Wearables are a huge and growing industry. While the Apple Watch is still the center of attention in this area, it is really the tip of an iceberg. In fact, if you wanted to, you could put on an entire outfit of smartwear, and monitor every aspect of how your body is ticking.
If you’re more interested in your sports performance than in your body’s performance, however, you have the option of smart sports gear, like smart racket attachments and mouth guards, along with a line of sensor soon to be offered by PIQ, a firm that is seeking to move this area forward. “We are at the cusp of an integrated sport and technology era,” said Cédric Mangaud, PIQ’s co-founder and CEO.
Because many sports brands don’t have cutting-edge technology chops, they need partners — and that is the niche PIQ is aiming to fill.
PIQ has received Series-A funding to the tune of US$5.5 million from FIH Mobile, Ginko Ventures, Robolution Capital I, Swisscom Ventures and others. FIH Mobile Ltd is a member of Foxconn Technology Group focused on mobile manufacturing. Ginko Ventures was founded this year as a venture capital firm with a limited partnership with Foxconn and an eye for technologies. Managed by Orkos Capital SAS, Robolution Capital I is the first private equity fund focused on service robotics investments, mainly in Europe.
PIQ is partnering with three sports brand manufacturers in beginning in the summer of 2015. Calvin Chih, CEO of FIH Mobile Ltd, in commenting on its partnership, said, “We are excited to work with Cedric and the PIQ team.”
Designed by Octonion in Switzerland, the multi-sport motion trackers being offered by PIQ have been in development for two years. Instead of delivering biometric data, these trackers focus on performance metrics, specifically on recording and 11 million data points of such metrics.
The trackers integrate the NFC, BLE, and micro-processors with the newest sensors. They measure air time, height, velocity, G-force, trajectory, and amplitude via 13 axes. The system is lightweight and waterproof, and connects to a dual platform app (iOS and Android).
In addition, PIQ designed a service with specific gamification to keep users coming back for improved feedback. Also, the measuring units can function for different sports, opening new possibilities for multi-sport apps and games. The service of course also allows for sharing and for challenges via social media. Athletes will advertise for PIQ on TV in coming seasons.
Already being manufactured by Foxconn, the first sports equipment featuring PIQ will launch this summer in Europe, the U.S., and Japan.