Tag Archives: Technology

6 things to consider when choosing an online booking system

14 October 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System

There is nothing worse than having willing and eager customers, only to find they have abandoned their reservation because the online booking system you use is too confusing, too long-winded or, as is the case with many out there, crashes altogether.

We have spent years finetuning our system so that it works for you- the business owner or system operator- and for your customers.

1) Is it reliable?

When choosing a booking system you want one that is first and foremost reliable- one that will deliver on every booking request. Imagine a system that crashes on one of your busiest days of service. You will miss out on many valuable bookings, lose potential customers and receive a barrage of complaints from your users. It is a risk you simply cannot afford, and neither can we.

“OpenPlay has eliminated a lot of issues we had with our previous booking system and helped improve the booking process for the customer and ourselves.”– Ben Pridham, Data & Analysis Officer, Argyle Community Trust.

2) Is it user-friendly?

“The role of genius is not to complicate the simple, but to simplify the complicated.” – Criss Jami.

Our booking software is densely complex- it has to be, in order to deliver cutting-edge multi-functions. Meanwhile, to the user (both you, the system operator, and your customers), the system is refreshingly simple. This is because we have spent years refining an intuitive piece of software that performs complicated tasks with a single click.

You, the system operator: First off is the onboarding process. We walk you through the set-up and installation process through face to face meetings, online guidance, webinars and calls. Many of our clients found that the system was so simple, that they didn’t even need our help.

“The booking system is so easy to use that we didn’t even need the staff training sessions.”– Danny Harrigan, Queens Park Rangers FC.

Once you are set up, you will have the autonomy to manage your business through your Dashboard or your OpenPlay Pocket App. These services are designed for easy use, to save you time and energy.

Your customers: There is no point in you offering restorative yoga classes if booking into the class results in spiked cortisol levels. Booking an activity or facility with you should not feel like a chore. Our process requires as few clicks as possible, delivering a streamlined, stress-free booking experience.

“It is a very time effective system. It makes it much easier for customers, they find it quick and simple to use.”– Glenn Vaughn, Director, One Touch Football.

3) Is it highly functional?

A naive person might think that a booking system has one function: to carry out bookings. Any business owner will know that it has so many more roles. A booking system will cater to a range of memberships, varied drop-in rates, discount codes, voucher options and offer automatic email reminders. It will give you, the business owner, opportunities to upsell, market and manage operations. A good booking system will offer services you never heard of and enhance your business in ways you never expected.

“The system has been incredibly valuable to our business. It has supported us to improve the operational management, significantly improve the experience for our users and is now creating real strategic value through utilising the dashboard and reporting functionality.”King’s College London.

Not only should the booking system itself offer pioneering widgets and features, but it should be able to work in tandem with other pieces of software you may be using. We are a global company, meaning that our software integrates with international payment gateways, oversees accounting systems and widgets from across the world.

“We could tell from the first demonstration how well it integrates with other websites.” – Rob Wilkinson, Director, Moving Matters UK.

4) Is it good value for money?

The tactic of some system providers is to hook you in, get you comfortable the system, only to hike the prices by 300% over a two year period. We offer a competitive price across our four package tiers. Whether you are a small studio or national sports complex, we have a package to suit your needs that will not see you out of pocket.

“OpenPlay was a system that did everything that we required it to do at an affordable price. We found that other systems were very expensive and would not have been cost-effective.”– Carly Payler-Rabess, Project Manager for Harrow Council.

5) Does it keep you in mind?

Just like you keep your customers are at the heart of everything you do, so too should your booking software provider. As a paying customer, you should receive support and feel that your system provider genuinely cares about your needs.

We value the relationship we have with each of our customers. We know each business owner individually and on a personal level. We want our customers to succeed because

“OpenPlay responds very quickly via phone or email at any time. They really take pride in helping us take and manage online booking.”– Jack Mackinnon, Access to Sport.

6) Does it have a professional front-end?

