23 Nov 2015
Customised, Smart and Senior Products Take Lead at Sports Fair
- Photo: The USENSE badminton sensor: Smart technology in play.
- Photo: Impulse Health Tech: Boxing clever.
- Photo: Tee time: Lazer-guided golf.
- Photo: Physique monitoring from Taishan.
- Photo: The infrared sonic vibration heat therapy cubicle.
- Photo: Customised Golf bags, courtesy of Beachhead.
- Photo: Combat ready: CS war gaming.
The joint Guangdong/Hong Kong/Macau International Sporting Goods Fair and the Guangdong International Sporting Goods Fair saw smart health products come to the fore, a move driven by China's commitment to promoting fitness.
Sophisticated smart products aimed at improving users' performance, monitoring fitness and counting calories dominated proceedings at the jointly held 12th Guangdong/Hong Kong/Macau International Sporting Goods Fair and 16th Guangdong International Sporting Goods Fair. The twin events also saw a growing number of manufacturers marketing products to older consumers, with an eye on helping seniors stay fit and active for longer.
Increased personalisation was also widely on offer. This ranged from individual exercise programmes, coupled with the new generation of smart sports kits, to traditional tailor-made big-ticket items for wealthier consumers.
This year, the smart sporting goods on offer came in many forms, including large-scale, multi-purpose boxing machines, as marketed by Qingdao's Impulse Health Tech. The company's boxing machine, adjustable in height to up to 2.07 metres, featured a 56cm high-definition touch screen. The whole 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 interactively programmed training options help enhance the users' agility, sense of balance, coordination, explosive force and response speed.
Li Shaohui, South China Regional Manager for Impulse Health, said the software in its boxing machines 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 this machine, more advanced practitioners can use it as a training partner. The boxing machine can also be tailor-made, with customised and individualised training models. By recording and analysing the user data, it can also generate feedback and monitor progress.
According to 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 China now officially encouraging and supporting the sports industry, he also has high hopes of the company's prospects across the mainland.
In terms of less pugilistic sports, the USENSE sensor, shown in Guangdong by the Shenzhen 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 about racket movement throughout play sessions.
Huang Mengjia, representing the company at the show, said that the unit's compact sensor – weighing only 8g – 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 a practice mode, replaying the user's action and providing professional technical analysis of the results. The USENSE can store the 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.
To date, the company has been focussing its R&D efforts on sporting equipment with smart features. UBC entered the sporting goods market two years ago, at a time when the Chinese government first announced its plans to promote the sector as a national priority.
With a similar focus on fitness, Huaxia Huihai, a Guangzhou-based technology firm, was showing its rope skipping detector. This equipment can be connected to up to 20 jump ropes, simultaneously recording all of their data. Another sporting goods company, Dongguan-based Xincheng, had also chosen the event to showcase 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, was exhibiting its Lazer practice gear, a system that uses laser sensors on golf clubs to record swing orbits. Sipuls International of Hong Kong also chose the event to showcase its darts machine, a system that allows contests to be held online between competitors in different 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 physically fit. Shenzhen's Taishan Online Technology, for instance, was exhibiting an array of physical monitoring equipment and sporting facilities. Among the most popular of their systems among the elderly was an all-in-one physique monitoring device and scientific fitness machine.
During the event, one elderly visitor undertook various simple tests by following the recorded instructions of the company's physique monitoring 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 a number of monitoring devices targetted specifically at seniors.
After completing the monitoring tests, the user receives a digital file containing data on their height, weight, heart beat rate, blood pressure and body composition. This can then be used to help design workout and diet plans.
Another scientific fitness system on offer from the company had the facility to capture users' exercise data in real-time. This can then provide text, audio and video instructions to users based on their workout status, all against a vividly simulated sporting background. Shi said this equipment includes body motion options specially designed for elderly people. These options are not vigorous and are very easy to follow. The options come packaged in a rich variety of exercise themes, including Taichi natural healing, disease prevention, chronic disease healing as well as physical well-being and nourishment.
Again targetting the more elderly, Guangdong's Zhenglin Medicine was showcasing its far infrared sonic vibration heat therapy cubicle this year. Compact in size, the cubicle is said to have therapeutic effects with regard to cardio cerebral vascular diseases, obesity, gastrointestinal diseases, rheumatism, as well as waist and lower extremity pains.
Lai Kangwei, the company's Marketing Manager, said although many seniors are unable to participate in vigorous sports, they still need to take exercise in order to improve their health. In line with this, the company's heat therapy cubicle is able to provide passive exercise with the application of sonic vibration technology and infrared heating. These two techniques are said to work well in terms of stimulating the metabolism and removing toxic, humid and inflammatory substances from the body.
Reassuringly, the heat therapy cubicle also comes with safety and consistency guarantees. At present, it is used mostly in gyms, high-end clubs and, increasingly, at home.
Customisation: A Healthy Trend
In term of customisation, taking point here was Shenzhen-based Beachhead, with the company showcasing its range of unique customised golf bags at the fair. According to You Junfang, the company's Operations Manager, in addition to its golf bags, Beachhead also tailor-makes camera bags and outdoor cases.
You said clients have the option to choose high-end customised products if they cannot find their preferred general products from the company. These customers then provide drawings of their ideas and specifications, for the company's design team to work from. The final products can be delivered within a week, as long as the appropriate raw materials are in stock.
Beachhead has more than 20 years of export experience, with its products distributed throughout the US, 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 concussion-resistant and come complete with anti-theft password keys, making them suitable for direct air consignment.
Taishan also provides customised fitness solutions. Shi said the company's inquiry handling system works with third-party service providers in order to offer clients customised fitness solutions, including sports experts and medical and rehabilitation organisations. The users can even communicate directly with these third-party service providers via the phone in order to receive instant advice.
Once fitness solutions have been specified, customers can then use the trainer machine to start their workout programmes. The trainer machine can then offer individualised solutions with different exercise speeds and training times for users in line with their physical condition.
The Guangdong/Hong Kong/Macau International Sporting Goods Fair was held at the Pazhou Complex in Guangzhou in September. The event attracted some 1,000 exhibitors.
Xing Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou