ANALYTICS IN SOCCER SPECIAL
ANALYTICS IN FOOTBALL
Letter From The Editor Welcome to this issue of Sports Performance & Tech. As the Premier League in England comes to a close for another season and we look forward to the World Cup in Brazil, we thought it would be a great opportunity to look at the ways in which analytics are being used in soccer. There is controversy around the world surrounding the use of new technologies in football, but as commonly found, we are seeing that benefits are outweighing the drawbacks. The number of mistakes both on and off the field that could be solved through the use of new technologies and techniques are creating compelling arguments for the introduction of these technologies. On the pitch, we are seeing that the most successful managers are the ones who have adapted analytics and deep dive data to make tactical decisions based on more that just what their opponents have done in their previous match. Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino, for instance are two advocates of this kind of preparation.
a part in gambling in football. Companies such as Bloomberg sport are putting together models to allow for predictions to be made on the outcome of matches, tournaments and leagues. The truth about these is that although they are currently roughly accurate, their true strengths lie in that fact that, as they gather more information they become more accurate. This could lead to millions of variables being available to make anomalous results very difficult to predict. As always, if you like the magazine please share it. It was created to spread ideas and if you think there is something in here that somebody else would find interesting please send it along to them. If you have any questions or feedback please contact me at email@example.com
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Contributors: William Tubbs David Barton Richard Angus William Tubbs Neville Gaunt Dr. Claire Mills General Enquiries:
Neville Gaunt looks at how athletes should be preparing themselves mentally
Is the Premier League ready for a more widepsread use of analytics? We investigate
P. 20 David Barton looks at the Misfit Shine, is this the first truly wearable fitness band?
William Tubbs looks at the new Garmin Vivofit, Garminâ€™s first move into the wearable technology arena
Dr. Claire Mills gives us an insight into how she utilises Full Body Composition in sports science
As we head towards to World Cup in Brazil, Richard Angus looks at whether analytics can predict the winner
We look at the new Nike Fuelband SE, is the second generation an improvement on the first?
Fly 6 is hitting headlines around the world as a discreet cycling camera, does it live up to expectations?
Improving Performance, Where to Start? Neville Gaunt CEO, Mindfit
When it comes to improving your performance there is a tendency to dive in and do things differently. Or is there? Perhaps just saying the word ‘differently’ will spark a new idea for you to try? The fact is that many people think that by practicing the same thing, the same way, they will get a better result. And interestingly enough it just might work, but if it does, it will only be to a point. Play more golf, go on the driving range more often or visit the gym more frequently will give you more muscle memory and you’ll get better. But if you want real improvement and more enjoyment, take a slice out of your golf game, build both biceps equally, be more proficient in your swimming stroke, it’s what you change and do differently that will make the difference. Of course, if you’ve read articles about Mind Fitness you’ll know it’s always your choice, but you have to do things differently because if you do more of the same thing and expect a different result then that is the definition of insanity – at least according to Einstein.
As an aside - I say great coach because there are lots of coaches that should really call themselves trainers, because they are not really coaching you. Coaching is a whole different issue and not one for this article. A great coach however wouldn’t say anything at first. They would watch what you do – how you approach it, how you do it, what mindset you have aswell as a whole host of other things. They do this because a sports coach, like any other coach, applies the same fundamental principles behind great coaching - ‘raising your awareness to generate you taking responsibility and action’. So let’s split that up and just look at the first part – raising your awareness. Raising Awareness Raising awareness sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? And it is - because raising your awareness is only about 3 things and applies to everything you are doing in sport, business, family or social life. The 3 levels of awareness are: Yourself; Your Environment and other People. Without all 3 working together you aren’t aware.
