Business news : No innovation in sport business without digital?

Chips in equipment, sensors in textiles, smartphone apps ... At Inosport, annual event dedicated to innovation in sport and recreation industry not imagine the future without digital.

Digital weaves its web ... including in the sports and leisure industry. At Inosport the annual meeting dedicated to innovation in this sector, held on Thursday, June 13 at Voiron (Isère), industrial demonstrated. Hard to imagine now capture new targets or upgrade without using ICT. "Digital is something absolutely crucial: it is completely part of the environment today," asserts the godfather of Pascal Morand, director of the Institute for Innovation and Competitiveness i7 event.

First, relatively easy to apply: use in services developed by industry. The example of Nike, which has placed her shoes in a connected chip, is cited as a model. "The equipment enhances its image by positioning itself as technical guarantee in the market," said Gerald Crescione, co-founder of the agency Differential Marketing. Which also receives other challenges connected objects meet in the sport. The performance measurement can be communicated on social networks, transforming the consumer "ambassador" for the brand. And also creates a direct link with the customer, getting rid of the traditional means of distribution. While gathering multitudes of data about its customers ...

Rossignol plays on social networks

Strategy deployed by Rossignol with the launch of its first application on Smartphone "Ski Pursuit" in January 2012. The Grenoble group intends to "take advantage of the interconnectivity to create a link with the consumer," announces Sylvain Noailly, vice president of marketing and business development of the ski manufacturer. With "consideration: that the consumer is willing to give some information about him, so that the relationship brings value added in time." It is therefore not surprising that the application has been downloaded over 100,000 times, is now connected to Facebook.

Still resistance to change

Innovation through ICT however rubs still resistance to change companies. Because everybody is not ready, as Rossignol, to agree not to file patents to protect its traditional applications - "it is a waste of time, then it must go always go faster," justifies Damien Hars, web marketing manager ski manufacturer. CEA Leti, Coralie Gallis, charged with accelerating the transfer of innovation to industry, must also deal with the reluctance of companies to integrate their products into its biosensors.

This innovation - to measure many physiological parameters and make tissues or medical devices "smart" - she meets a sufficient market, ask the manufacturers? Some, such as the manufacturer of dressings Urgo, nevertheless took the risk, knowing that such a partnership would allow them to differentiate themselves even more in their market. The more cautious wait probably next creation Primo 1D - spin-off from CEA Leti dedicated to the integration of LED and RFID chips in textiles, to verify the authenticity of a brand for example - to get started.

A pool of innovation through the digital

But, in the Rhône-Alpes area more than elsewhere, industrial sport and leisure are no longer alone to innovate through the digital. They have in effect using clusters and Minalogic Techtera (dedicated to textiles and flexible materials, which makes ICT embedded in textiles a priority), or cluster Sporaltec specializing in innovation .

No wonder, therefore, that the company Cityzen Sciences, specializing in textiles connected, has managed to mount the Smart Sensing project. Supported by a public-private consortium of electronics specialists, sports or textiles, it aims to miniaturize physiological sensors and motion in order to fit into the clothes. AS Saint Etienne and Stade Toulousain have already agreed to play guinea pigs. We can not wait to see the result ...

Gaëlle Fleitour in Voiron through usine-digitale.fr

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