I am sitting here on a Friday at 4.23PM in…
Here at Agency Oasis, we like to nerd out and apply data and analytics to just about everything. So naturally, I was thrilled to have discovered a way to inject a little bit of analytics into the least nerdy activity ever: surfing. A company has come out with what they are touting to be “The World’s Most Advanced Action Sports Tracker”. The device, aptly named Trace, weighs 1.4oz and is about the size of a Reese’s peanut butter cup. The GPS tracker is targeted for Surfers and Snowboarders, but would also work for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking… etc. Basically any action sport you can think of.
During a surf session, Trace will record your wave count, top speed, calories burned, biggest turn, and superimpose your rides over a map. What differentiates it from previous GPS devices is that it is able to record detailed information such as the degree of turns as well as the height and rotation of airs. It is also is capable of neatly editing the data neatly over GoPro footage. See how Trace works in this video.
So how does this impact a sport like surfing, apart from providing some gnarly footage? It is incredibly difficult to get quantifiable data for a sport like surfing. Every wave is different, and unless you have a camera man following you around, it is hard to analyze your own performance. But now, thanks to Trace, surfers will be able to analyze their performance, learn about what they do well and what they can improve on, and enhance their skills much quicker than they would have when devices like this were not around. Having the ability to set concrete goals such as reaching certain speeds, or having big enough carves could be a game changer for many.
More importantly, devices like Trace could create a new online community for the surfing world, which in turn will generate more interest around the sport and increase brand loyalty. Nike’s online fitness communities are a proven success in these terms. Having an online community has increased revenue and brand engagement for the sports giant. A boost in the popularity of action sports could benefit the surfing industry as a whole. The companies that are able to generate online camaraderie are the first ones that consumers think of when they need to make a purchase.
Not only would an online community foster a sense of togetherness of Trace users, it could provide action sports companies with unprecedented amounts of information on the habits of their customers. Amazon attributes 40% of its revenue to recommendations that they put to their customers based on search history and previous purchases. It’s no surprise that this data is incredibly valuable for companies. That’s one of the reasons why Under Armour has spent more than $500 million on fitness apps during the past year. Companies are able to tailor the shopping experience for each individual runner and even include perks for being in the community. Nike+ gives shopping suggestions as well as free shipping to its members. The app now has not only created a loyal community, but also forged a direct path of communication to the consumer.
Knowing the routines of surfers or any other action sports athletes could give companies extremely detailed information on what the consumers use, want, and need. It’s essential for companies to incorporate this knowledge into every aspect of their business including product development, marketing, and digital strategy. They may discover that they are putting too many resources into the wrong areas, or even come across an untapped niche.
Trace has the ability to record unprecedented amounts of information regarding action sports. It’s now up to companies in industry to harness this data in order to drive their strategy. Whichever company ends up utilizing this data will have a distinct edge over their competitors.