So let’s assume you’re going to do things differently, where do you start? Because you’re active and keen to improve as said above, you will likely just plough in and do something. Nothing wrong with doing things, but what do you do first? Assuming Take a simple every you were a great coach, what day event most of us would you say? do, sitting in a car waiting
for a red traffic light to change to green. Now it’s not about you, as you’re sat there in the driver’s seat waiting, unless you’re chatting to a passenger in which case it’s already turned green and the impatient person behind has hit their horn. There are triggers in the environment and other peoples’ actions that some drivers will be more aware of than others. Pedestrians speed up or stop walking across your lane, the other lights change to amber, a bus engine increases its revs and all these are signals pointing to a change. If you were a taxi driver where getting ahead of the traffic was important, you’d be highly
aware of yourself, your environment and others. If you’re a cyclist you may be doing the same, even if you didn’t know you were doing it. Top athletes will know all about these triggers and what being aware can do for them. Whether it’s the marathon, 10,000 metres or 100 metres an athlete needs to be aware of the 3 things mentioned throughout their performance. Usain Bolt’s awareness changes throughout his short sprint through every stride in the 100m. He knows if he’s not completely aware he won’t do his best. And if he does his best, on that day, he might win. At the start of the race he’s waiting for the Starter to say ‘Set’ and he blocks out everything around him to focus, hear and anticipate the ‘B’ of the ‘BANG’ from the gun, knowing if he hears the ‘G’ he’s not got the optimum start. For him it could be the difference between winning and losing. The added importance of raising awareness With the example of Usain Bolt I hope it’s becoming clear that before you do anything else to improve your performance, the starting point is your awareness. In fact the science behind the process is improving 4 global strengths that we call the Feedback Loop : • Awareness • Control • Focus • Feedback
They are innovative perceptual cognitive enhancement training systems developed by world renowned Neurophysicist’s, Neurotracker, for instance, was originally designed to help those suffering from ADHD and Alzheimers, but has now developed to help athletes, business In everything you do, if you use executives and even the US this Feedback Loop it will im- Special Forces. prove your awareness and hence The brain is very malleable and what is known as “Neuroplastiimprove your performance. It may not be too surprising that city” (the ability of the brain to we are always looking for other adapt to new demands) is still tools or products that can im- present in the young, damaged prove any one of these global or older brain. Products like NeuroTracker use unique neustrengths. rophysics methodology to train The Rise of the Gadgets perceptual-cognitive processes We still look for gadgets that in order to: help our feedback loop. Not all • Build new and reinof the gadgets, tools or products force old neural circuits we see or use have to be hi-tech rebuild but in this digital age you don’t • Help damaged neural cirhave to look far to find them. cuits The rise of the gadgets has only Help to Build been made possible because of • this new world of Big Data and c o m p e n s a t o r y circuits the ability to process informa- neural tion that both the business and for higher visual sports sectors can benefit from. analysis Most of the sports tech products Through instant to help you improve have a very feedback trainspecific use, focused on a spe- ing, individuals cific sport so it’s rare to see one will be able to that has versatility and impact improve their susthat products like NeuroTracker tained attention, avoiding lapses have already demonstrated. and distractions. What do these products do? This will have a diPut simply they train your brain rect effect on everyto improve on quicker response, day functions, driving focus, attention and awareness. and sports or any other performance. Awareness is again the starting point. Common sense really because if you don’t know what you are doing, how do you know what to do to improve? Now you can make it more complicated if you like, but if you make this common sense your common practice you will start to improve.
