Following their attendance at Sports Tech Tokyo in April we asked a selection of companies based in the Australia and APAC region on their experience of the event and how their plans and ideas have evolved.
In this reflection we spoke to Frank McKinnon, Kinduct’s Head of APAC.
Describe your experience at Sports Tech Tokyo?
FM: “Especially in software, timing is everything. The predominant feeling we had leaving STT was that there was broad recognition that there was a gap between the adoption of sports technology that exists in North America, Europe, and Australia and what currently exists in Japan. There was a desire to effectively bridge that gap for the benefit of fans, athletes and overall culture. They don’t seem to be doing things in a piecemeal approach, it feels very strategic and it is assisted by the fact that they are hosting some major international events, those can be a great catalyst for change.
“Another thing is that culturally they see sports as a positive influence on overall culture and specifically wellness.”
Of course, a very positive, soft cultural influence.
FM: “That’s right and I think they look at sport as a logical place for innovation, and it certainly is. In more traditional industries, say in healthcare, they’re not necessarily driving innovation and change at the same pace.
“Our company has just had a project in healthcare go from research after five years to clinical in the past few weeks and over that time what’s accelerated our product in the healthcare world is our significant product development in the sports world. That, to me, really resonated because it aligns with our story as well.
“We initially were a healthcare company, we pivoted to sports as an athlete management system which is still our main pillar but we can see the natural evolution into a larger healthcare environment where some of the tools and capabilities that extended to help manage high performance athletes can also be pivoted towards benefitting patients.”
Your time in Tokyo allowed you to have meetings with various stakeholders and companies, but despite the brief amount of time spent in Tokyo did it impact how you will strategically tackle the Japanese market?
FM: “Absolutely! For us it was the articulation of their focus now being on sports. As an example, we heard from the B.League, what was interesting was they articulated their overall mission. Their top strategic objective is to develop their athletes to be world class from a performance perspective. For us, that’s exciting, what they’re looking for is a world class product, which is good for performance analytics companies such as ourselves, so they can consolidate performance data and take appropriate action.”
Did you have a really cool experience in Tokyo?
FM: “We got up early one morning for a group run around the Imperial Palace, it was a beautiful day, a great chance to see an amazing historical part of Tokyo and the cherry blossoms were out, that was great! It was just a nice way to meet the organisers and other companies that were participating.”