Interacting with friends during virtual runs a possibility in 5G era
Interacting with friends during virtual runs a possibility in the 5G era, says veteran organiser
Imagine going for a run by yourself and getting message alerts from friends egging you on when you hit the 10km wall or playfully ribbing you to pick up the pace when you start to slow down.
That is how running could be like in the 5G era, according to Jeffrey Foo, a veteran organiser of mass sporting events such as The Straits Times Run, Sundown Marathon and Star Wars Run.
Speaking at the All That Matters 2020 business festival yesterday, the chief executive of fitness app LIV3LY and managing director of events management company Infinitus Productions said: "There's a study that (shows) that when you're running or training or when you take part in an event, more than 60 per cent of participants carry their smartphone and ear piece with them.
"So imagine what that can do with 5G, with live streaming, with live tracking.
"You're not running alone, your friends could be looking (on), 'Oh so this guy is running right now, I can see him running right now'.
"That will be very fun to do, poking him on his personal messages (saying), 'Oh you're running like a slow poke. Run faster'.
"It makes it fun. Even though you're sometimes running alone, you have these virtual friends who are accompanying you."
This month, Singtel said it is on course to roll out 5G network coverage to half of Singapore in two years and islandwide by 2025.
Fellow telcos StarHub and M1 last month said they will each put up an initial $200 million to install their joint-venture network.
Fellow panellist Yvonne Tey highlighted that the raft of restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of exercise apps.
Said the marketing director for South-east Asia at sportswear brand Under Armour: "During the shutdown, everybody who never ran, who never cycled, started running and cycling.
"And everybody was on some kind of an app. On apps, people track each other, and these apps are all global.
"So sometimes, it's like, I don't have a personal challenge but I happen to monitor my friend and I see my friend going this distance. And I go, 'How do I get there, what do I do?'
"I think people got creative during lockdown in terms of like, 'How do I run in the shape of a star?' And you can replicate that from market to market."
With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the global sporting calendar, virtual sporting events have been gaining traction in the absence of cancelled mass participation events.
The Virtual London Marathon has sold out with over 45,000 entries.
Closer to home, all of the OCBC Cycle 2020 Virtual Ride's 4,700 slots have been snapped up while The Straits Times Virtual Run (STVR) is quickly selling out.
Typically, virtual runs allow participants to pound the pavement at their own pace and in their own space, and often, over several sessions, with the data collected via apps.
That appears to have changed how people consume such events with Foo highlighting that half of the runners who registered for STVR chose the 175km option over the 17.5km.
He said: "We find that runners would like the continued engagement, to look at their progress. Every time I run I clock 8km, I still have 167km to go.
"That pushes them."
"That will be very fun to do, poking him on his personal messages (saying), 'Oh you're running like a slow poke. Run faster'."
- Jeffrey Foo, a veteran organiser of mass sporting events such as
The Straits Times Run, on interacting during a virtual run in the 5G era