Finally, you should take into account the overall look of the system. Does it match the prestige of your website and the professionalism of your service?

Remember that while appearance is crucial, many systems offer style with little substance behind it.

“Using the OpenPlay system’s widgets which were easy to create and integrate into our website, we have seen a thorough improvement in our online booking system. It now matches the professionalism of our staff and marketing.”– Chris Broadhurst, General Manager, Soccer Stars UK.

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM): What is it and do you need a system in place?

27 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Analytics, Booking System, Marketing, Memberships, Operations, Technology

In 2018, customer relationship management (CRM) software became the leading and fastest growing software market, with a growth rate of 16%, according to research by Gartner. Worldwide, CRM software revenue reached $39.5 billion at the end of 2017, surpassing that of database management systems (DBMS). With such rapid growth, people have been given little time to get their heads around what CRM actually is. Many people use the word, sounding impressive in emails and board meetings, but frequently they confuse its meaning with more general management software. So, what exactly is CRM and should your wellbeing business use one of these highly complex systems?

What is it?

Simply put, CRM is a way to manage and improve your interactions with customers and potential customers. Sometimes it refers to a company’s theoretical strategy or process. In its most recent format, it is a software product, usually stored in the cloud, that records, reports and analyses every interaction between company and customer. It sounds very Big Brother, but it is intended to serve both the service provider and the consumer.

The Benefits of CRM

  1. Personalised marketing: CRM allows for a more personalised approach to marketing. Think of targeted ads that follow you around the internet; CRM refines this personalisation further. Customers or potential customers are only advertised to about products or events that are highly relevant to their interests.
  2. Automated sales: Salespeople cannot afford to waste time rooting through spreadsheets and notepads to remember their relationship with a customer. CRM puts this information directly onto their dashboard allowing for a much smoother and more effective pitch.
  3. Higher retention: It is proven that retention rates and member usage are directly correlated. For each additional visit by a member in any given month, the risk of that member cancelling in the subsequent month is reduced by 33%, according to research by IHRSA. With a fitness CRM system, you can monitor and reach out to inactive members who are most vulnerable to cancellation.
  4. Customers feel valued: A mother might call with a query about her daughter’s tennis group. With an efficient sports CRM system, you can quickly search her name and load every previous interaction. With the facts laid before you in your dashboard, you will be able to provide a more personalised customer support service. Member care is a journey; it evolves as your members change.
  5. Happy Birthday: Automatic birthday wishes can be sent to every client with the gift of a special offer. For many activity providers, kids’ birthday parties are a big chunk of their income. An effective CRM system could decipher appropriate clients and send a promotional email in advance of the child’s birthday.

Budget for change

CRM systems for sports typically contain vast amounts of sensitive personal data, such as customer contact information, date of birth etc. This information increases in value over time, as a customer’s profile builds up. In its very nature, CRM is prone to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) non-compliance. CRM budgets are expected to increase as companies follow GDPR procedures.

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Dubai Sports World Awards

25 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System

For the second year running, we have provided the online reservation software and booking experience for Dubai Sports World. 2018 sees the region’s largest indoor sports arena expand once again, to include gymnastics, street basketball and more; making fitness accessible to all.

Whilst DSW expands, so too does our partnership. OpenPlay’s Nikhil Obrai was in Dubai to assist with the smooth running of this year’s launch. We were delighted and honoured to be recognised at their 2018 award ceremony for our “continuous support towards Dubai Sports World.”

Since opening this May, an average of 5000 people have passed through the doors each day, all of whom have secured their slots using OpenPlay’s bespoke booking system. This number is expected to rise when Ramadan, an Islamic fasting ritual practised by the majority of the population, ends.

A staggering 46% of attendees are heading to the basketball courts, where Prestige Star Sport Academy (PSSA) is trialling young talent for an elite squad that will travel to Las Vegas for the prestigious Amateur Athletic Union Tournament.

