By Amy Acme
I have always been a sports nut. As a kid, I played a variety of sports with my brothers and friends, and usually won. I played volleyball and ran track through high school and college and have remained active, participating in triathlons in the Austin area. I’m also an admitted science nerd who got her degree in electrical engineering and went to work for a major semiconductor manufacturer.
So what happens when you combine the drive of a competitive athlete with the curiosity of an engineer? In my case, Acme Connected Apparel (ACA).
With a strong math and science background, I have always been data driven. Since high school I’ve tracked my performance, counted calories and tuned my training for best results. As I got into triathlons, I was excited by the promise of sport watches — until I tried one. What worked well for running, I found, didn’t work so well for swimming or biking. Also, the data was helpful, but it seemed incomplete. On top of that, I found I just didn’t like wearing a watch.
I knew there had to be a better way.
I did what thousands of Americans have done over the years. I did some research, honed my idea and then quit my job. I borrowed from friends and relatives and eventually began working with venture capitalists to create a method for developing clothing that could measure the human body’s performance in far more detail than a simple watch ever could. For sports like triathlons, compression shorts and shirts contain a sensor array that can track movement and health statistics for hours at a time. Once uploaded, the data can help athletes be more efficient and better understand when and how they exert energy in their sports.
Slightly scaled-back versions of the technology can still track daily movements and report on respiratory function, pulse rate and a number of other statistics without the requirement to wear compression clothing. Any T-shirt, pant or short can do the job.
I now have patents in hand and have enjoyed success with a limited line of clothing intended for triathletes. Based on the success of my trials, it’s time to take Acme to the next level.
Currently, Acme handles sales through an e-commerce site, but I want to expand to sporting goods stores, gyms and fitness centers, and start new lines of connected clothes that will have applications for health care and elder care.
I know a lot about electronics and have become an expert in biosensors, but running my own company is a new experience. I’ve agreed to work with Channel Partners to get my digital business house in order. To demonstrate the power of the channel to help companies build a strong digital story, Channel Partners is requiring that all Evolution keynotes address the needs of ACA. Channel Partners Evolution attendees will hear how vendors, master agents and partners would work to address the needs of ACA. Check here soon to see how the keynote schedule fills out.
The company is coming out of startup mode and needs systems that are much more robust than those currently in use, for both running the business and supporting the product.
Currently, Acme is a BYOD company, with employees using a mix of iPhones and Androids for their communications needs. For compute tasks, programmers use Macintosh laptops, while other workers are on a mix of Macs and Windows systems. I am considering giving certain teams Microsoft Surface tablets in order to provide a common platform. I would like to continue to allow employees to use their phones of choice, at least within reason.
I and my team believe in the cloud and want to minimize our internal IT infrastructure. Our philosophy is to use SaaS applications whenever possible and make worker platform choice a secondary consideration.
Other pressing concerns:
I’m looking forward to getting your help! Give me some ideas in the Comments section, or follow Acme Connected Apparel on Twitter!