The second edition of ThinkSport’s international sport and innovation event, THE SPOT, kicked off with a buzz today in Lausanne, Switzerland, attracting 800 delegates from 35 countries. From 28 to 29 May 2019, a lively crowd of pioneers and curious minds are gathered at the SwissTech Convention Center to draw inspiration from many innovative people, ideas, products and best practices. 

The event launched with the announcement of new and prestigious supporters for the Sport Innovation Hub of the likes of Eurovision Sport, Nagra Kudelski, SwissTiming and UEFA, all engaged in this important initiative, which will further stimulate the unique sport ecosystem in Lausanne and the region.

World-class guest speakers have so far offered great insights from different angles into a variety of topics connected to sport, technology and innovation. They included keynote speaker duo Scott Kegley, Executive Director, Digital Media & Innovation at Minnesota Vikings and Tori Willis, Marketing Manager – Loyality at SKIDATA, who together opened the conference programme by sharing their insights into fan engagement in a digital environment of constant and rapid change.

Other experts on the conference stage included: Prof. Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication & Future Media at University of Salford; Natalie Cook, 5x Olympian and Board Member of the World Olympians Association; Prof. Jamie Paik, Professor & Director at Reconfigurable Robotics Lab at the EPFL; Dr Caecilia Charbonnier, Research Director at Artanim; Dr Kim Blair, Senior Manager at Exponent; Dr Mounir Zok, Managing Director at N3XT SPORTS; Vincent Lecrosnier; Design Director at Adidas; and Mr Pascal Zuberbühler, famous former Swiss goalkeeper and now Goalkeeping Specialist at FIFA, to name a few. 

For THE SPOT, the SwissTech Convention Center has been transformed into an open space with a dynamic atmosphere, where participants are simultaneously exposed to a wide range of engaging content and experiences.

In the Market Place, delegates discovered new solutions and products in fields like data analytics, digital broadcasting, equipment, wearables and material designs. They also were invited to put their skills to the test piloting drones, playing eGames and digitalised ball sports. 

“THE SPOT is a great place to connect with industry leaders across the globe. With attendees from a variety of disciplines, it allows for a very spirited and informative discussion,” said Minnesota Viking’s Scott Kegley. 

Dr Kim Blair, Senior Manager at Exponent and Founding Director of the Sports Innovation Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said: “I had a great chance to re-connect with a lot of my colleagues in the sports industry both in the US and in Europe. It’s also good to see the new innovation ecosystem that’s being built around sport here in Lausanne. THE SPOT has brought together a great community of people to celebrate this ecosystem, make new connections and innovate for the future.”

During THE SPOT’s Start-up Battle today, the winners of four preliminary rounds were chosen by a jury made up of experts from the academic, business and sports world and awarded CHF 1,000 each. They were Dazzl (Eurovision Sport Award), IKISPORT (Swiss Timing Award), Spalk (UEFA Award) and FunWithBalls (Asics TenKan Ten Award). These four start-ups will participate in the final tomorrow (29 May, 04:05 p.m.), with a further CHF 4,000 going to the overall winner.

Day two of THE SPOT will offer exciting sessions focussing on the impact of sport on society, new audio and voice-recognition technologies; augmented reality; eSports, sustainability in sport; and betting as well as sport entertainment.

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