How it works
been better. Above all be honest 8 coloured objects appear on a and don’t make excuses – if you 3D screen. 4 change colour for have gadgets that show you, a few seconds and then change start believing them. Only you back to their original colour. and your team mates will really The task is to track the 4 (that know – but you have to think. changed colour) as they move in a 3D plane for 20 seconds. At the end the participant chooses the 4 that they believe changed colour. This is repeated a number of times to get a base line. The exercise is first conducted whilst seated and as athletes become more adept they stand up and then introduce other variables. At every level the objects can change speed to find an optimum performance level. Imagine now you get an injury, either to the head or to any other part of the body. By taking the tests again you will be able to see the impact of the injury on your brain’s performance as your new optimum base line will be lower and giving you a measurement of the impact of your injury. Raise your own awareness to improve your performance Whilst gadgets like NeuroTracker may become the must have sports trainer, executive gadget or educational aid, you can do a lot to improve your awareness and hence your performance with or without the gadgets you already have. Why not start today and think about your last sporting experience – how you prepared for it, what went well, what could have
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Body Composition Analysis
Body Composition Analysis Dr. Claire Mills Senior Lecturer, University of Gloucestershire
Body Composition Analysis
Shane Duff, who previously captained Cheltenham Town Football Club, was perched on a swing-like seat which was being lowered in to a well of water, deep inside an exercise laboratory at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus. To the casual observer, the apparatus has the semblance of a medieval ducking stool, but
Senior Lecturer Dr Claire Mills reassures Shane that the painless process would only take a few minutes and is an essential part of the body composition analysis that she is undertaking. Claire is using the hydrostatic weighing tank, to give it its full name, in order to measure Shane’s whole body density. This is just one of the techniques that Claire uses in her work with the Cheltenham Town team to provide essential data on the body composition of the professional players. So just what is body composition? Claire, who undertook a PhD in the subject, explains more fully: “Body composition is not just about body fat, it is much more detailed than that. We can analyse levels and quantities of fat free mass, fat mass, body volume and body density. Unfortunately a lot of people are aware of the obesity epidemic and jump onto that bandwagon and think it is all about how much extra fat we are carrying. Commercial gyms regularly measure body fat levels through less accurate equipment and some that rely on electrical currents. For me, those measurements are absolutely flawed for an athlete because they do not take into account fat free mass or muscle. All you need to be doing is drinking a cup of tea or water and it will throw all the measurements out completely. With elite level athletes, I focus on their entire composition such as, body fat dis-
Body Composition Analysis
tribution, physique and how they’re structured, in terms of muscle and fat, by measuring the muscle girths, breadth and width of bones and the subcutaneous fat that they’re carrying just under the surface of the skin. Claire explains how the technique of dunking in the hydrostatic tank can give her vital information about Shane’s body composition. “With whole body density, muscle weighs heavier than fat so when you saw Shane in the tank he was actually sinking quite a lot because he’s actually very muscular. Someone who has a greater level of body fat will have a tendency to float to the surface, so with this measurement I can determine how much they weigh under water and then calculate their whole body density.”
breadths, depths and widths, that’s taken throughout the body, explains Claire”. Thirdly, the BodPod, weighing in at a hefty £35,000 is the latest piece of technology that Claire uses to make her measurements, using air displacement methods. “It uses a process identical to that The tank is one of the three key of water displacement, where methods that Claire applies to for example, you have a full create sound body composi- bucket of water and once a brick tion analysis. The second is per- or heavy object is put in, water haps familiar to anyone who has overflows. The BodPod uses this signed up to a fitness analysis at method, but instead of water it a gym, although the methodolo- determines the air that is disgy applied is far more detailed. placed and then calculates body “For anthropometric measure- volume.” ments, we take a measurement “I’ve worked with a wide range of of body fat just under the sur- elite athletes including tri-athface of the skin with a skinfold letes, cyclists, gymnasts, kick caliper. We also use a meas- boxers, hammer throwers and uring tape and anthropome- professional rugby clubs, but I ter for muscle and bone girths, have predominately work with
Body Composition Analysis
professional football clubs. These clubs come to the University of Gloucestershire to be tested in a range of fitness parameters. When I’ve compiled all the results I’ll feedback all the results and give them a more in-depth analysis of each athlete/player. “It could be that we identify for example, six players that are carrying extra fat mass around the abdominal region and so the team’s coaches/trainers will carry out extra strength and conditioning work to trim them up. Or it could be that they need to do a specific type of stretching to improve certain flexibility tests they’re doing, so it all really depends on what we’ve identified. Most football clubs have sport science support these days, unfortunately body composition is often overlooked and in some instanc-
es, not seen by some as being an area of importance”. Claire’s research has a very practical application that can impact on the players’ performance. For instance it can help to (i) quantify the important characteristics of body composition; (ii) diagnose players’ strengths and weaknesses, (iii) customize training programmes for specific positions/roles within a team; (iv) track changes in a players body composition and (v) provide information about the health status of players. “With my research, I have collected data on over 300 FIFA registered contracted professional footballers, from eight football clubs that represented Barclays Premiership through to Blue Square Premier Leagues during three playing seasons. I like to think that I’m at the cutting edge of sport science research because previous football research has only focused on a squad or a range of 50-100 players. With my data, I developed new calibration models to estimate whole body density that will inevitably provide me with the best way to analyse professional footballers with more authority.” And Shane’s verdict after emerging from the hydrostatic tank? “I’d say that we’re very lucky to have this facility local to us. The club is really, really grateful to Claire and the University for being able to use the facilities available.”