With 25,000 metres of space and a dizzying number of bookable facilities and activities, DSW needed a booking system that could implement a host of complex features, whilst maintaining an elegant and simple front-end experience for customers. This year at DSW we premiered OpenPlay’s interactive booking maps. Created especially for the venue, the maps enable a fun, visually-stimulating booking process.

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Reducing Paper at Sports Centres

11 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Operations, Technology

Whether it’s the rising threat of global warming, the stress of sorting through mounting documents, or simply a fear of papercuts; in the age of digitisation, paper and printing products are edging towards extinction. People are discovering that printing is an unnecessary expense, with the average small business spending £14K per year, according to research by software developers Reckon. Paper and ink are just the tip of a melting iceberg; hidden beneath the surface are the costs of keeping traditional filing systems, employee time, and machine maintenance.

Switch from paper bookings to online bookings

Paper is fiddly to manage and far from secure. Storing your data through a booking system like OpenPlay means everything is in one place and nothing gets lost. More importantly, no private information can be misappropriated (GDPR alert!). Our venue management software caters to block bookings, recurring payments, voucher codes and lots more. There is no longer a need to scribble or score out mistakes. Quickly alter, cancel, or refund a reservation and issue automatic confirmations to the customer. Unlike manual paper methods, our CRM (customer relationship management) system records your client interactions, so all information is up-to-date, relevant, and personalised. Ditch the Filofax and paper spreadsheets; a quick glance at your OpenPlay dashboard tells you your facility’s usage rates, financial information, and demographic breakdown.

Digital Registers

Digital registers not only reduce your printing needs, but they are kept up-to-date. Any last minute changes to registers are instantly registered in the system, meaning that instructors have an accurate register right up to the moment they begin their class. Bookings are coordinated with registers, so you can sign attendees can sign and out via the OpenPlay app, or instructors can sign them in via the coach app. You can also add notes, such as illnesses or allergies, to a client’s name, so your coaches and staff will be automatically updated.

Read more: Eliminate single-use plastic at your gym

Implement Recycling Bins

Sometimes paper needs to be used. The polar bears will forgive you for the odd printout, but only if you print back to back and only if you recycle. Create a recycling hub behind reception and print out posters to remind employees and guests to recycle… or don’t actually. Scratch that last point.

Other ways you can help the environment…

  • If you sell plastic bottles of water, why not swap to reusable bottles and provide water fountains.
  • Switch from paper towels to hand towels or energy efficient hand dryers.
  • Perhaps instead of music for classes, you can have your coaches sing or beatbox in between instructions.
  • Ban wrapping paper from the company’s Secret Santa; it is never a surprise anyway.
  • Switch off air-conditioning/ heating. Tell clients this aids muscle recovery and hope they don’t know any better.
  • A popular environmental fitness trend straight from LA is to drain your swimming pool of water and hold mock swim classes instead. Students have found that imagining the resistance of the water means that they are not only working their muscles but also exercising their creative minds.

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Sports coaches- Is admin keeping you off the pitch?

9 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Operations, Technology

Most sports coaches enter the profession because they have a passion for the game they play. It is the smell of the grass, the feel of a ball, a glove, a racquet in their hands and the joy of passing on their enthusiasm to fresh faces. Despite this idealistic vision, many find themselves stuck inside beneath a mountain of forms, blurry-eyed from excel spreadsheets, ears ringing from relentless calls. Admin comes with the territory, but not to the extent that the majority of coaches find themselves. You can make just one simple change that eliminates up to 95% of your admin, improves the service you provide, and gets you back onto the pitch.

Switch to an online booking system

Face-to-face and telephone bookings are drawn out, expensive and much less efficient than online reservations. Someone needs to be “on call” or in the office to process bookings. Bookings not only need to be online, but they need to suit both desktop and mobile. At OpenPlay, we provide bespoke booking systems that not only increase your sales and revenue but also a detailed back-end management system featuring a host of time-saving features.

