movement Athlete

TMA is an educational platform & technology making learning bodyweight and movement disciplines like calisthenics, gymnastic, acrobatics and circus skills – previously, expensive and inaccessible – easy, fun and safe for everyone. They distill the knowledge of the world’s best gymnastic & calisthenics coaches and physiotherapists to make professional training available to anyone. Through comprehensive athlete assessment, they identify exactly where you are at and create a fully personalized training program just for you. Each workout pushes you a little bit more, learning new and harder movements, and unlocking new levels of strength, flexibility, and mobility.

 

Winmill

Winmill is building a training tool to improve every ice hockey players’ abilities to train smart. They are building a training device that can pass and shoot pucks by using stereovision to provide the highest level of training for every individual. They also provide video and statistical review about the trainings. Additionally, they are developing a software for coaches that aggregates information from trainings and games through innovative sensor technology.

 

ForwardGame AR

ForwardGame AR is building a bridge between the virtual and the physical worlds, bringing the fun of playing back to the streets, parks and backyards. Their mission is to build a variety of solutions, including jogging and workout gami cation, real-world multiplayer games, smart interactive playgrounds and many more. Their rst game is a real-world real-time mobile strategy game (capture-the-flag). Users are required to get outside with friends, divide into two groups and start the battle! During the game, they gather power-ups, attack the opponents, defend their base and capture the enemy’s flag. Every meter traveled counts as a game point. The battle lasts 20 minutes and the recommended number of participants is 6.

 

Who Knows Wins

Who Knows Wins (WKW) is an interactive social gaming platform that allows friends, family, and colleagues, to compete against each other in leagues, using their knowledge, skill, and luck to predict results on virtually any sporting event. The WKW- Team is trying to take the gambling’s negative stigma away through socializing it. Their platform is not as much about money as it is about community. WKW is the place to predict, compete and win cash in the company of friends, family or even total strangers.

 

Horse Analytics
Horse Analytics is the easy one device solution to connect horse and owner 24/7 allowing for an easy access of health and trainings related aspects. HorseAnalytics empowers horse enthusiasts to monitor and improve the health and training of their companions by applying successfully tested technologies from human sport wearables combined with constant data quantification and real-time scientific analytics, fostering an intimate understanding.

 


SportsTech Ireland Innovation Showcase

SportsTech Ireland launched on the 15th of June. We welcomed 100 special guests to King John’s Castle, where we shared our vision and our values, as well as some old fashioned hospitality, to accompany the broad variety of companies that exhibited on the day.

We featured hi tech companies at every stage, from ideation right through to those turning over tens of millions overseas. We welcomed companies working in wearables, gaming, high performance, analytics, sports clothing, equestrian tech and lots more.  Keep your eyes peeled for showcase interviews like this one with Kitman Labs. 

 


SportsTech Ireland Launch: Kitman Labs

At the official launch of SportsTech Ireland we were delighted to welcome over a dozen companies to the Innovation Showcase. one of these was Kitman Labs, a sports data company based in Dublin that enables athletes and coaches to avail of and interpret real-time results. Kitman Labs employs more sports data analysts than anyone else in the industry.  They are also offering the world’s first athlete optimization system as a cloud-based service.

A huge thanks to Kehlan Kirwan at RedEye Media for putting together this clip from our launch. 


Optiflow Digital: A Case Study of Intelligent Mouth Guards

Intelligent Mouth Guards: New way of preventing secondary concussion brain injuries

by Paul McGurran, Optiflow Digital

 

Are you a parent whose children play high-impact sports such as rugby? If so you are probably aware of the growing concerns that injuries from secondary concussion can cause teenagers and young adults. The Will Smith directed movie “Concussion” has also helped raise public awareness of the potential dangers of continuing to play on while still concussed. It is estimated that each year approximately 3.8 million concussions occur in USA and that in roughly half of these cases players don’t report it.

 

Definition: A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to either the head or the body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. A concussion changes how the brain normally functions. Signs and symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, fatigue, confusion or memory problems, sleep disturbances, or mood changes.

 

Emergence of Intelligent Mouth Guards Market

There are a number of US start-ups emerging that have been working on developing Intelligent Mouth Guards that seek to address the above problem.

 

Prevent Biometrics, founded in 2015 and based in Minneapolis, completed a Series A funding round of $2.5 million in 2016. Co-founder and CEO Steve Washburn was previously the CEO of Shock Doctor Mouthguards for 15 years, where he built the brand into the market leader. The accuracy of the Prevent technology has been scientifically validated by the Cleveland Clinic.

“Research has shown that accurate head impact measurements are impossible to achieve without a secure coupling to the skull. This is why we chose to embed our impact monitor in a mouthguard, and develop our technology and intellectual property around this concept,” said CEO Washburn.

How does Prevent Biometrics Work?

Prevent Biometrics (www.preventbiometrics.com) accurately measures head impacts in real-time on the field of play, giving athletes and coaches the information they need to make sports safer. Embedded in a mouth guard and paired with a mobile app, Prevent’s impact monitor continually monitors the athlete, collecting every head impact received. If an impact force exceeds a pre-set threshold, a red LED immediately illuminates on the mouth guard and an alert is sent to team coaches through the mobile app.