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Analytics in the Premier League
Is the Premier League Ready For Analytics? Simon Barton Assistant Editor
mooinblack / Shutterstock.com
Analytics in the Premier League
In response to a question on his thoughts about whether data can play an influential role in sport, Billy Beane, general manager at Oakland’s A said; "The idea that I should trust my eyes more than the stats, I don't buy that because I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know that the rabbit's not in there." This encapsulates one side of what has become a divide within sport’s elite. The other side are against data and feel that it has the capacity to damage intuition and expression within sports. Whereas data was once the domain for major US sports like Basketball and Baseball, it seems that soccer has finally caught up. The English Premier League, according to Forbes, is the second most valuable league in the world, with revenues in the region of £2.3 Billion (in 2011/12, with revenues expected to have increased in the past 2 years) and has experienced something of a data revolution recently. All 20 Premier League teams employ data analysts, all of whom play an integral role in pre-match preparation, post match debriefs and identifying suitable transfer targets. Evidently, these analysts are an important tool for managers and allow them to take advantage of every morsel of information at their disposal. Currently, Manchester City employs 11 data analysts, but with revenues of £271 million, they have a Kostas Koutsaftikis / Shutterstock.com
Analytics in the Premier League
significant amount of capital for nology, man-power and time that Manchester City, Manchesthis kind of work. So is there money there for ana- ter United, Liverpool and Chelsea can spend is far in excess of lytical work? some of the relegation threatFor the big clubs, yes, there is ened sides. an abundance of cash to throw at data and analytics, but for Money is not the only issue here. clubs outside the top tier, money Some just aren’t supportive of is not so readily available. This analytics and don’t see it as a was illustrated most vividly in viable method for winning foot2013, when the Premier League ball matches. Former Tottensigned a three-year deal for 5.5 ham manager, Harry Redknapp billion pounds and the Football has reported that he once League (constituting every club turned to a data analyst after outside of the EPL) signed a losing a match and said; "I'll tell similar contract but for only 195 you what, next week, why don't million. Wealth disparity is rife we get your computer to play and has the potential to scupper against their computer and see widespread data implementa- who wins?” A theme that often tion. A major criticism that has been crops up as the levelled at the English Football main deterrent Association is the gap in quality for analytics is the between the EPL and the foot- unpredictability of ball league. Within two seasons, the game and that 54% of promoted sides are rel- its adoption into football, by viregated back to the second tier. tue of its unpredictable nature, Even if a club performs well in cannot be as successful as say its first season, there is the likeli- baseball which is more set play hood that a ‘second season syn- orientated. drome’ will occur, where a pro- From the neutrals perspecmoted club drops 4.2 places on tive, the loss of unpredicatability would be detrimental to the average. This slump in form is often a league’s entertainment factor. mixture of financial issues, Since his return to Chelsea FC where their best players are from Real Madrid, Jose Moursold or where they fail to go into inho has been subjected to the transfer market and im- criticism due to his overly tactiprove their squad due to a lack cal preparations. He has been of funds. There is a chance that accused of being overly data could exaggerate this gap. meticulous with data, Even if data analysts are work- tactics and game deing in all 20 EPL clubs, the tech- preparation, ciphering how his
mooinblack / Shutterstock.com
Analytics in the Premier League
teams can take advantage of weaknesses, which on the surface seem to be non-existent. Accusations of playing football as it were a game of chess is all well and good if results are all that matter, but at what cost to entertainment?
every Bayern Munich player was going to place his penalty. The truth was, he did.
