The sports industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity driven by digital advancements, high level of social media interactions, broad appeal for immersive sports experience, and fan engagement, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, cloud, data analytics, wearable tech and many more. In the last three years alone, there have been over 76,000 patents filed and granted in the sports industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Virtual and augmented reality in sports: virtual trainersBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 49,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the sport industry, there are 10+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Virtual trainers is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality

Artificial intelligence-driven personal coaches, known as virtual trainer bots, identify training demands and use relevant inferences and inscription from earlier study as the input parameter to formulate the design of the training programs. AI-powered virtual trainers design customizable, individual-based training programs to improve learning.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 230+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual trainers.

Key players in virtual trainers – a disruptive innovation in the sports industry  

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to virtual trainers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Dorel Industries 11 Unlock Company Profile
Fox Factory 24 Unlock Company Profile
Artemis 8 Unlock Company Profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 39 Unlock Company Profile
NIKE 595 Unlock Company Profile
Garmin 10 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 15 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 66 Unlock Company Profile
The Orthopedic Clinic Association 9 Unlock Company Profile
Callaghan Innovation Research 7 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 12 Unlock Company Profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 7 Unlock Company Profile
NuStep 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sega Sammy 10 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 7 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Technogym 30 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 10 Unlock Company Profile
LG 53 Unlock Company Profile
Nautilus 22 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 71 Unlock Company Profile
Lululemon Athletica 79 Unlock Company Profile
Nintendo 17 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 10 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 7 Unlock Company Profile
Whoop 10 Unlock Company Profile
Peloton Interactive 100 Unlock Company Profile
eGym 7 Unlock Company Profile
Superflex 9 Unlock Company Profile
Renovia 17 Unlock Company Profile
Funky Moves 10 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 58 Unlock Company Profile
ICON Eyecare - Management Team 18 Unlock Company Profile
IncludeFitness 10 Unlock Company Profile
Wahoo Fitness 8 Unlock Company Profile
TOCA Football 24 Unlock Company Profile
Tonal Systems 18 Unlock Company Profile
mediVR 8 Unlock Company Profile
F45 Training 12 Unlock Company Profile
Interactive Strength 16 Unlock Company Profile
Lagree Technologies 35 Unlock Company Profile
Pillar Vision 16 Unlock Company Profile
InfoMotion Sports Technologies 15 Unlock Company Profile
David Health Solutions 17 Unlock Company Profile
Connexa Sports Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hydrow 10 Unlock Company Profile
Integrated Health Partners 9 Unlock Company Profile
Arena Innovation 8 Unlock Company Profile
Pentland Group 9 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nike is the leading patent filer in virtual trainers sector. Some other key patent filers in virtual trainers industry include Peloton Interactive, Lululemon Athletica, adidas, and Apple. Nike has the largest market share when compared to any other sports equipment company and is continually coming up with new trends and inventions in the area of new virtual training tools for athlete performance enhancement.

In terms of application diversity, Whoop leads the pack. Bobo Analytics and Pentland Group Holdings stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Lululemon Athletica holds the top position, followed by Fox Factory and Nike.

Virtual and augmented reality provides organizations with the ability to utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sports analytics to generate insights and make effective decisions both on and off the playing field. Benefits of virtual trainers include player performance analysis, supportive data to help with draft decisions, the ability to assess which players to sign based on present value and risk, the capability to evaluate trade options, accurately target offers, and provide feedback to players and coaches to improve player development as well as anticipate and avert injuries.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sports.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.