Wilson plans to introduce a sensor equipped basketball that can discern between made and missed shots and then feed information to a smartphone or tablet.
Due for release later this year, the new product is the result of a partnership with SportIQ, a Finland-based company focused on artificial intelligence, and Wilson’s recently established digital division.
“We are not pursuing the launch of a digital basketball for the sake of launching a digital product. Wilson has a long history of true product innovation," said Alan Davenport, Wilson’s global director of basketball. "This intelligent basketball brings a unique approach to training through real-time statistic generation delivered to a smart device. The opportunities for individual and coach-directed training are truly unlimited."
According to Harri Hohteri, CEO of SportIQ, the company taught the ball to differentiate between a made shot and a missed shot and we deliver this data to a smart device with no attachments to the rim or additions of any kind.
"During my career as a professional basketball player in Europe, I would have benefited greatly from this type of understanding around my training,” Hohteri said. “What was my shooting percentage from different distance ranges or areas on the court? What did I need to be working on? We're now bringing our high basketball IQ to the field of digital technology to answer these questions.”
Even though the new ball won’t hit the market until the holiday season, Wilson execs are already alluding to the possibility of smart ball technology coming to other sports.
"We recognize the growing trend around the 'Internet of things' and are working to deliver real consumer-centric solutions for the world of sport," said Tom Gruger, Wilson’s vp of digital. "From training to gaming, we want to delight our target players on this new virtual field of play. Our upcoming basketball launch is the first step in an exciting new area of innovation from Wilson."