The head impact monitor uses a patented deformable body algorithm to measure the force, direction and location of head impacts in real-time, providing accurate and comprehensive view of athlete head impacts. The company plans to offer two versions of its head impact monitor for athletes ages 11 and older, starting at $199.

Summary

In summary, we have discussed the emergence of an intelligent mouth guard start-up. What is innovative about the post-impact feedback to managers and coaching teams is that it is “real-time” and removes any debate about whether a player should stay on or withdraw from the field of play. This will prevent potentially very harmful secondary concussion brain injuries. It will be interesting to plot the progress of Prevent Biometrics in the coming years.

Optiflow Digital was established by Paul McGurran in 2012 and is based in the Nexus Innovation Centre, University of Limerick. Paul has over 19 years experience in Usability, Online Customer Experience and eCommerce. He is an Enterprise Ireland mentor to Irish start-ups including Pinpoint Medical, Von Bismark and Accuvio Software. Please feel free to contact Paul via Linkedin.

https://ie.linkedin.com/in/paul-mcgurran-2ba22822

 


Launch Event: Thursday June 15th

SportsTech Ireland will launch officially in the heart of Limerick on Thursday 15th of June, at King John’s Castle in the heart of Limerick.

The event will feature a number of international case studies from SportsTech leading companies from around the world. Its founders will present the tenets of SportsTech Ireland’s not-for-profit founding principles. and will welcome partners, sponsors, advisors, mentors and press to gather and discuss the future of the sports and technology ecosystem in Ireland.


Limerick, the hub for SportsTech Ireland

Limerick, the hub for SportsTech Ireland

 

What do you think of, when you think of Limerick?  

Inevitably when I ask this question, sport of one form or another features in the first 5 words.  Be it Munster Rugby, the UL Arena; Tom Barr; Special Olympics, the 50 metre pool; Ger Hartmann; rowing on the majestic Shannon river; the World Student Sports Games, or the new 25 metre diving pool opening soon.  However, one thing stands above all else – the enthusiastic, passionate sporting fans and spirit that pervades Limerick.

 

Background

This idea for this initiative was borne out of a research project by an Executive MBA team from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.  Len Middleton, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Ross School of Business has been a long-time visitor to Ireland and particularly to Limerick and the mid-west.   Len brought his 100th Irish team to Limerick in September 2016, this time to lead a project on examining the start-up and scaling ecosystem and how it could be powered up.  The project team met with many stakeholders in the City including UL, LIT, Limerick Enterprise Office, Innovation Works, etc, as well as many start-up entrepreneurs and established companies.   One of the many ideas conceived was for a Limerick-based cluster bringing together two of the cities key areas of interest, Sports and Technology.

“SportsTech Ireland can provide a bridge between coaches, athletes & players, investors and sports and technology entrepreneurs, businesses and international companies.”  Professor Len Middleton, University of Michigan.

In 2015 Ireland’s first ever sports business cluster was established in Limerick with a target of creating 500 jobs within five years.  The National Sports Business Cluster was developed in association with W2 Consulting, University of Limerick and Innovate Limerick.  Building a specialised SportsTech hub for sports innovation and technology is a natural extension of this project, linking to the Universities for research and Sports Science and IT/Engineering; LERO (Irish Software Research Centre); entrepreneurs; indigenous and multi-national technology companies; coaches, players and athletes.

Formal clusters are known to work well.  Dundee is noted as a video games cluster and has been credited with driving a 600% growth in Scotland’s gaming industry.  Dublin is focusing on becoming a Fintech super-power cluster.   Galway is Ireland’s med-tech cluster. As Michael Porter has said “the enduring competitive advantages in a global economy lie increasingly in local things—knowledge, relationships, motivation.”  Clusters are not new thinking but they are viewed as the new kind of team.  A team where the performance is much higher than the sum of the parts.  

A SportsTech cluster for Ireland can compete on an International scale with Israel, London, Paris, Toronto, Boston, St Louis, and Silicon Valley.    The aim is to specialise in key verticals:

  • Performance
  • Analytics
  • IoT
  • Fan Engagement
  • eCommerce
  • Broadcast 
  • Stadium Tech
  • eSports

 

Leap of faith

A SportsTech cluster for Ireland requires a long-term strategy and commitment.  Establishing it in Limerick takes advantage of the natural sporting ecosystem that already exists.  Making SportsTech Ireland a success requires motivation, innovative thinking, collaboration and a competitiveness; the hallmarks of any great team.

The official launch of SportsTech Ireland is set for June 1st in Limerick.   It all began with an idea.  But the raw material that can power this idea is, of course…people.

 

Useful Links

https://michiganross.umich.edu/

https://hbr.org/1998/11/clusters-and-the-new-economics-of-competition

http://www.limerickchamber.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Invest-In-Limerick-2017.pdf