CHICAGO, April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilson announced today a strategic partnership with SportIQ to develop the next generation of connected products to help athletes play their best. These sensor-enabled products deliver data to smart phone or tablet for analysis and gamification, with the first release slated for the sport of basketball. The concept behind this product will be a paradigm shift in the way aspiring athletes practice and play, moving well beyond existing connected ball technology.
"We are not pursuing the launch of a digital basketball for the sake of launching a digital product. Wilson has a long history of true product innovation," said Alan Davenport, Global Director of Basketball for Wilson. "This intelligent basketball brings a unique approach to training through real-time statistic generation delivered to a smart device. The opportunities for individual and coach-directed training are truly unlimited."
Wilson partnered with SportIQ, a technology company based in Finland that specializes in artificial intelligence, to bring this product to market. The collaboration between SportIQ, which is focused on "making sport intelligent", and Wilson, with its unmatched knowledge in the sport of basketball, resulted in a truly amazing breakthrough.
"We literally taught the ball to differentiate between a made shot and a missed shot and we deliver this data to a smart device with no attachments to the rim, no additions of any kind; just a player and his ball getting better," stated Harri Hohteri, CEO of SportIQ. "During my career as a professional basketball player in Europe, I would have benefited greatly from this type of understanding around my training. What was my shooting percentage from different distance ranges or areas on the court? What did I need to be working on? We're now bringing our high basketball IQ to the field of digital technology to answer these questions."
The smart basketball launch marks a new emphasis from Wilson in the burgeoning area of data-driven sports performance. To help accelerate new solutions in categories where it maintains a leadership position, Wilson recently established a new Digital Division which will pursue new consumer-focused technology solutions and partnerships. On the basketball, Wilson and Sport IQ have filed numerous patent applications worldwide on the new technology.
"We recognize the growing trend around the 'internet of things' and are working to deliver real consumer-centric solutions for the world of sport," says Tom Gruger, the new Vice President of Digital for Wilson. "From training to gaming, we want to delight our target players on this new virtual field of play. Our upcoming basketball launch is the first step in an exciting new area of innovation from Wilson."
The smart basketball is scheduled to be released in time for the 2014 holiday season. Consumers are encouraged to visit www.wilson.com/smart where they can register to be the first to receive information on the Wilson connected basketball.
About Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Amer Sports, is the world's leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.
A Helsinki based start-up, SportIQ's mission is to make sports intelligent by bringing smarter real-time analytics to every level of sport. SportIQ's revolutionary technology and advanced data analysis deliver real time solutions for consumer sporting goods and professional leagues.
SOURCE Wilson Sporting Goods Co.