Keep track of payments

The OpenPlay system flags any unpaid invoices, so you can quickly send payment reminders. Customer fees will be processed through payment gateways such as Stripe. We integrate with world-renowned services, which are safe and secure. With less cash on site, the risk of accidental or intentional loss of funds is virtually eradicated. Online payments also sync immediately with your OpenPlay venue management system, so you no longer have to log transactions manually.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

OpenPlay’s CRM system keeps track of your interactions with clients. Each time you converse with a client, you can be confident that your information on them is up-to-date, relevant and tailored specifically to the individual. CRM adds a personal touch that clients love. It makes such a difference when you can recall your last phone call with them and immediately reference their previous queries. It lets customers know that you value them.

The OpenPlay Pocket mobile app

Even with all the technology in the world, you cannot escape admin entirely. With the OpenPlay Pocket mobile app, you can at least take this small bit of work out onto the pitch. Take payments directly through your OpenPlay Pocket mobile app. Manage your coaches and employees via the app and only grant them access to their classes. Each coach receives their own registers, so they can tick off attendees and instantly see any essential health conditions. An important safety feature OpenPlay has devised and implemented is the unique pickup code for children. When parents cannot collect their child, they digitally sign the coach’s app, granting access to another adult.

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Tech and Sports Venues: What tech will increase efficiency?

23 May 2018 openplay Leave a comment Operations, Technology

“Time is money”- So I’ll keep this brief.

Tasks that are performed by hand can be slow and filled with human error. Technology not only makes actions quicker, but can keep information regimentally categorised and constantly updated. In some cases, tech can reduce or even replace manual labour and will certainly increase efficiency. Let tech take care of tedious tasks, so you can put your energy and money into improving the customer’s experience.

Accounting Software



Let’s face it, unless you live and breathe Excel spreadsheets and number punching, doing your accounts is a pain. Xero, Sage, and QuickBooks are tools that will reduce both your paperwork and your time spent on a calculator. Their services are cloud-based, offering automatic invoice chasing and accounting from your mobile. They can be used by experts or novices and can work in tandem with an external accountant.

Online Booking System



OpenPlay provides bespoke booking systems that are specifically geared towards sports venues and activities. Our venue management software suits block bookings, recurring payments, voucher codes and more. Memberships can be managed via your dedicated members section, with integrated direct debits and invoicing. You can easily amend, cancel, or refund a booking and issue automatic confirmations to customers. Cash bookings will integrate with your OpenPlay account, enabling you to monitor your facility’s usage rates, financial information, and demographic breakdown. This leads to better scheduling and pricing plans which, in turn, results in maximised footfall and profit.

Internal Communication



Team meetings are not always possible, and emails are easily ignored. Slack offers a Watsapp style messaging service, that is designed for professional use. It streamlines communication within a company and allows for instant alerts, updates, and scheduling. The service is categorised by “channels” that you and your staff create. For instance you can create a “reception channel” that allows staff to swap shifts and keep on top of the rota. A “good reads channel” keeps your employees up to date with everything relevant to your business. With better in-house communication, goals are set quicker and employees remain on the ball.

Access Control



Gone are the days when people sign their name to enter your facilities. We have been using membership fobs and key cards to access facilities for many years now. But what about drop-in customers? Do they still have to sign a paper form? At OpenPlay we are developing an app that increases the flexibility of your access passes and decreases the queue at reception. The app automatically syncs with a customer’s OpenPlay booking, so access can be restricted to the day or even the hour of play. Not only can you adapt the time but also the area of the facility. For example someone who has booked a game of squash could get restricted access to the changing rooms and the specific court. We believe that the membership card is in its sunset years. It is only a matter of time before venues realise the potential of digital access.

Social Media Management



Buffer is a management tool for social media marketing. It links the various social platforms together in one neat hub. When trying to increase your online traffic, it is important that you post the right content at the right time. Buffer lets you schedule and queue posts days, weeks, even months in advance; helping you to increase efficiency. It realises that you may not want to post the same thing on Facebook as you do on LinkedIn, so you can tailor your posts to each platform. One of the best aspects, is that data recording is easily readable through your Buffer account. Track interactions and engagement on posts you have shared, so you can improve performance and greater understand your market.

