September 11, 2012
Nike (NYSE: NKE ) is playing Moneyball with its newest wave of approved patents. Last week, the athletic company received news that some of its technology-centric toys received the thumbs-up from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the first step to a mass-digitization of Nike's athletic offerings.
Nike has a history of defining excellence in its field. From its vision-enhancing MaxSight contact lenses to auto-lacing sneakers, innovation is no stranger to this company. In this new batch of patents, Nike is vastly expanding its data collection capabilities in its golf, running, and field sports divisions. Sensors in golf clubs, shoes, and balls will map out a user's performance for unprecedented analytical opportunities. Although Nike has dabbled with data collection before, these new sensors are poised to provide new athletic feedback for both Nike and its customers.
At the same time, Nike could also use this data to enhance its marketing techniques. A Bloomberg article released today outlines a system that would allow Nike to customize each consumer's individual experience. By simply walking into a store, salespeople could have access to how old and how traveled a person's shoes are, or even what their golf swing looks like.
As companies like Facebook struggle with monetizing mountains of data, and corporations like Teradata construct entire businesses out of "data mining," Nike has officially joined the data dash.