Safaricom set to launch new devices to help athletes

Safaricom and Vodafone group are working towards delivering an industry leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology to Kenyan athletes with an aim to help break the two-hour marathon mark.

Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction

In May 2017, Safaricom and a number of investors announced a Sh 200 million project in the Technology Lab, where the company employees trial and test various emerging technologies including the IoT.

Since then a number of applications have commenced in the lab and on the network, with the company ready for the nationwide deployment of the IoT in coming months.

In a press release Thursday, Thibaud Rerille, Director-Technolgy, Safaricom, said the application of IoT in athlete training in Iten and Eldoret will not only help Kenyan athletes improve their performance, it will also further refine and fine tune IoT solution readiness for nationwide deployment.

At Safaricom, we continue to seek and explore new innovations around the latest technologies with the goal of creating new opportunities for Kenyans, he said, adding that more than 100,000 attendees at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain earlier April, had the opportunity to experience a demonstration of the technology relayed live over Safaricom’s 4G network from Iten and Eldoret.

The technology has been deployed on a two kilometer stretch within the hilly Iten area, and a 16 kilometers on the flat south Moiben route in Eldoret, Rerille said

Safaricom and Vodafone are working with a group of special scientist, the world’s best marathon runners and other industry players in a project dubbed ‘SUB2’ ( to help break that record.

The SUB2 project is led by Yannis Pitsiladis, who is a Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Brighton and also a member of the International Olympics Committee’s Medical and Scientific Commission.

The SUB2 aims at leaving a legacy for athletics by demonstrating how science and technology can fairly help athletes improve their performance.

Vodafone has built a SUB2 Smart Watch App. to provide telemetry with enhanced location tracking using mobile networks.

Ethiopian elite marathoner, Kenenisa Bekele, used the App. as his digital pacemaker in the 2017 Berlin marathon.

Working with partners, Vodafone have now enhanced a series of body sensors to communicate with the SUB2 over a mobile network.

The sensors will give coaches live access to real-time data as athletes train, helping them understand the root causes of injuries or degradation in performance as well as how these can be avoided.

Source: Kenya News Agency