January 29, 2021
Published by
Mobii Systems
The advent of timing technology in sports

If connectivity was important before 2020, it is now considered to be completely essential. Despite the lockdown restrictions and the disruption of face-to-face encounters, the Internet has allowed life to go on. 

Thanks to e-commerce, some of the largest companies in the world have thrived and small businesses are able to survive. Video conferencing apps and online resources have allowed millions of people to keep studying. Social platforms and phones have made possible for bedrooms and living rooms to turn into workout spaces. All in all, new companies have emerged to address these evolving markets and seize the new opportunities they bring.

So, what’s next? Even if there is still a long way to go before we go back to in-person interactions, most of the changes the pandemic has forced upon us will not be temporary. Therefore, companies that have emerged or grown during the pandemic need to think in the long term and invest their resources accordingly.

One of the industries that have an interesting future is sports. Large gatherings will probably be restricted at least for the next couple of years, so the cancellation of popular sports races or concerts is still expected to happen. Once social distancing restrictions ease, sports enthusiasts or concert goers will have to adapt to new offerings without sacrificing their appetite for collective, face-to-face experiences. Athletes and performers will have to prepare. 

Timing solutions might be their best bet. The approach is simple: if able to record time with precision and reliability, an ordinary event can turn into an entirely new experience. These new offerings must include a superb user experience on screen as well. Users expect to be entertained and to make the most out of their investment on a product; therefore, new timing solutions need to merge the personalization provided by personal devices with a solid performance during mass events. 

This might be a game-changer for the racing and individual sports competition industry, worth $12 billion in the United States alone according to Ibis World ¹. The industry now has an unsteady profit due to the massive cancellations that happened in 2020, but it’s core customers -active men and women aged 35 to 55- are known for their loyalty  and dedication to their sport of choice. The possibility of them spending in these activities is large once the restrictions are loosened. How can technology best engage with them?

Using drop and go solutions for timing, teams could set up a race pretty much anywhere. An updated bib could make it possible for real-time, safer races in remote areas, which is especially important for mountain biking or road running. Or, using a device that gives real-time information about race time, users could even experience the excitement of relaying with teammates across different geographies.

The promise of emerging sports wearables and management devices that are precise, cheaper and versatile can make sports events thrive again after COVID-19. It’s merely a matter of thinking outside the box –or, rather, of looking inside the existing toolbox. Timing technology is one of those tools that may help unlock the future.

¹ https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/racing-individual-sports-industry/

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