In fact he had studied data in relation to every penalty that Munich had taken since 2007. He guessed the direction of the ball each time in the 2012 final and There have also been echoes of made the winning save against disproval that by relying on data Bastain Schweinsteiger. Examtoo much, it leads to reactive ples like this show that data can tactics instead of proactive give teams a competitive adtactics. By concentrating vantage, and if used correctly, on what your opponent is can be the difference between going to do, it prohib- winning and losing. its you from playing Premier League titles have also the way you want been decided by data. In the reto. We could markable 2011/2012 campaign find ourselves in which Manchester City won w a t c h i n g the title on goal difference, Robstand-offs erto Mancini used data to come b e t w e e n to the conclusion that in swingclubs who are ing corners were far more danonly prepared to gerous than out swingers. After combat what their this, he utilised this tactic on a opponent is likely to regular basis, scoring 15 goals in bring at them. This the process. The most decisive is probably an ex- coming from Vincent Kompany treme example but nev- against Manchester United in a ertheless an interesting 1-0 victory. thought. A club’s success in the transPenalties are an aspect fer market could also be afof football that do not fected by its openness to data. conform to the ‘fluidity’ With UEFA finally enforcing its theme. In fact, they have Financial Fair Play legislation been a hotbed of inter- there will be a real need to buy est for mathematicians astutely. Manchester City have because of their abili- spent without consideration of ty to be applied to game these new rules and are now theory. Data crunching un- likely to face substantial fines doubtedly played an imperative and European restrictions (at role in Chelsea’s 2012 Champi- publishing this number sits at a ons League victory. It seemed as £49 million fine and 16% reducif Petr Cech knew exactly where tion in squad size for European mooinblack / Shutterstock.com
Analytics in inthe the Analytics Premier League Premier League
competitions). Data can be used to find attributes that go beyond goals scored, it can help managers identify the exact player needed for their team. These insights could negate any potential transfer flops. It all comes back to this divide as to the efficient use of data, some swear by it, some don’t. How much can it actually predict and what can managers actually translate into tactical insight? Who could have predicted Manchester United’s demise this season? Bloomberg and Opta certainly didn’t (they were tipped to finish third) or Crystal Palace’s miraculous recovery? There is a lot that goes on which data can’t really play much of a role in, but to ignore it completely would be foolish. The two examples I have mentioned before show that data can be a game changer and propel a club to glory. For the smaller clubs, it may well be a case of do or die, because you can be sure that England’s richest clubs will be looking for any angle in their pursuit of domestic and European success.
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Predicting the World Cup
Can Analytics Predict The World Cup Winner? Richard Angus Sports Analytics Leader
Celso Pupo / Shutterstock.com
Predicting the World Cup
In 1977, fresh from his first year of retirement, Pele made his now infamous prediction that an African team would lift the World Cup by 2000. So far, this has yet to come to fruition, but it’s fair to say that Pele’s prediction has never been given the platform to actually happen. There are real reasons for African and North American countries to feel hard done by. The notion that there is a degree of bias skewed towards European and South American nations stems from the unbalanced weight FIFA places on matches featuring countries from those continents. Matches between African and North American nations carry less ranking points, which means that when the World Cup comes around they are unseeded and are more likely to face difficult opposition.