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Technology Increasing Sports Participation?

23 May 2018 openplay Leave a comment Operations, Technology

Each year the government spends well over £300 million in attempt to get more people active. They divvy up a proportion of the cash between grassroots clubs but spend far too much on expensive marketing campaigns, research projects, and theoretical initiatives. Frequently ignored (or misunderstood), is technology; which has the ability to massively increase sports participation levels. Data is now a monetary asset. Tech companies can monitor activity trends, at no extra cost, by tracking the demographics of anonymous users. Advancements in technology have already led to financial savings in many private and national industries, including professional sports. So, why haven’t the same leaps been taken in grassroots sports?

Accessibility



Online Booking: Here at OpenPlay, we are passionate about sports participation. With our bespoke booking system, we make it easier for people to play the sports they love. We have been on both sides of the system, having found it discouragingly difficult to book a five-a-side pitch or play a friendly game of tennis. Our booking systems are bespoke to your club or activity so that every user’s booking experience is quick and streamlined.

eLearning: With the rise of Youtube and fitness blogs, training is no longer restricted to the pitch. For those who fear to be a beginner or looking bad, elearning is a gateway platform from which to spring. In the near future, virtual reality could also revolutionise a player’s at home practice.

Artificial Intelligence: These are still in the prototype stages, but ViShruti, a startup in India, are giving visually impaired people greater access to sports. Artificial Intelligence glasses allow wearers to see, through listening. It works in real time with quick data processing.

Affordability



Tech often does the work that people used to do. As tech replaces excess manpower, the price of sports activities comes down and sports participation increases. Once established, tech is an inexpensive commodity to run.

3D printing: Advancements in 3D printing will reduce the cost of made to measure equipment and apparel. It has the ability to create one-of-a-kind products at mass production prices. Whilst ordinary players will benefit from a minuscule change of design, those with disabilities will reap enormous rewards. 3D printing can tailor equipment to suit a partial limb or those with restricted movements. This may seem like a far-off reality, but already machines have printed bespoke lacrosse sticks to suit players with disabilities.

Safety



Laser: The Santander cycles now beam a green laser light in front of them. Firstly, they look cool and should be renamed the Batcycles. Secondly, they serve a very important safety purpose. The light can be seen from nearly every angle, letting drivers and pedestrians know a bike is approaching. The lasers solve the danger of “blind spots” and have been proven to increase the confidence of cyclists on the road. If only they came with helmets; they might actually be fit for purpose.

Wearables: It only takes 20 seconds of submersion for a child to drown, and one minute for adults. Aquatic Safety Concepts LLC have created a wearable sensor that measures the time of submersion and reports it to a central system, for vital, timely alerts.

Improving the experience



Wearables: Wearables allow players to track their progress and beat their previous performance. Sport is competitive by nature, so wearable devices help to engage and push participants. Wearables are becoming lighter and less clunky. They fasten to your waist, slip around your wrist, or embed themselves into the microfibres of your clothing.

Video analysis: The top players already see video analysis as a vital tool. With video now on your smartphone, every coach can record training sessions and deliver a more thorough breakdown of participants’ game.

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What is the Future of Access Control in Sports Venues?

21 March 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System

Currently many sports venues use man power to monitor who is accessing their facilities. If not a person on the door, one generally needs a a membership card, fob or access code. These are fine for members, but don’t cater to drop-in bookings. Apps are much more flexible.  They can be programmed for a specific time and date, allow one-off access, or can expire after a certain number of visits. Apps are the main line of development for recreational and entertainment industries. We had a look at the future of access control across every genre, with biometrics-based security systems being another route being explored. Our unique body traits can be used for identity purposes and are a lot harder to replicate than a signature. Not only can these developments replace access to venues, but also online logins, car keys, credit cards, and passports.

