What is the Internet of Things (IoTs) and its implications for Sports Organisations? (Blog 1)

23 May 2023 | Written by Andy Nutting

Andy Nutting, Information Governance Manager at Veritau, has released his first blog post from his latest series, which looks at how the Internet of Things (IoTs) are transforming how we use everyday objects and how this is affecting the sports industry.


So, there’s been a lot of talk about the Internet of Things (IoTs) over the last few years and its impact on everything from the way we travel and do our shopping to the way manufacturers keep track of inventory.

What is the IoTs?

Basically, the IoTs is the concept of connecting any device to the Internet and to other connected devices. In other words, the IoTs is a giant network of connected things and people – all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.

That includes a wide range of objects – from self-driving cars, whose complex sensors detect objects in their path, to wearable fitness devices that measure your heart rate and the number of steps you’ve taken that day.

There are even connected footballs that can track how far and fast they are thrown and record those statistics via an app for future training purposes.

Some say that IoTs have become the most important technologies of the 21st Century, connecting everyday objects such as kitchen appliances, thermostats, and baby monitors to the internet via embedded devices.

How does it work?

An IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded systems, such as processors, sensors, communication hardware, to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments.

IoT devices share the sensor data they collect by connecting to an IoT gateway where data is either sent to the cloud to be analysed or analysed locally. Sometimes these devices communicate with other related devices and act on the information they get from one another.

The devices do most of the work without human intervention, although people can interact with the devices – for instance, to set them up, give them instructions or access the data.

The connectivity, networking, and communications protocols used with these web-enabled devices largely depend on the specific IoT applications deployed.

IoT can make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to aid in making data collecting processes easier and more dynamic.

The number of connected devices is expected to reach 27 billion by 2025. No doubt you will encounter an IoT device before then if you haven’t already.

So, to help us understand how connected we really are, let’s look at examples of IoT and the companies behind them.

Examples of IoT

Here’s a company that probably everyone has heard of by now – Tesla.

And whilst Tesla is known for making strides with electric vehicles, connectivity plays a big part in Tesla’s cars too.

All cars come with connectivity features that provide access to features through Wi-Fi only, in addition to basic maps, navigation and music streaming. Tesla also give drivers the option to connect to their vehicle through the Tesla app, which can access the vehicle’s charging history and climate controls and be used to schedule service and roadside assistance.

Tovala pairs its smart ovens with a meal-kit delivery subscription service with the goal of providing users with effortless, mess-free way to cook food.

Tovalas smart ovens work by scanning QR or bar codes and connecting Wi-Fi, which it then uses to determine the best temperature and time to cook the food to avoid undercooking or burning.

As for the sports industry, well 3L Labs has developed a fitness tracking device that aims to detect health problems early on through smart footwear.

The smart shoes make use of biometric data gathered from the athlete to send suggestions on how to improve gait, diagnose potential diseases, and improve athletic performance.

It has eight sensors paired with one accelerometer to aid in recording the athlete’s exercise habits. The smart shoes can also help with patient rehabilitation, particularly for spinal or nervous system concerns, and can be used to spot early symptoms of arthritis and dementia as well.

Babolat has a smart racket equipped with a piezoelectric sensor affixed to the handle to measure changes in pressure, acceleration, strain, or force by converting them to an electrical charge.

Armed with this hardware and Babolat’s algorithms, the racket keeps track of how many forehands, backhand, serves, and overheads the player hits as well as the amount of racket speed being generated. The motion of the racket is analysed to tell whether the player is hitting slice, topspin, or flat strokes.

The racket also uses vibration feedback to indicate where on the string bed the player has contacted the ball.

Babolat’s racket is not the only piece of sports equipment with enabled smart technology and the smart sports equipment market size is expected to be valued at over £9.5 billion by 2026.

Whether it’s a basketball, baseball bat, golf club or helmet, sports equipment enabled with wireless IoTs sensors are helping athletes and coaches to monitor, track, analyse, and improve performance as well as provide enhanced health and safety.

In my next edition I’ll take a look at how IoTs are transforming sports stadiums, and how it is changing fans experience whilst sat in the stadium. I’ll also be looking at how IoTs are revolutionising sports clothing and accessories.


If you’d like support managing your organisation’s data, our team can help.

You can keep up to date with Andy’s blogs on his LinkedIn profile.