the tournament, it is probable their chances of winning would be far higher than 1.2% as their draw would have been far more favourable. Greece are a footballing nation that would have confused any data analyst during their Euro 2004 campaign. They were in Pot 4 (where the weakest teams are put) and in terms of historical data, had one appearance in 1980 where they failed to register a victory, scoring only one goal in the process. Surely then a cert for first round elimination? They won Euro 2004, a result which on the face of it, flies in
Going into the World Cup in Brazil this Euro-South American stranglehold is unlikely to be loosened. Brazil go in as clear favourites with Bloomberg analytics giving them a 22.1% chance of being champions. Mexico are deemed the most likely team to win outside of European and South American teams, but with a paltry 1.2%, they’re less fancied than European teams like Greece, who are considered one of the weakest European sides in the tournament. If the FIFA rankings were not so biased, and sides like Mexico were seeded for Rui Alexandre Araujo / Shutterstock.com
Predicting the World Cup
the face of analytics as a tool for prediction. However, The World Cup in Brazil marks the first occasion where fans are looking to data and projection tools like Bloomberg’s as a way of fostering debate. Bloomberg’s predictions are incredibly thorough, they simulate every possible match 100,000 times so that any potential ambiguity is negated. In reality, for every unpredictable victor like Greece at Euro 2004, there are incredibly predictable tournaments that go the way of data and the bookmakers – this was clearly the case with Spain in the last world cup, who went into the tournament as clear favourites. Glance over the history books and it becomes clear that home continent advantage plays an imperative role. There is data to back this up – Harvard University Researcher, Ryan Boyko, studied 5,000 Premier League matches and found that for every extra 10,000 people in the crowd, the home team scores on average 0.1 extra goals per game. Clearly this advantage could be heightened if a team has an entire nation behind them. In the same report, there was data to show that referees make more penalty calls in favour of the home team. This probably occurred due to the Matt Trommer / Shutterstock.com
Predicting the World Cup
referees being intimidated by home crowds. This pressure will only be exaggerated for the host of a World Cup – a notion that was arguably most visible in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, where South Korea progressed to the semi-final under rather dubious circumstances, with a number of referees disallowing opposition goals and awarding questionable penalties to the hosts. When these factors merge, it becomes quite clear that predicting a Brazilian victory is understandable and Bloomb-
Vlad1988 / Shutterstock.com
erg’s Brazil v Spain final pre- Any projections looking at the diction seems perfectly viable World Cup are certainly based as a projection. upon sophisticated models Analytics aside, there are so that should give us a fairly acmany caveats that have the curate prediction of how the capacity to damage a team’s tournament will unfold. As the chances. Luck is also essential, world’s most exciting sportespecially over a short format ing event looms ever nearer, tournament, and could quite we get ever closer to finding feasibly see a less talented out how accurate data can side than Spain or Brazil win. be. Whether it can predict the This could be the only way winner of the World Cup reout for American and Afri- mains to be seen, but chances can sides who are continual- are, Bloomberg’s prediction ly given unfavourable draws won’t be far out. through the weighting on the FIFA rankings.
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Review: Misfit Shine
David Barton Sports Technology Leader
It can also be worn in a variety of ways, which puts it above other activity trackers purely in terms of practicality, let alone the aesthetic value that it has. It comes with a strong magnetic ‘clip’ that means that it isn’t something that needs to be worn on the wrist, much like other rivals. I am an avid cyclist and with othThe main aspects that set these er trackers, this kind of exercise items apart were the interface is missed, with the clip I can very once the data had been re- quickly and easily transfer the corded. The basis behind these shine from my wrist to my cleats meant that they were never and it will record my exercise aclikely to make the mainstream, curately. although not necessarily ugly, Another strong feature of the they were at the same time nei- Shine is the sleep tracking. On ther subtle or beautiful enough most other activity trackers, to become as popular as they this is turned on through a combination of button presses could have been. This is why the rise in wearable or taps. On the Shine, it is turned technologies has been so excit- on through simply ing for us, the move to not only p u t t i n g When this magazine began just over a year ago, the wearable technology market was in its infancy. There were a few names on the market who were blazing forward, most notably Fitbit, Nike and Jawbone. The differences between the products were minimal and there was little to distinguish between them.
be a functional product, but a viable product to wear. I believe that the first product to have truly achieve this is the Misfit Shine. One of the overwhelming reactions that I have had to it isn’t ‘what is that on your wrist’ but ‘why are you wearing two watches?’.
The fact that people do not associate it instantly with a fitness tracker is testament to the level of detail that has gone into the design. It manages to be simple, small and effective without the bulkiness that is associated with most fitness trackers.
your head on the pillow. The device picks up automatically when you have fallen asleep and the tracking of your sleeping patterns occurs without the need to actually remember it. In addition to this, the usability of the app to visualise the data is very simple to use and allows you to have a quick glance or more in depth analysis of what you have been doing. Unlike others that have added more and more features, this has kept it simple and elegant allowing for quick analysis of all of the data you would want to see. Another aspect of the Shine that I particularly liked was the battery. Most other wearables require a charge about once per week, which not only means finding somewhere to charge the device, but also the size of the device increasing due to the need for charging. What the shine does is utilise watch batteries, which are already designed to fit well in wearable objects. This means that the size can be kept down and that it can be worn like a watch; it never needs to be taken off. In summary, I believe that the Misfit shine is currently the best fitness tracker on the market. Coming in at only ÂŁ72 it is also very competitively priced. In short, Shine has got it right, making wearable activity trackers genuinely wearable.
