Having conquered the fitness tracking game, Fitbit is now looking to make a name for itself in youth sports tracking. It has patented a system that could be used to monitor youth soccer, football, baseball, ice hockey, floor hockey, inline hockey, rugby, lacrosse and more in real-time.
This is according to filing US 20220046089 A1. It was submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office on February 10th, 2022 (via). The patent suggests the system could be used to enable parents stay on top of the action from the comfort of their home.
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The idea here is to create something that would pull data from a network of connected devices. The information would be analyzed and collated by an online portal that would be accessible to a wide network of fans through the cloud. Sources of info would include notes of events during the game from spectators and coaches (via smartphones, laptops, smartwatches, etc), along with more high-tech means such as cameras built into spectator’s smart glasses recording the moment a goal was scored.
The online server would keep tabs on the action. It would put together team and player statistics, along with play-by-play real-time coverage. For example, for a hockey game this could include things such as faceoffs, shots, goals, penalties, time change, period change, a stoppage of play and much more. This info could also be used to automatically update the scoreboard at the game.
If the portal receives conflicting information from differing sources, it could send a request to clarify the discrepancy through a system of upvotes. The information would be corrected based on the majority response.
Potentially, this could also be used to send videos and photos through the communication system. Considering that most youth sports are not televised, it would create the next best thing.
The potential revenue source is big
Youth sports is a big market. This includes everything, from organized sports leagues to amateur activities. According to statistics, the youth sports industry in the US was valued at over 19 billion dollars in 2019. That’s bigger than the size of the $15bn NFL! Projections are that the value of the US sports market in the US will top $70bn in the next four years.
All of this means there’s lots of potential here for a wearable tech company in a time when many brands are looking for alternative sources of income. Now that it has the backing of Google, Fitbit can set its sights beyond wearable tech.
Whether the company is just looking to create a system to collate data or is planning to supplement this with a network of its own connected devices remains to be seen. Of course, this is just a patent so it is not definite it will make it into the real world. Lots of products remain in the patent stage never seeing the light of day. Regardless, it is interesting that Fitbit is looking in this direction as it is quite different from the market it has been involved in so far.
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