Short List
Category A03. Technological Development
Media Placement STARCOM Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Name Company Position
Norman Groenewegen Cheil Amsterdam Creative
Pepijn Spanjerberg Cheil Amsterdam Creative
Thijs de Boer Cheil Amsterdam Executive Creative Director
Mariska Kloezen Cheil Amsterdam Managing Director
Janita Veenstra Cheil Amsterdam Account Director
Matthijs van Schie Cheil Amsterdam Project Manager
Mario Piepenbrink Mario Piepenbrink B.V. Technical Director
Pirke Bergsma Pirke Productions Agency Producer
Roen Roomberg Roen Roomberg Strategy
Bob van de Gronde Eyeforce Director
Egon Feiner Eyeforce Producer
Aemilia van Lent Eyeforce Producer
Noel Schoolderman Eyeforce Lighting cameraman/D.O.P.
Arthur Neumeier Eyeforce Second cameraman
Johannes de Jong Eyeforce Editor
Charlie Feld Eyeforce Grading
Milan Scholma Eyeforce Online editor
Terry Devine King Terry Devine King Music
Woodwork Woodwork Animation
Jos Wabeke Brandspanking Post Production
Tomas Kamphuis Freewheel Stories Editor
Gerben van Walt Meijer Samsung Electronics Benelux Head of Marketing IMD
Roos Bulder Samsung Electronics Benelux Manager Marketing Communication & Channel Marketing IMD
Femke Koenen Samsung Electronics Benelux Marketing Communication Specialist
Steffany Sprong - van der Hout Samsung Electronics Benelux Social Media Manager
Starcom Starcom Nederland Media Agency
Glasnost Glasnost PR Agency

Why is this work relevant for Innovation?

The Samsung SmartSuit is a unique way to claim sponsorship of two Olympians. For an innovative tech brand saying ‘do what you can’t’, we didn’t choose to just put a logo on a suit. We invented a whole new suit. This tech suit really solves a major problem: measuring in real time – with millimetre accuracy – the most important thing in short track skating, i.e. the distance from the athlete’s hip to the ice surface. It’s highly likely that this is just the beginning of measuring tech innovations in sports.


Samsung Netherlands is sponsoring two Dutch short track skaters. Although the Netherlands has excellent speed skating results at the Olympics (35 Olympic gold medals), short track is nowhere near as successful (1 bronze/0 silver/0 gold). The brief was to develop an idea to claim sponsorship of two Dutch Olympians, and to keep in mind that Samsung stands for: ‘Meaningful progress comes from daring to defy barriers.’ With the tagline: Do what you can’t. Instead of coming up with communication ideas, we chose to develop a tech contribution for the short track skaters. A major hurdle was, therefore, to create a solution that did not interfere with the regular flow of the athletes and their performance, and that required no change in how the athletes normally behave. The tech contribution would only be used during training runs, as deployment during competitive racing would constitute ‘digital doping’.

Describe the idea

For a tech brand saying ‘do what you can’t’, we didn’t choose to just put a logo on a suit. We invented a whole new suit. A suit that enables the skaters and coach to do what they can’t: measure in real time the skater’s height above the ice. This is the most important thing in skating, because the closer you are to the ice, the faster you’ll go. Until now, this has always been judged on gut feeling. We developed the Samsung SmartSuit, equipped with sensors to measure with millimetre accuracy. The suit is designed to send data to the coach’s device, allowing him to communicate adjustments immediately to the skaters. After the press release, the whole world wanted to know all about this secret weapon. The ‘digital doping’ Samsung developed for the Netherlands in the race against the Korean medal contenders in their own country.

What were the key dates in the development process?

21 March 2017: First session with the national short track team coach and human movement scientist. As it turned out one of the most important things in skating is the ice skater’s position. Until now, they have always simply judged this on gut feeling. 30 March 2017: Tests were conducted using Lidar and other infrared technologies to measure the distance from the athlete’s hip to the ice surface. This didn’t work out, due to the uneven and partly liquid nature of the surface, which caused reflection patterns to change. 10 April 2017: Presentation of a new approach to the coach and scientist: a suit with integrated sensors for precise measurement of body posture. April-July: Development of the new approach. A suit with 5 integrated sensors to track body posture, similar to motion capture. With one major difference: our system needed to provide real time metrics, even when the skaters hit 50 kilometres per hour. Whereas most motion capture uses a predetermined model with Inverse Kinematics (IK) restraints to solve the body positional data, our new system uses a different approach. The IK approach is limited in that it does not actually provide accurate skeletal joint location data; it is limited by its artificial restraints. The system we developed retains all the original measurements, allowing for actual skeletal joint location data without restraints. 7 May 2017: Registration of the name: the Samsung SmartSuit. 16 June 2017: Meeting with Sportconfex, the official sportswear producer for the Dutch Olympic skaters. After several prototypes, we created tailor-made short track suits from cut-resistant material. 5 July 2017: Tests of the suit with integrator sensors on ice using a body double for Suzanne Schulting: short track talent Avalon Aardoom. Are the sensors in the right place? Do data arrive immediately? How precise are the measurements? It turns out they’re accurate down to a millimetre! 28 July 2017: Tests of the first prototype with integrated sensors on ice using a body double for Sjinkie Knegt: short track talent Jasper Brunsmann. 17 & 28 August 2017: Tests with Sjinkie Knegt, Suzanne Schulting and the national team coach. Everything worked out very well. At the coach’s request, we made the UX design slightly more compact on the Galaxy S8+ with less simultaneous data so it would be comprehensible at a glance for the coach. August 2017 – February 2018|Winter Olympics The athletes trained on a daily basis using the Samsung SmartSuit during their preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang More about the development process? Visit the timeline at

Describe the innovation/technology

Multiple sources record data that is forwarded to the dedicated on-site server. Sensors in the Samsung SmartSuit are connected to a wireless hub that is also integrated into the suit (at the back). Using Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, this hub communicates directly with the server transmitting telemetry data at regular intervals to the Galaxy S8+. If the athlete’s posture requires correction, the coach can touch a button on the Galaxy S8 screen to send a vibration that the skater can feel immediately on their wrist. It tells the short tracker to skate closer to the ice in order to gain speed. The recorded raw data from the training session is used to track the athletes’ positions in relation to the ice surface, and is used for later analysis in the archival application running on the Galaxy Tab S3. To track the athletes’ positions on the track, the server listens to signals from the unique infrastructure integrated into the ice floor at Thialf Skating Stadium. This system uses RFID capturing loops to determine when an athlete has crossed the loops. This information is used to split the measurements provided by the Samsung SmartSuit into straight and corner sections of the track.

Describe the expectations/outcome

The athletes and coach trained with the suit in secret for months. Just before the Olympics, when the buzz about innovations in sports and PyeongChang was at its peak, we brought it to the press. In no time more than 450 million people knew about Samsung being a real contributing tech sponsor of the Olympic short track skaters. The Olympics were very successful for Sjinkie Knegt (first Dutch silver ever!) and Suzanne Schulting (bronze and first Dutch gold ever!!). We now want to push the technology forward and develop a commercially-available product. The Dutch and Korean sport federations are already keen to use the Samsung SmartSuit for short track and speed skating themselves. Other sport federations (windsurfing, swimming, etc.) are also interested in using this innovation. To be continued!