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Building the data infrastructure to give Finland’s top athletes the competitive edge

19 June 2019

In a joint pilot project, the Finnish Olympic Committee, Polar and Tieto are testing a new system for gathering and analyzing the performance data of athletes. Ten sportsperson and coach pairs are involved. The pilot project is the starting gun for the broader development of an information system for top Finnish athletes.

The daily regimen of the sporting elite has always been based on the right sleep, nutrition and physical training. Today, it is also about athletes’ personal health and performance data, which is increasingly at the core of more effective coaching solutions. However, Finnish athletes currently lack solutions for the broad-based collection of data and its secure distribution to coaches and other support staff. Where data exists, it is currently held on dozens of information systems, which are difficult to use together.

A joint project between the Finnish Olympic Committee, Polar and Tieto aims to address this challenge. Together, they are creating a pilot solution for the collection, management and distribution of top athletes' personal data. Funded by Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, the project is the starting gun for the broader development of an information system for elite Finnish sport, with the aim of using data to improve the performance of the country’s sporting elite.

Data supports the optimal development of individuals

The goal of the pilot project is to produce the first version of a solution to be used by top sportspersons and their coaching teams. At the same time, Finnish sports research is being developed to be more data-driven and top-level national sport directors will get a better view of the athletes' overall situation.

"Finland's success in top-level sport depends on data and how well we can utilize it to promote the optimal development of individuals," says Mika Lehtimäki, Director of the High-Performance Unit of the Finnish Olympic Committee.

"The solution calls for a secure, centralized platform where data can be gathered with the consent of the athletes as well as easily analyzed to support coaching. This is an area where Tieto has a lot of expertise and it thrills us to be able to extend that know-how to an initiative that will support the development of Finland’s top athletes,” says Fredrik Jansson, Principal Consultant from Tieto.

“Polar has 40 years of experience in developing training systems that meet the demands of top athletes and their coaches. Polar product development always involves top athletes from different sports, and our products are based on extensive scientific research. We strongly believe that with this future system and multidisciplinary collaboration, we will be able to better support Finnish top sport,” says Smart Coaching Manager Ville Uronen from Polar.

The collaborative project is part of the Sitra fair data economy IHAN project. It builds a new kind of data economy in Europe, where services can take advantage of an individual’s personal data with their permission. The Olympic Committee was involved in the IHAN project through a public application process.

“The Olympic Committee's project is exactly what the data economy will be in the future. It builds an innovative service from currently-siloed information sources, while ensuring that individual athletes are in control of their personal data throughout the lifecycle of the service,” says Markus Kalliola, Sitra's leading expert.

The pilot project of the Olympic Committee, Polar and Tieto started in spring 2019 and continues until summer 2020.

For further details, please contact:

Juha Saapunki, Digital officer, Finnish Olympic Committee, juha.saapunki@olympiakomitea.fi, +358 (0)400 385 462

Fredrik Jansson, Principal Consultant, Tieto, fredrik.jansson@tieto.com, +358 40 344 6631; Tieto communications, news@tieto.com, +358 40 570 4072

Ville Uronen, Smart Coaching Manager, Polar, +358 40 513 4670, ville.uronen@polar.com

Markus Kalliola,  Leading speacialist, Sitra, markus.kalliola@sitra.fi, +358 50 359 1499, https://www.sitra.fi/en/topics/fair-data-economy/

The Finnish Olympic Committee represents all sport and physical activity from grassroots to elite sport in Finland. We have two strategic goals: Increase participation in sports and physical activity for all and enable international success in elite sports. Together with our member organizations we want to energize Finland through physical activity and sport.

Tieto aims to capture the significant opportunities of the data-driven world and turn them into lifelong value for people, business and society. We aim to be customers’ first choice for business renewal by combining our software and services capabilities with a strong drive for co-innovation and ecosystems. www.tieto.com 

About Polar:

For over 40 years, Polar has been the innovator of sports technology, helping athletes and coaches achieve peak performance. Polar began with heart rate monitoring, but has since expanded into multiple training solutions for elite athletes, coaches and active fitness enthusiasts. Polar remains the trusted performance partner due to our accuracy, reliability and superior experience. Polar’s award-winning product range includes pioneering sports wearables that work elegantly with Polar training apps and cloud services.

Headquartered in Finland, Polar is a privately held company that operates in more than 80 countries. Polar products are sold through over 35,000 retailers globally. For more information, please visit polar.com.

Sitra is a future fund that collaborates with partners from different sectors to research, trial and implement bold new ideas that shape the future. Our aim is a Finland that succeeds as a pioneer in sustainable wellbeing.

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