Review: Nike Fuelband SE George Hill Managing Editor
One of the first products that we reviewed in Sports Performance & Tech was the original Nike Fuelband. At the time it was competing against two other major competitors, Jawbone and Fitbit.
stays the same, the majority of the transitions happening through the single button on the bracelets. You can flick through, steps, time and fuel. You can also press the button multiple times to start a â€˜sessionâ€™.
With the launch of the new band there was an expectation that having the second generation of the product would produce significant improvements and additional features. The idea being that having learnt from some of the shortcomings of the first iteration, the next generation would be vastly superior.
The sessionâ€™s are the biggest change in the Fuelband, allowing for activities that would otherwise not have been tracked, to be accurately communicated to the Fuelband. For instance, Yoga, which requires different strenuous levels, would not show up on the original model. The same with cycling and other activities that may not have running or walking elements. The idea behind this is great, but is also a slight drawback.
Added to this expectation was the Innovation Lab, created by Nike to harness the power of the hardware within the Fuelband to make it more powerful. The result is the Nike Fuelband SE. At first glance there is little difference in appearance, there is the option of a coloured band in the centre of the band, however with the all black model, it looks practically identical. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that it retains a certain bulkiness when being worn. This is not an issue when wearing it whilst active (it is surprisingly light) but when it is being used on a day-to-day basis, it is sometimes cumbersome. Aside from the look the basic navigation of the Fuelband
In order to start a session it needs to be notified on the band then tagged on the app after syncing or started from the app originally. It is not a major drawback, but one which means that the band
The Fuelband SE came with considerable expectation, but I am not sure it has lived up to expectations. I think that a major drawback is the size and Another new feature is the ‘win bulk of the Fuelband, it makes an hour’ element. This is essen- everyday wearing difficult, tially, doing 5 minutes worth as I wear it on my right hand, of exercise in an hour to ‘win it means that even writing is it’. The idea behind this being made difficult. that, doing 20 minutes of ex- The addition of sessions and ercise then spending 5 hours winning the hour are nice feasat sedentary behind a desk tures, but throughout my use isn’t going to be as healthy. The of the band, I found that they band also features the abili- were too often either ignored ty to scroll personalised mes- or forgotten. The idea behind sages across the LED screen, wearables is that they are inso you can motivate or remind tuitive and wearable, to the extent that you almost forget yourself to move. The app itself has also been they are there. With this, it is re-thought and is more intui- impossible to use it propertive, allowing for added func- ly without constantly being tionality on the band. It means aware of it. seems to lack the intuitive nature that others have. The fact that sleep tracking needs to be tagged in this way is also a drawback.
that more can be changed The price point is also signififrom the phone and adds to cantly higher than others on the market, with only the sesthe Fuelband.
sions and winning the hour being the real additions to other aspects offered by cheaper alternatives. In reality it is hard to justify the extra money when so many others on the market can give similar or better results. The Fuelband isn’t bad as a fitness tracker, it does what it needs to, but little more. The new features could have been better thought out to make it a truly wearable technology and an increased intuitiveness could make it a market leader. As it is, the Fuelband SE sits towards the front of the pack, but is not in the lead.
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Review: Garmin Vivofit
William Tubbs Sports Technology Leader
There are some nice features on the Vivofit, I like the way that the goal counts down until it has been hit and then up once it has been increased. I also like that the goals are automatically adjusted from one day to the next. Therefore if I beat my score by a considerable amount, Therefore, I was pleased to get my goal my hands on the Vivofit, the new t h e next fitness band from Garmin. day On first inspection, the band is will not too different from others on b e the market, similar size, similar display and seemingly similar data recording options. One of the elements of wearable technologies that has surprised me up to this point, is the lack of any real products from Garmin. They have previously created some of the best cycle computers and the ecosystems for tracking around them, but so far their only real foray has been related to technology around this area.
