Smart garments are one of the fitness wearables Gartner recently pegged as having the “greatest potential for growth”. And lining up in that category is Spanish startup FirstV1sion, whose on-body sports wearable will be used during a broadcast of a Euroleague basketball match on Friday to deliver a first-hand player perspective of one of the teams to watching fans.
FirstV1sion’s wearable tech was piloted in February in a Real Madrid vs Barcelona game, with the smart shirts worn by referees. But this is the first time the tech has been worn by players in a live match. The Lithuanian team Žalgiris Kaunas will wear the shirts in their match against Real Madrid, which will be broadcast by 12 channels globally, including Canal+ in Spain.
FirstV1sion’s smart garment contains an embedded HD camera and microphone, sited on the chest, plus additional sensors — including a heart rate monitor and accelerometers — so it can broadcast first person views and also track the wearer’s velocity and biometric data. Of course it’s not the first first-person perspective camera system in sports broadcasting, by a long chalk — hence FirstV1sion also injecting sensor data in a bid to stand out.
The company argues the latter offers safety advantages for players, since their heart rate can be monitored in real-time. But the main play here is entertainment: allowing sports footage to be augmented with individuals’ biometric data and broadcasts to put players’ real-time heart rates on display. In short: Quantified player effort served up to feed sports fans’ emotions. (Although Friday’s EuroLeague basketball match will only include visuals from the FirstV1sion cameras; no audio or biometric data will be broadcast this time.)
FirstV1sion is a graduate of Wayra’s Barcelona accelerator. Spanish telco Telefónica, which runs the program, has invested €60,000/$65,000 in the startup for a 7% equity stake. Other investors include FC Barcelona/Spanish footballer Andres Iniesta, and Serge Ibaka, NBA basketball player for Oklahoma City Thunder.
The startup is also currently running an equity crowdfunding campaign, on Bank To The Future, to swell its investor base with sports fans keen to get even more up close and personal with their favorite teams. It’s aiming to raise at least €2.5M in crowdfinancing from 5,000+ investors.