How USA Cycling uses mobile technologies for a competitive edge

By and Ernesto Martinez | 4 minute read | July 5, 2016

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Every second matters – mobile delivers a competitive edge

Team pursuit track cycling is an exciting competitive sport that takes place in laboratory-like conditions in a velodrome with teams of four cyclists racing around a steeply banked oval track with two 180-degree circular bends at upwards of 52 mph. The difference between winning and losing in these races is just .01 seconds.

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“It is definitely a game changer to get…information back right away…It cuts time by so much.
And you can just learn so much quicker.”
– Team USA Cyclist

To win, it’s all about optimizing efficiency and power generation of the riders and the team as a whole. Working with IBM on Project 2016, Team Pursuit coaches and riders are realizing the benefits of precise and real time measurement from the internet of things, analytics and mobile communication to impact team performance.

To do this, coaches and cyclists must see and react to data in real-time and make decisions that optimize the team’s overall performance. By tracking each rider’s power status and the efficiency of exchanges within the context of the training, coaches can get a deep understanding of each rider’s capacity and communicate changes based on these insights directly to the riders through the mobile app.

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“We cannot overestimate the impact that delivering data in a very, very potent time
frame so that the riders have maximum takeaway after each effort.”

– Andy Sparks, Director of Track Programs, USA Cycling

Continuously improving with the agility of mobile

IBM MobileFirst solutions on the cloud remove the complexity of developing and managing mobile apps and allow teams to focus on the needs and demands of the dynamic mobile user. It’s not just about having a mobile app for the sake of having an app. It’s about getting relevant information at the right time with the ability to take immediate action.

As this new training solution is mobile and cloud based and on the Watson IoT Platform, the team can practice anywhere and still benefit from the real time tracking, analysis and communication. Using their mobile app, coaches can also access real-time training sessions at any time and from anywhere, enabling remote engagement when everyone can’t be in the same place at the same time. This provides a lot of flexibility to a team that is constantly on the go.

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Mobile phones are positioned on the cycle to relay IoT data

The mobile app sources data from the Watson IoT Platform on the cloud and provides the results in visualized tables and graphs that can be readily consumed by coaches.  Solos eyewear provides data to the cyclists in real-time. Team Pursuit success relies heavily on the coordinated efforts of all riders. Too much power being applied by an individual during a critical exchange can be as devastating as not enough power. Real time feedback to the riders provides timely information in order to make on-the-spot adjustments in their training regime.

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Data visualizations from sensors and mobile technologies
on the cycle improve whole team performance

Solos smart eyewear ensures cyclists see the data from mobile apps

Solos™ smart eyewear for cyclists is an integral training tool for the USA Women’s Cycling team. The Solos team and USA Cycling team partnered on Project 2016 to fuse critical wearable technologies that include an innovative heads-up display and audio technologies, with essential high-performance eye-wear to enable the team to maximize its performance.

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Solos smart eyewear ensures cyclists see the data from mobile apps

The @SolosWearables team, in collaboration with MIT Sports Technology research experts, validated an optimal design of Solos, with sound data analytic models. As part of the Team Pursuit, the Solos team has also worked closely with IBM jStart to develop this custom sports performance solution.

This solution relies heavily on the Watson IoT Platform, IBM MobileFirst, and IBM Analytics to project the data from a mobile app. The relevant measurement and accessibility of the information in the mobile app empowers riders and coaches to have more evidence-based conversations in the moment about what’s working and what needs to change.

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“Using the SOLOs eyewear, we send signals back to the riders. So it is almost like a red light
and green light of saying you are running at your ideal efficiency…Our goal is
progression, better, better, better!”
Andy Sparks, Director of Track Programs, USA Cycling

Give your business the competitive edge with mobile and IoT

Many businesses are experiencing this same level of intense competition in the era of the digital economy, where mere seconds in a mobile experience make a difference in whether engagement is won or lost. In a recent webcast on Competing in the Connected Economy Harvard Business Review (HBR) revealed that more than 50% of respondents in a recent report believe that 1/2 of their revenues are under threat due to digital disruption.

Businesses can more quickly respond to competitive threats by creating intuitive mobile experiences that improve workforce efficiencies like City Furniture, and enrich customer engagement like Security First Insurance. There are also many examples of the benefits of using the power of context in mobile to accelerate health and fitness.

It will be exciting to watch the role technology plays in the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio, especially with Team USA Women’s Cycling. Do you have stories to share how mobile, IOT and cloud are changing the face of sports or your business?

Team USA Cycling has joined forces with Watson IoT, IBM MobileFirst, IBM Analytics and IBM jStart to incorporate real-time data analytics from the internet of things (IoT) into their training. The culmination of the passion, skill and conditioning of the cyclists and coaches, coupled with the most advanced technologies, give this team the competitive edge they need as they go for gold. Join us each week as we explore the Team Pursuit #RidetoRio through the lens of photographer John Huet and the words of the athletes, coaches and technologists.