The Vivofit tracks all of the data that you would expect, steps, calories burned etc. It also shows the time and date, much like the Nike Fuelband. On top of this there is also the option to work with a heart rate monitor, which needs to be purchased and worn separately. Having a heart rate monitor already, it was good that I could use this to see how it worked. In reality, the idea is great but the execution is poor. The device does show heart rate relatively accurately, which is useful. The downside to this is that very few people want to wear a heart rate monitor in addition to a fitness tracker. I find it annoying to wear after a couple of hours, so I have no interest in wearing it all day.
significantly higher than the day before and visa versa if I donâ€™t beat my goal. There is also a sensor for inactivity, so it will tell you if you have been inactive for a certain amount of time.
Overall, The device is useful but I was hoping for a bit more from a company who have pushed similar technology forward so much in the past. The inclusion of GPS or heart rate monitoring within I believe that this band does the band itself would be a welbring some new innovation in the come addition and would cerbattery use. Despite the size, it tainly push this band in front of does not require a large amount the pack, at the moment choosof power to run. This is due to the ing between this, the Jawbone lack of backlighting on the screen UP, Nike Fuelband or several and the relatively low power re- others would be difficult. quired for the features in it. This means that rather than the traditional charging required, the unit can run for around a year with just two watch batteries. This means that there is no need for charging and with the waterproof element of the band, it can be worn at all times.
Review: Fly 6
George Hill Managing Editor
behind the c a m era is not to make it obvious to people that they are being watched, but that they know they could be at any time. This is revolutionary, it is not necessarily a case of ‘buy one and you will be safer’ but if enough people do and bad drivers are prosecuted or even just shamed on Youtube, it will raise awareness that people could be caught on film It is with this in mind that I was by anybody with a flashing red contacted by Fly 6, a new rear light on the back of their bike. The camera itself produces facing camera. The camera itself is housed good quality footage combined within an innocuous looking back with decent sound quality. It allight. The light itself is effective, it lows for wide angle shots and has a few different settings that as the camera is mounted on allow for varying flash patterns the seat post, the sound is not and brightness. The brightness affected by wind, an issue that is good and if it were to be used many action cam’s suffer from. as just a backlight, it would be It is certainly comparable to a Go-Pro or a Sony Action Cam more than adequate. in terms of picture and sound However, the innocuous looking quality. camera is more or less camouflaged, it is unlikely that a driver The fitting of the camera to the will know they are being filmed seat post is easy and is done and I was under the impression, through a mount with a selection that this may almost nullify the of spacers depending on the anpoint of the camera. I took this to gle and design. The mount is atAndrew Hagen, the CEO of Fly 6. tached with the use of laddered rubber bands, meaning that it is His response showed the kind of easy to remove but unlikely to forward thinking towards road fall off. safety that is needed. The idea Unlike action cams, one of the I am often caught in two states of mind when cycling through London. I often see things happen and think ‘I wish I was wearing a camera’, I then wear a camera and think ‘nothing ever happens, this makes me look like an idiot’. There does seem to be no realistic middle ground. I am currently reviewing the Go Pro Hero 3+ (featured in the next issue) and one thing I have noticed is that despite not being the most stylish accessory to wear, it makes motorists and other road users far more wary of me. This means less swerving, less cutting up and less close passes.
strongest aspects of the Fly 6 is the auto-wipe feature. One of the truths of cycling is that 99% of the time nothing happens. It is always an issue when filming on traditional wearable cameras that you can run out of space and the need to either upload to a computer or format the camera can be inconvenient. This records and stores, but wipes the oldest file on the system when it needs more
space. This means that unless the camera needs charging (I charge it about once per week and ride for around 1.5 hours per day) it doesnâ€™t need to be removed from the bike. Battery power is simply shown through a series of beeps when it is turned on or off, this makes it easy to know when to charge and also give a good idea of how long the battery will last from full charge.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Fly 6. Not only the product itself which I have used for the past 3 weeks without any issues and hours of footage, but the concept. The idea that a product used by a few is designed to help the whole cycling community is fantastic. I cannot recommend this as both a product and a concept highly enough.
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