Last week I attended the second annual Sports Biometrics conference in San Francisco, it was a good conference with very good information and challenging ideas. I also attended in 2016. Last year my general impression from the presentations and my interaction with the attendees was that data was king, it seemed that everyone was enamored by what could be measured and how. It was as if there was to measure everything that could be measured and then some.
This year I detected a slightly different tone. It seemed that some of the presenters and in talking to the delegates that there was degree of skepticism and questioning about the how the data was being used and even in some cases the value of certain biometric measures.
Here is my take on the use and value of biometric data in sport after attending the conference for two years and experiencing this up close. It is very exciting to me to think that we can measure and monitor physical properties that we once dreamed about measuring, that is the good. For me the issue is being able to take the data and be able to turn it into actions the coach can use. Is the data meaningful and actionable? Just because we can measure it does not make it meaningful. What about accuracy and validation of the algorithms that are used to deliver the information? So much of the technology is not validated. There needs to be an independent body that can vet the technology and the algorithms. Another issue I see more frequently is: Where is the sport coach in this process? Ultimately it is the coach who turns the data into action, so why aren’t coaches more involved in the process.
Perhaps this will stimulate discussion and help achieve some clarity