How Ralph Lauren uses Big Data in practice
Inside the PoloTech shirt are sensors attached to silver threads that measure the wearer’s movement, as well as their heart and breathing rates, number of steps taken and calories burned. With the accompanying app, users can monitor their data and access custom workouts the app has designed specifically for them, based on their readings.
The shirt can be washed as normal, providing users remove the slightly-larger-than-credit-card-sized Bluetooth transmitter first.
For now, Ralph Lauren’s wearable technology is firmly in the realm of sportswear, but the company has plans beyond that, perhaps with a smart tie or similar workwear. As David Lauren, the son of founder Ralph, and global marketing head for the company, says, “I want to be able to gather this [biometric] information in a boardroom or from a baby in a crib. We’ll find new needs and we’re just at the beginning.” Imagine the kind of data that could be generated in the average board meeting, not just in what is said, but who said it and how they said it.
The technical details
The PoloTechshirt acts as one big sensor, gathering real-time data on the wearer’s direction and movement, plus biometric data. Data is transmitted from the shirt to the cloud and analysed using algorithms. The accompanying app then uses the insights from this analysis to tailor the user’s workout accordingly. To develop the shirt, Ralph Lauren worked with Canadian firm OMsignal.
Ideas and insights you can steal
No one wants to be left behind in the Big Data and Internet of Things gold rush – not even fashion companies. Indeed, wearable technology is likely to be incorporated into more and more types of clothing, from sportswear to executive wear to, potentially, any kind of uniform or article of clothing. For me, this case study highlights how all businesses are becoming data businesses. So, no matter what industry you’re working in, you cannot afford to ignore the power of Big Data.
You can read more about how Ralph Lauren is using Big Data to drive success in Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.