Opinion: Wearables can complement VR

05 Mar 2015

By: Sport Industry Group

Digital Consultant Jo Vertigan comments on virtual reality, wearables and haptics - now that’s an interesting future…

Yesterday an article on #CuttingEdgeSport argued very cogently that the sport industry should forget wearables and instead the year of 2015 is one of virtual reality. It’s an interesting and well supported argument but my take, based on a couple of current concept projects, is a little different.

Wearables are going to continue to grow as a major technology over the course of this year. As their utility increases I expect a larger segment of the population to be using them for a wide range of purposes, both within sport but also more broadly within the health and well-being markets.

In elite performance, such as the RBS Six Nations, companies like StatSport are already adding real time insights to an individual’s performance.

And so to virtual reality, to my mind an enormous opportunity to enhance the fans experience and take this to new locations, no longer do you especially need to be in a specific location to get a taste of the game or race. Though of course there will always be the far more wide ranging experience of actually being there.

Just imagine, however, experiencing iconic sporting moments such as Grand National in Westfield White City on that Saturday morning or feeling the g-force as you corner at Silverstone. The data collected via wearables informs us of what can be used to deepen the virtual reality experience.

It’s not that wearables and virtual reality do not have a major role in sporting engagement separately, but together they can complement each other, creating a very powerful combination.

The information gleaned from wearables can inform the virtual reality experience - even more so when you look at the development of haptics.

Though personally I am yet to be convinced of the benefit in feeling the physical experience of playing Aussie Rules - as shown by We:eX’s Alert Shirt here.

By blending these brilliant technologies together, there are limitless routes to be explored.

Time will tell.