One of our favorite interviews at CES 2019 was with four-time Olympic medalist Angela Ruggiero, the CEO and co-founder of the market research firm Sports Innovation Lab. As a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Ruggiero knows a thing or two about conditioning, explaining her personal views on fitness tech during our conversation.
Fitness tech is so popular these days. Is there any product out there that you find a bit superfluous?
Angela Ruggiero: The idea of collecting something on your wrist is very inaccurate relative to on your body. While they’re hitting the market, I think that consumers should be skeptical of the accuracy. In a lot of cases, users don’t care if they’re plus or minus thirty percent from my set count, it helps them generally track movement. But when you’re talking about an elite athlete using that data, it better be accurate.
I think that every athlete is going to try everything, because our job is to know our bodies, like how can I do everything better; my nutrition, my recovery, my training, my on the field, or on the next performance. Data is king or queen – you need to know. I think an athlete really leaning into that should be very cautious.
What we’re trying to do to at Sports Innovation Labs is be an objective voice, to say here are the companies that are leaning in, they’re well funded, they have great partnerships.
How do you envision the future of Sports Innovation Labs?
AR: My goal is to make the sport smarter with technology – take a well known concept, put it into sports. Pick the right C-suit executives that are on the table, facilitated by our research and our engagement, and this collective group will produce some output that the whole industry can stand behind and learn from. I’m really excited about that because it’s taking the constant planning of a conference talking, going home, never trying to solve it at home.
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