One of the stand-out trends at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was for IT companies and sports brands to partner on tech-driven sport and fitness projects.
These ranged from innovative, future-facing experiments to new product launches.
Amoung three of the highest profile partnerships unveiled at CES 2016 were HTC and Under Armour’s ‘Health Box’ connected life fitness system,
New Balance and Intel’s new AndroidWear runners smart watch
and the three-way tie-in between ESPN, Red Bull Media House and Intel to use the latter’s Curie wearable technology to track live athlete performance data and provide real-time feedback and content.
Of these big name partnerships, it is perhaps this latter collaboration that generated the most immediate buzz at CES (perhaps because of the reach of its media partnerships).
The giant US sports broadcaster ESPN is working with Red Bull’s Media House (the energy drink’s multi-platform media company that focuses on sports, culture, and lifestyle) are working with Intel to use its Curie technology in two simultaneous ways: first to monitor live sports data and use it to help coaches and athlete’s optimise and enhance performance in real-time (or over a period of time) and second to embed the live data feed into media content.
Thus the underlying objective is to enhance sports performance and make it more engaging, relatable and entertaining for audiences through on-screen, high-impact live performance statistics and graphics.
The system monitors sports performance data streams such as speed, distance, height, movement, angles, force, velocity and torque to record greater insight.
At the joint CES presentation, Red Bull Media House explained it would use the partnership to integrate data into its content creation process and used free runner and athlete endorser Jason Paul to demonstrate how the partnership plays out.
The event presentation was illustrated with a Red Bull / Intel video.
During the CES presentation, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Red Bull Media House CTO Andi Gall and free runner Jason Paul demonstrated the Curie technology live on the stage.
Attendees saw the system’s precise calculations of the runner’s body angle, rotation, hang time, landing force and spin used to help the athlete fine tune his moves to perform new tricks.
While ESPN announced it would debut the technology during its X Games snowboarding coverage at Aspen 2016 (specifically during coverage of the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle and Men’s Snowboard Big Air competitions).
‘There is a rapidly growing role for technology that is at once transformative, unprecedented and accessible,’ outlined Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
‘With people choosing experiences over products more than ever before, Intel technology is a catalyst to making amazing new experiences possible, and ultimately improving the world in which we live.’
These partnerships, particularly Intel’s innovations, are bringing the next level of technology to the transformative tracking trend that kicked off around four or five years ago.
But they weren’t the only Intel innovations unveiled at the conference.
Intel also used CES to tease its music-tech creative partnership with Lady Gaga that forms the heart of its activation for the Grammys 2016 (see case study).
To recap all of Intel’s CES partnerships and announcements see the following film.
Red Bull Media House Release:
Red Bull Media House Ingrates Intel Curie #CES2016 | Intel
Under Armour & IBM Watson:
Under Armour’s UAHealthBox (connected fitness system):