Innovation Insights from ISPO MUNICH 2014
In January this year, we attended ISPO Munich, the leading European sports fair, and we’re happy to bring you some insights into the event now.
With 2,565 exhibitors from 51 countries and more than 80,000 visitors from 110 countries, ISPO Munich offers a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the sports industry and market, and quite a fresh view on how both well-established and emerging brands are seeking to innovate the sector.
We especially enjoyed ISPO BRANDNEW, a start-up competition dedicated to young brands (four years old or younger) which have never exhibited at the trade show before, and the ISPO AWARD which honours the best products regardless of how advanced the company behind them is. The BRANDNEW winners, selected by an international jury of experts, are chosen based on a mix of criteria that include design, level of innovation and market potential, as well as marketing drive.
Below you will find a selection of the most interesting products that have won their respective categories.
ISPO is not just about innovative products though. It is also an international platform for sharing and discussing upcoming trends, best practices and new ideas.
We had the great opportunity to present our Women in Action Sports Project at the WIB (Women in Board & Action Sports Association)'s annual conference lunch and to share our views with an extremely responsive audience of women of all ages who are passionate about action sports.
Here is a video with a few key extracts from our talk that we would love to share with you:
At the WIB's conference we also had the pleasure to meet the founders of High Heaven, a start-up from Stockholm which is building a site dedicated to giving female action and extreme sports enthusiasts a place to hang out and pursue their lifestyle of adrenaline, adventure and outdoor fun. We also had some fun with the Longboard Girls Crew, an international longboard female community created in 2010 in Madrid. Valeria Kechichian, one of the co-founders of the organisation, offered us a preview of the film they have made, OPEN, covering the group's journey as they went together on a skate trip in Israel.
Watch the trailer here:
We also enjoyed an inspiring talk by boardsports veteran Iker Aguirre who shared an outside-the-box vision on how to use emotions to untap our true potential.
Check our Product Selection from ISPO BRANDNEW and ISPO AWARD:
The overall winner of this year's edition is the Oru Kayak (USA), a 3.66-metre-long foldable kayak made of a single, light and seamless sheet of double-layered plastic which applies origami principles to give exceptional strength to the structure. It only takes five minutes to assemble!
The Oru Kayak has also been awarded "Product of the Year" in the "Outdoor" category of the ISPO AWARD.
In ISPO AWARD's "Action" category, much attention has been raised by an emergent brand from Germany called RESTUBE. The company has designed and manufactured a small and lightweight pocket which can be worn like a belt around the hips or can be mounted on a harness. In case of a critical situation in the water you pull the trigger and the buoy inflates so that you can hold onto it and avoid panic or drowning. RESTUBE can be used for any water sport, from surfing to swimming and is reusable by installing a new CO2-cartridge.
Another interesting product in the same category is Picture Organic Clothing’s Rethink Bag, which has been designed with a unique second life concept: each part of the bag is easily removable and can be used to contain new products instead of throwing it away. Consumers can simply take a pair of scissors and follow the red lines when they are done with their Rethink Bag, and transform it into a pencil case, a toiletry bag, and even a laptop case.
Another favourite product of ours was Houdini's Women Bedrock Pants, which won the "Eco" category. They’re a pair of 3L cradle-to-cradle waterproof/breathable mountaineering shell trousers of pure polyester which combine functionality, good design and sustainability.
For "Products of the Year", in addition to the Oru Kayak mentioned above, three other products won their respective categories: FC by the Union Binding Company (“Action”), the DAHU ski boots by the DAHU Sports Company (“Ski”), and the Google glass-controlled treadmill by Technogym Wellness & Biomedical (“Performance”).
FC binding seems particularly interesting, taking the meaning of lightweight to a new level by using forged carbon technology. It’s the outcome of several years of research by the Union Binding Company in collaboration with Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL). Whether it's a luxury sports car or snowboard bindings, the challenge remains the same: weight reduction.
PubPedals (Canada), a pair of easy-to-install-and-remove bike attachments which work with both new and old-style eggbeaters, has won the "Accessories" category of ISPO BRANDNEW. PubPedals can be used with any kind of footwear, including flip flops, and come in different colours to match the user’s bike.
We were also taken by “Fitness” winner Hyperice (France), a compression ice wrap consisting of joint-specific neoprene bandages for knees, shoulders and other body parts and a subjacent latex ice bag. Hyperice covers injured joints without causing heat spots - no moisture or gas, in fact, accumulates thanks to a patented air-release valve that can be opened to let excess heat and gas escape from between the bandage and the body. This technology, which has been patented by Hyperice, allows skiers; action sports athletes such as snowboarders, skaters and surfers; as well as rugby, tennis, basketball, football and baseball players to recover faster and provides some comfort.
In terms of disruptive technologies, another interesting solution is the Shark Attack Mitigation System (Australia), which won the "Sportswear" category. It essentially reduces the risk of shark attacks thanks to a breakthrough technology developed with the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute which has determined what sharks can see under what light and water conditions. The technology has been incorporated into neoprene materials and wetsuit designs with disruptive coloration and shaping that either hide the wearer in the water or distort their appearance from the perspective of predatory sharks.
An innovative app called Uepaa! (Switzerland) won the "Digital" category. The app integrates an alert and tracking rescue service into smartphones and enables users to call for rescue from anywhere, including areas with no coverage. It uses a wireless Peer2Peer2Peer communication network developed by ETH Zürich. Uepaa! includes remote tracking following the user’s route in real-time, Buddy Aid accident alert, Automatic Accident Detection (if the alarm cannot be engaged by the user), and a 24/7 Emergency Centre connecting to professional ground and air rescue teams.