30 June 2016
Hi-tech Health Products
Sophisticated smart products to improve performance, monitor fitness and count calories dominated proceedings at the joint 12th Guangdong/Hong Kong/Macau International Sporting Goods Fair and 16th Guangdong International Sporting Goods Fair, held last September. The twin events also saw a growing number of manufacturers marketing products to help senior consumers stay fit and active.
Customisation – from individual exercise programmes, coupled with the new generation of smart sports kits, to traditional tailor-made big-ticket items for wealthier consumers – were also among the highlights at the event.
This year, smart sporting goods came in many forms, including large-scale, multi-purpose boxing machines from Qingdao's Impulse Health Tech. With adjustable heights of up to 2.07 metres, the machine features a 56 centimetre high-definition touch screen. The entire set up occupies just 1.6 square metres of floor space and comes with seven strike pads. According to the company, the boxing machine's interactive training programme options help enhance users' agility, sense of balance, coordination, explosive force and response speed.
Li Shaohui, South China Regional Manager for Impulse Health, said the software features a smart interactive combat system, sourced from Texas-based Nexersys, with the hardware developed in-house. While ordinary boxing fans can learn the sport from the video and coaching offered by the machine, more advanced pugilists can use it as a training partner. The boxing machine can also be customised with tailored training models. By recording and analysing user data, it can also generate feedback and monitor progress.
According to Mr Li, Impulse Health products are sold both domestically and overseas, with a roughly 50/50 split. The company currently exports to more than 30 countries and regions across Europe and the Americas. With the Chinese mainland promoting its sports industry, he also has high hopes of the company's prospects across the mainland.
The USENSE sensor, shown in Guangdong by Shenzhen’s UBC Corporation, caught the attention of many badminton fans. Attached to a racket grip, the cube sensor is small, light and is available in six colours. The sensor blinks when the racket is in use, recording data on racket movement throughout play sessions.
Huang Mengjia, representing the company at the show, said that the unit's compact sensor – weighing only eight grammes – can record a range of data, including the frequency and speed of a user's swing movements, exercise time and energy consumption. The collected data is then accessible via a smartphone app.
The sensor can also be set to practice mode, replaying the user's action and providing technical analysis of the results.
The USENSE can store data of up to 3,000 swings, and takes just two hours for a full battery charge before it is ready for four hours of use. It can also be easily attached to the end of a racket grip with a silicone sleeve or to its bottom with adhesive. The company, which entered the sporting goods market two years ago, has been focusing its R&D efforts on sporting equipment with smart features.
With a similar focus, Guangzhou-based Huaxia Huihai featured its rope-skipping detector, which can be connected to up to 20 jump ropes, simultaneously recording data. Another sporting goods company, Dongguan-based Xincheng, also showcased its Kuangjian brand of specialised cordless digital jump rope. This innovative skipping product is said to be free of twining problems and suitable for home use. Seoul's TJ Golf, meanwhile, exhibited its Lazer practice gear, a system that uses laser sensors on golf clubs to record swing orbits. Sipuls International of Hong Kong showcased its darts machine, a system that allows online competition in various locations.
Playing the Long Game
While sporting goods with smart features were well represented at the event, another clear trend was the wider promotion of equipment designed to help older people stay active and fit. Shenzhen's Taishan Online Technology, for instance, exhibited an array of physical monitoring equipment and sporting facilities. Among the most popular was an all-in-one physique monitoring device and scientific fitness machine.
According to Shi Chaoyong, Taishan's Business Manager, the company's all-in-one physique monitoring equipment is tailored to various age groups, with several monitoring devices targeted specifically at seniors.
After completing the tests, users receive a digital file containing data on their height, weight, heart-beat rate, blood pressure and body composition to help them design a workout and diet plan.
Another fitness system on offer allows users to capture exercise data in real-time. This can then provide text, audio and video instructions to users based on their workout status, against a vividly simulated sporting background. Mr Shi said the equipment includes body-motion options specially designed for the elderly, including tai chi natural healing, disease prevention, chronic disease healing, as well as physical well-being and nutrition.
Customisation: a Healthy Trend
Shenzhen-based Beachhead showcased its range of unique customised golf bags at the fair. According to You Junfang, the company's Operations Manager, Beachhead also tailor-makes camera bags and outdoor cases.
Mr You said the company also offers customised products, which can be delivered within a week, so long as the appropriate raw materials are in stock.
Beachhead has more than 20 years of export experience, with its products distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The company's best-selling golf bags are made with imported waterproof materials, while all of its units are said to be impact-resistant and come with anti-theft password keys, making them suitable for direct air consignment.
Taishan also provides customised fitness solutions by working with third-party service providers, including sports experts and medical and rehabilitation organisations. Users can even communicate directly with these third-party service providers by telephone to receive instant advice.
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