The saying of function over fashion has been said pretty much since the beginning of snowboarding. It’s something that resonates with the purists that want the performance from what they use without all the visual bells and whistles. Thankfully we’ve reached a point where function and fashion have melded well and we get stylish functional gear. Now we’re reaching a point where digital technology and functional technology are trying to synch themselves together. This opens the debate of functional over digital and where do we go from here.
How a binding works is pretty much universal and fully defined. You attach them to your board with between 2 and 4 screws, you put your foot in, and the straps hold you down. As long as they fit your boot they do the job they’re intended for. It’s a very meat and potatoes relationship.
Cerevo, a Japanese tech company with a U.S. office in Redmond, Washington has decided to enter the snowboarding binding market. Inside the realm of the snowboard industry this is an area that can make or break a company. It requires creative marketing, an innovative product, and the support of snowboarders. The XON SNOW-1 pictured above has already missed all three of those points.
When you launch a snowboard product, whom do you launch it to? Generally it would be snowboarding enthusiasts as well as to members of the snowboarding media/industry, not to the digital tech industry. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is not where you’re going to get in front of your target audience of snow sliding enthusiasts. Yet, Cerevo did that and the non snowboarding media wrote about it. Which of course the digital technology journalists made it out like it was well received innovative idea.
Clearly after watching the above video from PC World, it is clear that they don’t want snowboarders support, they want the tech industries. That’s fine, except this is a snowboarding product that also has to be a functional product. In this regard to their launch they’ve already lost. They aren’t listed as exhibitors at the annual SIA or ISPO trade shows.
Looking at their marketing they’re yet another company going to the ‘self help’ route by throwing a bunch of lights, sensors, and bluetooth into a product. Will it help you ride better? Maybe, but from a long time riders stand point this looks more like a distraction. Visions reminiscent of people fumbling with their GoPro saying “is it on” come to mind. Below is Cerevo’s explanation about why they created this.
BACKGROUND FOR DEVELOPMENT
It’s been 40 years after snowboarding became a popular sports. A lot of advancement made on materials or shapes of the board but not a big innovation had occurred on the point how to improve the skill. We started to plan this product from the view point how consumer electronics developer can cause innovation in snowboarding experience. We used all our know-hows to develop an IoT gear.
It is important to understand how you put loads on the board, and how you shift the center of the gravity and how board is distorting but those information are not easy to grasp not only for beginners but also for professionals.
Shooting video for riding will help to check the riding form but it was difficult to grasp exact data of loading on the board and balancing the center of gravity.
SNOW-1 is a new sports gear with various sensors to solve above problem. It makes possible to analyze how boarders put loads on the board in real time and gives feedback to boarders to get skilled more easily.
You will enjoy this new experience on snowboarding.
Yes it is true video analysis can help a rider, so will a lesson. If you aren’t actively talking with someone that knows how to actually ride, then all it’s going to do is give you data that you will have to figure out how to sort through and analyze yourself. My suggestion take the $400 to $600 this costs and invest in some lessons to learn to ride. Not only will it give you real hands on feedback, but it will cause you to have to interact with another snowboarding. After all snowboarding is a social activity.
Now looking at the physical product is just a laugh. Do you need more lights, electronics, and wires on something that is out in the elements going through trees and in variable terrain? NO! The saying of less is more will always apply to bindings. The reason they work is they’re so simple. Adding more things adds to the weight which equals more knee fatigue in the long run. It also creates more things that can and will break.
What is hilarious about this whole product is how they plan on launching it in the middle of 2015. That would mean it comes out in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Shops by then have already placed orders for their 15/16 gear before then. This means they aren’t supporting shops, which is a hot button topic in snowboarding already. Judging by how rudimentary their prototypes are there won’t be on hill tests done by real snowboarders for review. Over all this whole thing stinks and it seems like another tech company wishing to distract the rider from what is really at hand which is the practice of snowboarding.
Would you pay the $400 to $600 price tag for a binding, or spend the money on you know more important things like actually snowboarding?