1.Apps with barcodes

Electronic ticketing has completely changed how we enter a rugby match, concert, and check in for a flight. At OpenPlay, we want to bring this technology to the humble five-a-side pitch and park tennis court. The benefit of using a barcode, is that it automatically syncs with your booking in your OpenPlay Pocket App.  App barcodes  can also be tailored to the needs of a specific venue. For example, if you’re a school with minors on the premises until 4pm, you can make sure outsider passes only activate at 4.30pm. This access can be restricted to a single pitch, multiple pitches, or to pitch and changing room. Many of the apps out there require a 3G or wifi connection at the scanning location, which isn’t always possible. OpenPlay’s access passes can be used even when your phone is offline.

2.Voice recognition

HMRC, HSBC, and Barclays are some of the first organisations to offer voice ID for telephone logins. Customers repeat the simple phrase “My voice is my password”. Frankly, we think it lacks creative pizzazz. Perhaps a line from Prince of Bel Air sung in the key of F# may have spiced up the experience? Still, a technical achievement- we’ll give them that. The system takes note of 100 or so nuances in a person’s speech and can even work if you have a cold or suddenly develop a cockney accent. There was a case where the system was fooled. BBC reporter Dan Simmons’s non-identical twin brother managed to gain access to his account by mimicking his voice. We don’t see twin theft access as a huge problem if this tech is on the side of a a tennis court gate or changing room entrance

3.Fingerprint scanning

James Bond has been doing it since 1971: it was only a matter of time before the rest of us caught up. Used worldwide on iphones, fingerprint scanning can be used to pay online or via contactless. What if someone chops off my finger to steal my court booking? Don’t fret, your backhand is safe, as the technology requires blood flow in order to work.

4.Heart-rate recognition

Can you feel my heart beating? Romantic? Maybe not, but this tech knows your heart better than any past, present or future lover can. Bionym is currently developing a product called Nymi. It is a wearable device that uses electrocardiogram to identify a user by their heartbeat pattern. It is reliable unless you have a major cardiac arrest. So don’t run too hard on the pitch or you might not be able to access the changing room. This technology seems to be moving towards mental health rather than access control. It is hoped that it will be able to measure human emotion and detect depression and other illnesses.

5.Retinal and iris recognition

Unbelievably, eye scanning is split into two categories, with retinal and iris recognition using very different technology. Retinal works much the same as vein-pattern recognition, scanning the neural cell pattern that make up the retina. Retinal scanning can help detect illnesses such as AIDS, syphilis, and leukemia. Iris identification scans the eye’s distinctive colour pattern. Iris scanning uses camera technology with infrared illumination. This technology is much easier to implement and is already being used for identifying people at border-crossings and airports.

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3D Printing: Changing the Game of Sport

24 February 2018 openplay Leave a comment Technology

2018 is the year of 3D printing. Tech enthusiasts everywhere are jiggling in their converse as 3D printing firms its grip on almost every commercial industry. When the technology first surfaced, the world had many questions. Will the machines take regular ink? Does it print everything out onto paper and then fold the pieces into a 3D structure, like printable origami? Scientists talked of printing dentures, bones, and fully functional organs for human transplant. Our minds were blown… but don’t worry: they will print better, faster, smarter minds for us. With massive industry backers such as Nike and Under Armour, 3D printing is already edging its way into the sports world…

What are the main benefits?

3D printing has the ability to customise every print. This means that products such as gum guards, protective padding, shoes, and equipment can be tailored to an individual’s exact measurements. At the moment such precise customisation is a luxury, as current manufacturing methods take significantly longer. As a result, only top athletes can afford to have bespoke apparatus made. 3D printing is exact, meaning there is no excess material that goes to waste. This saves both money and the environment and will push down the cost for consumers.

Who is using it?

3D printing is already being used to print data infused baseball bats, snowboard bindings, golf clubs, insoles, and bicycle handlebars. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are some of the first big names to utilise the technology. Nike representatives have applauded the benefits of 3D printing. As shoes become more technically advanced they require a greater number of components; thus slowing the manufacturing time. Nike, in conjunction with HP, have already printed prototypes for trainers, cooling hoods, sports bags

How will it affect the industry?

