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The Cloud Delivers a Better Experience for the Connected Athlete through the Internet of Everything

In the world of sports, becoming the fiercest competitor possible is the name of the game.

Today, the intersection of cloud technology and smart sports equipment is helping athletes and para-athletes perform at a world-class level. As a techie, you might admire the new shock absorbers built for downhill skis so paraplegics can hurl down a mountain at 70mph. Or how can you not marvel at the development of the prosthetic retina that can help blind athletes perform the sports they love?

Another amazing advancement is highlighted in Rick Smolan’s book, The Human Face of Big Data. Sheila Nirenberg, an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, developed a way to enable patients with macular degeneration to see again. Awesome!  As stated in the book:

 “Using an array of high-speed, parallel processing computers, Nirenberg and her team embedded custom software in microprocessors and cameras that will be built into eyeglasses…images captured by the cameras will be translated into code in the form of thousands of pulsing lights, which can be recognized by the brain.”

It won’t be long before today’s visually impaired athletes can use this technology to compete at the highest level. And more than ever, this technology will rely on data that flows quickly and in real-time.

This is where cloud computing plays a key role -- allowing data to be easily accessed and stored, so that mobile devices and the peripherals of tomorrow (connected eyeglasses, etc.) can provide new experiences to athletes. These devices will be able to transmit data, communicate to each other (M2M) and relay to the user (M2P) vital information needed for the athlete.

Advancements in medical technology and cloud computing are giving us a new perspective on life

Advancements in medical technology and cloud computing are giving us a new perspective on life

For example, a partially blind, or fully blind cross-country skier may one day have the capabilities through the Internet of Everything (IoE) to communicate through M2P technology while on the course. What will this mean?  Sensors indicating course characteristics (downhill, uphill, turns, starting line/finish line, timing, etc.) will be able to communicate and relay the information in real-time to the skier. These types of mobile-enabled experiences are powered through cloud infrastructure and applications.

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Verizon and Cisco Showcase New Technologies at Verizon Innovation Center West

More than 99 percent of things in the physical world are still not connected to the Internet. The Internet of Everything (IoE) has the potential to connect the unconnected, thereby opening up unprecedented opportunities. But, it’s not just things that are connected to the Internet. People, such as athletes, are looking to utilize technology, such as our IoE, to improve their performances.

Verizon re-launched on Oct. 8 the Verizon Innovation Center West in downtown San Francisco. The newly-expanded Innovation Center is comprised of collaborative lab environments, private lab space, demonstration and seminar areas, as well as office space that engineers and member companies can utilize to work with others to advance wireless technologies.

Several new and beta technology demonstrations are on display at the innovation center.

One application is the “Connected Athlete” (see photo below), Read More »

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Going the Distance: Technology for Today’s Athlete

Hills, hills and more hills but the view is amazing and does everyone here have a device tracking them? Stream of consciousness, yes, and my thoughts after participating in last weekend’s Coastal Trail Run along with 599 other runners.

Bib with chip on the back that tracks runners progress.

Race bib with chip on the back that tracks runners progress.

Connected Runners
Most of whom were connected to some sort of device to help track their progress or just to communicate with family and friends during their race. Whether it was an iPhone app that syncs a playlist and shows your progress, some kind of satellite tracking device like a Garmin watch or just the simple bib with the tracking device right in it – all runners were connected. As soon as I got on the shuttle bus that took us to the start line I saw several people snapping photos because not only are runners more connected now than ever before but they also share their experience on social media sites. You could say it’s a way to keep them honest and seek out encouragement as they continue to train for the next race.

Race Bib

Tracking chip on back of race bib

High Tech Athletic Gear

The gear everyone was wearing was also laced with technology. Compression socks, Kinesio tape, every kind of contraption to hold water you can think of and running tights to stay warm. My Dad used to run and constantly tells me, “We didn’t have all that stuff you have now, I used to cut the feet out of your Mom’s pantyhose to stay warm.” Well Dad – we’ve got all that “stuff” now and so much more. For example, the Connected Athlete, which is a simple shoe insole one can use to track activity all day long. The Connected Athlete leverages the Cisco Intelligent Network and ACM Systems’ smart-insole wireless sensor technology, to help improve an athlete’s performance and reduce the chance of injury. So you don’t need a gadget strapped to you at all times, with this technology you can really get a sense of your activity throughout the day just by putting the insole in your shoe. The gear athletes wear to improve performance is constantly changing and improving. Just this week the Warriors announced the players will be wearing new compression style short-sleeved uniforms that will apparently allow for optimal performance.

Golden Gate Trail Run

View during Coastal Trail Run

Times Have Changed

Yes, times have changed, and the way technology is used to enhance an athlete’s performance will continue to evolve. But the end result stays the same- at least for me. Running helps clear the mind, it’s an excellent cardio workout, it helps lower blood pressure and at the same time I get to experience views like this and then turn around and share it with family and friends through a social networking site.

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