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.

Imagine what it would be like for a blind person to ski without the fear of getting lost or having to depend on someone else to go through the course. This new connected technology delivers the ultimate Connected Athlete experience. It allows people, processes and data to work together and interact with networks to monitor an athletes’ biometric performance and use this data to accurately assess the athlete’s physical condition and potential areas for improvement. For athletes with physical disabilities, this type of data-centric connectivity can provide a whole new level of experience and information.

The cloud is helping facilitate and bring this technology to life for many, with data flowing in real-time. Much like how we all rely on GPS or other map services – increasingly, cloud-based services will be used to help us become more connected to real-time information.

As the IoE evolves to connect more people, things, data and processes, the cloud is an important part of accessing and storing our experiences. The cloud creates opportunities to see and record our personal record times, best ever games and award-winning performances. Through real-time and quick-flowing data, it’s providing a new perspective on information that can ultimately help us be our best.

How can you embrace the cloud to enable better performance? Join the conversation, #CiscoCloud.

Read other examples of how cloud and big data are coming together for advanced experiences:



Kathy English

Former Cisco Global Sr. Director, Global Data Center Marketing Programs

No Longer with Cisco