For manufacturing companies, they will save a huge amount of time during prototyping. Any tweaks that need to be made can be fixed and reprinted within a matter of hours, instead of months. Developments will also blur the line between manufacturer and consumer. As consumers are given increasing autonomy over the designs of their purchases, new markets will open. Would be customers may switch sides and tech start-ups will delve into the world of sports manufacturing.

Increasing accessibility…

3D printing has the capability to make sport more accessible, by printing equipment that caters to individual disabilities. Already, Arielle Rausin, a paralympic wheelchair-racer, has managed to 3D print bespoke racing gloves. Similarly, a student in New York: Thomas Desimone, has digitally altered and 3D printed lacrosse stick heads that suit the needs of players with disabilities.

When will we use it?

We will start to reap the benefits from 3D printing once it is scaled to reach a mass market. Only at this point will prices drop below that of the current mass production line. Here, at OpenPlay, we’re fans of all things bespoke. The ability to create products that tailor to an individual’s needs is definitely something we can get on board with.

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Best Wearable Tech for Sports Coaching

21 February 2018 openplay Leave a comment Analytics, Technology

Wearable fitness trackers saw a sharp decline in sales last year, compared with 2016. It begs the question if fitness tracking for the general public is simply a fad: a desperate Christmas purchase hoping to lower your Dad’s cholesterol, buy your girlfriend something other than jewellery (it’s technically different), or because January’s around the corner and you want to join in the 10,000 steps malarkey. It may have had its moment for the average Joe, but the technology is just starting to get into gear in the sports world. Wearables allow for accurate data tracking and reporting which is key to athletic performance. As the technology becomes smaller, lighter, and more agile, it is of greater use to athletes and coaches. Wondering what are the up and coming innovations in wearable tech? Here are our top five…

Augmented Reality glasses

AR glasses are available and in use in a multitude of genres. For sport, it is the apps developed for AR glasses that are making the biggest impact in sports training. Our favourite so far is Off-Season Sports LLC, which only launched at the end of last year. The app is designed for both tennis coaches and players. Virtual reality targets are “placed” around the court, while students aim real balls at them. The app is highly interactive and personal, recording data for post-training feedback. It has further features, such as sensory data and agility ladders. With programmes for all levels, students can move up the rungs from beginners to advanced.

Courtmatics Smart Dampener

This is technically not a wearable, as it attaches to your tennis racquet rather than your body. It is small and light, inserting into your strings like a shock absorber. Placed on your racquet, it monitors your stroke and provides feedback to improve your volley, forehand, backhand, or serve. It also detects string tension and will notify you when it’s time to change strings. Perhaps more impressively, given its location, it can also monitor footwork and track your movements around the court.

Dashtag

Dashtag is a small electronic square that is rucksacked to a football player’s back. Athletes play as normal: it is in the post match feedback sessions that the tag comes into its own. DashTag delivers FIFA style statistics straight to a player’s favourite chat platform. The Dash tracks sprints during a match or training session and gives player feedback specific to football.

Tracktics

Tracktics is similar to Dashtag, but the rectangular pack is belted around the waist. Again aimed at footballers, its main asset is that it tracks the mileage of a team. It calculates a player’s activity and speed over the course of a match and translates it into a graph. A heat map reveals how players moved around the field and whether they can improve their positioning in future.

Jawku

Jawku claims to have “killed the stopwatch”. It is a watch designed specifically to increase speed, agility, and reaction time. Mainly geared towards future Farahs, Bolts, and Radcliffes, the device links with your phone, which sits proudly at the finish line. Like other wearable tech, it provides key performance data, helping you to shave crucial seconds off your time. For agility, it provides standard tests or the option to build your own drills. Improve your reaction time off the blocks by setting the watch to audio mode. Jawku is set for release on April 1st of this year.

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