PlayerData, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based wearable tech company has developed PlayerData EDGE, a wearable device that provides real-time data on biometrics and performance of soccer players. PlayerData EDGE was showcased for the first time at the Homeless World Cup in Mexico.
The company was founded by Roy Hotrabhvanon and Hayden Ball, both graduates Edinburgh University. The Homeless World Cup Foundation was co-founded by Mel Young MBE, who holds an honorary degree from the same university.
Despite facing difficulties at points in their lives, the players representing their countries at the 16th Homeless World Cup tournament were full of drive and determination – qualities held by Roy and Hayden too in taking their product to this global stage. However, it was a spot of boredom three years ago that saw the formation of their company, reports EDIT Magazine, University of Edinburgh.
PlayerData EDGE is currently in beta-testing and has won some early adopters. Consisting of a small removable control module, it provides data on biometrics and performance. PlayerData took 150 such units to Mexico, which measured how far a player travelled in the match, players’ agility (calculated from acceleration data, which indicates how quickly an athlete or team could change direction), average speed and peak speed.
How it All Started
Roy and Hayden were the two of only 14 students on their Computer Science & Electronics program. They’d often revise together at Roy’s kitchen table. Inevitably conversation occasionally strayed away from University work and, during a particularly low revision point, they started to talk about sensors. Ball’s aim was to track his heart rate, whereas Hotrabhvanon wanted to improve his archery performance. They decided to combine their projects and PlayerData was born.
“That’s where the business started and was based at for the first two years – my kitchen table,” said Hotrabhvanon, who’s also the CEO of PlayerData.
They’ve since upgraded their office from the kitchen table to an office in Waverley Gate, right in the center of Edinburgh, where neighboring tenants include tech titans Amazon and Microsoft. “Hopefully we’ll take out this entire building one day,” Roy laughs.
In developing both their product and the business model, Hayden and Roy consulted sports coaches and drawn on their own sporting backgrounds – Roy picked up archery at university during Freshers’ Week in 2012 and went on to represent his native Thailand at the World Archery Championships in 2015.
While other wearable tracking technology does exist, high subscription costs put it out of reach for many. The pair noticed a gap in the market and aim to fill it. “We’ve developed a model that allows the software to be used by less experienced coaches – so it’s much more user friendly. It’s a pay-as-you-go subscription, so everyone from pub kickabout level to grassroots to amateurs can afford it,” explains Roy.