Once again, we are reminded that athletes and the sports industry lead the way when it comes to wearable tech. An article in today’s NY Times discusses Nike’s new contract with the University of Michigan and points out “a clause in the contract could, in the future, allow Nike to harvest personal data from Michigan athletes through the use of wearable technology like heart-rate monitors, GPS trackers and other devices that log myriad biological activities.”
“There’s an arms race for technology advancements,” said Camilo Lyon, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity “There’s never been a time in history in technology and athletics where the lines have blurred as much as now.” As fitness trackers have moved beyond the elite athletes and weekend warriors to the general population, the next evolution is to “smart” clothing which will lead to enhanced performance as well as more data collection. But who owns the data? The University of Michigan? Nike? As privacy issues have become paramount in the digital age, are we to worry eventually about our clothing sharing too much information?
The article states that the wearable tech industry will have an annual market of $30 billion by the end of the decade. That’s why companies like Nike and Under Armour are leaping deep into the market. There’s a lot of money to be made getting to know ourselves.