At the Crossroads of Sports and Technology

By Jerry McGlynn, CIO, Specialized Bicycle Components

Jerry McGlynn, CIO, Specialized Bicycle Components

It would be great if you could draw a picture of the current technology landscape in the Sports domain; any recent technology-news or facts that you found out very promising or revolutionizing to this space?

The current sports technology landscape is a place where a company like Specialized can have a meaningful dialog that helps riders accomplish their goals, as well as connecting riders with each other into goal oriented communities. Five years ago this was not possible, but advances in hardware and software are evolving the landscape at an incredibly fast rate. Technology will continue to evolve the space and will soon be considered “table stakes” in addition to delivering great physical products.

How do you see the benefits of cloud computing for the Sports sector, and how have you embraced it?

I see the adoption of cloud technology as well as the increased use of open APIs to be huge catalysts for the entire sports industry. The advances in both areas has enabled that meaningful dialog to take place and allow that dialog to branch into whatever direction the rider feels is important to them. The open nature of these platforms has allowed companies to experiment quickly and move solutions out to the market. However, a plethora of options now requires riders to become more knowledgeable about what solutions are important to them and what items are fancy distractions.

According to you how has Big Data revolutionized sport in unpredictable ways?

I believe the real revolution is about to come. So far most metrics/analysis solutions have come in the form of memorialized replays of a previous event. These are nice to share with friends, but the novelty can get old when compared with a technology that provides actionable feedback every time you use it. What I see coming, and what excites me is the merger between onboard technology and data science to help a rider achieve their personal goals. Coupled with cloud technology your coach and data science analyst can all reside in different cities and still provide relevant critique of performance and areas for improvement.

“Broad technical integration will be considered as much of a success factor for a product as the functionality of the product itself”

The whole world is talking about IoT nowadays where everything is connected and talks to one another. Despite the fact, very less is known or is put to practice, it’s said IoT is going to change the entire face of human-machine interaction.

Would you like to share your perspective on how you think about IoT revolutionizing your marketplace?

I think IoT is going to be bigger and broader than most people predict. The cost of sensors has continued to drop, but I feel the independent “maker” and Hack-a-thon space is going to contribute quite a bit to the growth factors we will see. Broad groups of people are coming forward and are building solutions, sharing results with peers, and modifying solutions for one sector to more rapidly solutions. However, I do believe more needs to happen across the technology sector to ensure the rapid deployment of IoT technology is properly secured and hardened and IoT providers can learn quite a bit from the desktop & networking sectors to provide more security conscience solutions.

What are some of the other technologies, you think should be adopted in the near future?

The trend will be more specific solutions and riders will demand those solutions to be integrated to other solutions to create a truly customized experience. Similar to custom apparel, riders will want to customize their objectives, and this ability to customize will go well beyond the hardcore rider. This will stretch into the person wanting to commute to work by bike easier, or simply get fit more effectively. I firmly believe that broad technical integration will be considered as much of a success factor for a product as the functionality of the product itself. I’m also very excited about following the maker space to see what un-met/disruptive needs are being developed.

With your rich experience of managing IT organization and steering technology for your enterprise, can you please share some of the unique lessons learned and your advice for fellow CIOs? How the role of a CIO has changed over all these years looking into the technology paradigm shift?

We need to manage the long tail of technology within our organizations more aggressively and keep the length of that tail within reason. I have seen many great ideas get delayed because some piece of antiquated technology needed to be worked around. Managing the long tail of technology requires constant attention and management at both a tactical and strategic level. It also requires discussion at an organization level to ensure resources are working to keep everything on a more natural timeline. If done properly, organizations will be able to accelerate our push into the future in an effective and efficient manner.

See Also :

Top Sports Tech Startups

Weekly Brief

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