Innovation in the sports industry is constantly evolving, with 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 48,000 patents filed and granted in the sports industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Cloud in Sports: Virtual game user position tracking.  Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 101,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the sports industry, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Virtual game user position tracking is a key innovation area in Cloud 

Positional tracking technology uses hardware and software to allow a device to estimate its absolute position. VR experiences can be enhanced by position-tracking technology. It is possible to increase the level of immersion within virtual environments by being able to monitor an individual’s location within a three-dimensional area. 

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual game user position tracking. 

Key players in virtual game user position tracking – a disruptive innovation in the sports industry   

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

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

Patent volumes related to virtual game user position tracking

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 434 Unlock company profile
Extreme Networks 136 Unlock company profile
adidas 88 Unlock company profile
Skyhawke Technologies 47 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 35 Unlock company profile
Karsten Manufacturing 33 Unlock company profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock company profile
Neofect 27 Unlock company profile
Apple 26 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 25 Unlock company profile
Topgolf Callaway Brands 25 Unlock company profile
Fox Factory Holding 21 Unlock company profile
Peloton Interactive 20 Unlock company profile
TOCA Football 19 Unlock company profile
Garmin 19 Unlock company profile
RADAR 19 Unlock company profile
Catapult Group International 18 Unlock company profile
Interactive Strength 15 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 15 Unlock company profile
Technogym 14 Unlock company profile
Casio Computer 13 Unlock company profile
Arccos Golf 13 Unlock company profile
Isolynx 13 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 11 Unlock company profile
GolfzonDeca 11 Unlock company profile
Woodway USA 10 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 9 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 8 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 8 Unlock company profile
BRP 7 Unlock company profile
Arena Innovation 7 Unlock company profile
Monarc 7 Unlock company profile
Nautilus 7 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 7 Unlock company profile
Physical Apps 7 Unlock company profile
Game Your Game 7 Unlock company profile
BlackBerry 6 Unlock company profile
Active Mind Technology R&D 6 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 5 Unlock company profile
SRAM 5 Unlock company profile
Necktronics 5 Unlock company profile
Dpe Medical 5 Unlock company profile
GHST World 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nike is one of the leading patent filers in virtual game user position tracking. Some other key patent filers in the positional tracking industry include Extreme Networks, adidas, Skyhawke Technologies, iFIT Health & Fitness. Nike has the largest market share when compared to any other sports equipment company, and they are continually coming up with new trends and inventions in the area of sports gear and other paraphernalia. 

In terms of application diversity, Extreme Networks leads the pack. BRP and Neofect Innovations stood in the second and third positions respectively. By means of geographic reach, Huawei Investment & Holding held the top position followed by BRP and Active Mind Technology R&D. 

Virtual game user position tracking has a lot of advantages, like being able to show a shift in the user's perspective when they do something like jump, duck, or lean forward. The picture should display hands and other objects. A common criticism of virtual reality is that the user can't see their own hands. This can be fixed by linking the real and virtual universes. For example, by recognizing hand position, a program can allow virtual objects to be moved by touching them. In addition, analysing the positioning over a period can allow the software to detect gestures. 

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.