GSP and heart rate monitoring has become the norm in sports tracking. But by adding measurements of movements as well, the tracking can go so much further. And Movesense has made the platform that makes it accessible for the masses.

This article is sponsored by Movesense – one of the partners making “Sportstech 2021” possible.

Using your watch to track route and heart rate has become the standard for top athletes and avid amateurs alike in a few short years. It doesn’t matter if you use the data to improve your training or just claim your bragging rights on your favourite sports-focused social media; tracking-wearables has become an essential part of the equipment in many sports.

But according to Movesense, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. The next paradigm shift in quantifying the sport we love will be driven by measuring our movement.

“An archer doesn’t get any useful information from GPS and heart rate is not that important for performance in archery. But knowing the rhythm of each shot, the stability before firing each arrow, etc. could be very interesting and opens new ways to optimize training and improve performance,” says Terho Lahtinen, Senior Manager of Future Concepts in Suunto, which Movesense is a part of, and adds:

“All sports are about movement, which makes measuring movement relevant to almost all sports in the world. This makes the appeal much wider than that of heart rate monitoring and GPS; Movement measurement is a real gold mine for developing new relevant sports tracking solutions.”

Terho Lahtinen, Senior Manager of Future Concepts in Suunto, which Movesense is a part of.

An open platform for wearables

Movesense has extensive experience in GPS and heart rate monitoring through Suunto sports watches. But after building their sensor for movement measurement, they realized just how much of a game changer this could be to sports tracking. Which in turn made them re-think the whole business model.

“It has the potential to become a much bigger business than what sports watches is today. Our conclusion was: This opportunity is so big, that we as a company can only scratch the surface of what’s possible. So we decided to make an open platform,” Lahtinen says.

This platform includes both the hardware needed as well as digital tools that make it easy for entrepreneurs and innovators to develop wearables that can track their favourite sport – without the heavy upfront investment in hardware development and production facilities.

“We don’t know much about volleyball, but if someone else wants to measure movements in volleyball, we give developers the tools and technology to build a dedicated solution for that. Our mission is to make the entry barrier to creating wearable solutions as low as possible,” Lahtinen says.

The depth is endless

The movement sensor from Movesense is small, durable and weighs in at less than 10 grams, which makes it attachable to the athletes’ limbs and sports equipment alike. When worn with a chest strap, it can also measure heart rate and ECG. The versatile attaching options provide a lot of new ways to track and optimize training and performance.

As a few examples, the Movesense sensor is used for studying visual perception of soccer players (attached to the head), analyzing swimming technique, as well as tracking the training of javelin throwers (with a sensor on the wrist, hip, foot and on the javelin itself).

In other words, the possibilities in this new paradigm of tracking are endless. Movesense would never be able to cover all the opportunities themselves. And for that reason, they would rather make it easy for others to utilize their technology.

“It’s a business opportunity for us, but it’s also a mission for us to make sports tracking accessible in a much wider way,” Lahtinen says and adds:

“Today, generalist fitness trackers are easily available, but solutions aimed at specific sports are often too expensive and complicated for the broader audience. We already have a number of customers working with amateur teams and individual sports participants, because with Movesense, they can provide very valuable insights at a much lower cost. I’m sure that in all sports at all levels, there are a lot of motivated athletes who want to improve their performance. And measuring is a way to find useful insights that make training more effective, no matter if it is about strength, speed, agility, reaction time, technique, or some other element of athletic performance.”