Nike’s New Self-Lacing Shoe Has a Service Tether

It appears some people are pretty excited about Nike’s new Adapt BB self-tying basketball shoes. Just slip them on and tighten them up through an app on your phone (don’t worry, you can also use the buttons on the sides of the shoes). People who have tried them say they are very comfortable and that the self-lacing mechanism is quite fast.

The self-lacing part is cool and took a lot of engineering work, but that’s not the most interesting thing about these shoes. What is, is their connection to the Internet of Things — and the fact that these shoes are part-product and part-service, thanks to their “service tether.”

Connect with a Service Tether

A service tether is an embedded product intelligence connected to the cloud so that a product can communicate with the company behind the product. Service tethers turn products into services.

Service tethers also do a bunch of interesting things. They allow us to tweak and customize our products through mobile and other digital interfaces. They allow companies to update the product with firmware updates over time. Service tethers also generate a constant stream of data from our usage of products.

What’s more, you don’t just connect with footwear through Nike Adapt. You connect with Nike. 

The Promise of Intelligent Product

That data can be used by us to track our performance while using the product. In this sense, it’s no different from using a Fitbit watch to track our health data. Eventually, the Nike Adapt platform will help us track steps, distance, and speed with more accuracy than the Fitbit. It may even help us to diagnose problems with the way we’re moving around, whether that’s around the track or on the court.

We won’t be the only ones looking at that data, of course. It seems inevitable that Nike will gain quite a bit from the massive flow of anonymized data coming from our shoes — little digital footprints trailed behind us in a virtual landscape.

Nike may even figure out business models for working with that data in ways that aren’t so anonymous. They might figure out ways to provide coaching to fix our stride or help us improve our overall health based on our usage data. And, of course, that data will also help the company to come up with an even better fit for your next pair of service-tethered shoes.

4 thoughts on “Nike’s New Self-Lacing Shoe Has a Service Tether”

    1. Gideon Rosenblatt – Gideon Rosenblatt writes about the relationship between technology and humans at <a href="http://www.the-vital-edge.com/" rel="author">the Vital Edge</a>. His mission these days is to help his readers see business as the code behind the code of the planet’s next advance in intelligence. He thinks and writes a lot about purpose, value, and equity. Gideon ran a social enterprise called Groundwire for ten years, providing technology and engagement consulting to environmental organizations. Before that, he worked in various stints at Microsoft for ten years, including marketing, product development, as a product unit manager, and as the founder of CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. Fresh out of college, he consulted for US companies in China for four years, and yes, his Chinese is now very rusty. Gideon received an MBA with a focus in marketing from Wharton. He now lives in Seattle with his wife and two boys, and is active on <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/1/105103058358743760661/" rel="author">Google+</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/gideonro" rel="author">Twitter</a>.

      I didn’t make that connection. Nice one, Bill.

  1. Gideon Rosenblatt – Gideon Rosenblatt writes about the relationship between technology and humans at <a href="http://www.the-vital-edge.com/" rel="author">the Vital Edge</a>. His mission these days is to help his readers see business as the code behind the code of the planet’s next advance in intelligence. He thinks and writes a lot about purpose, value, and equity. Gideon ran a social enterprise called Groundwire for ten years, providing technology and engagement consulting to environmental organizations. Before that, he worked in various stints at Microsoft for ten years, including marketing, product development, as a product unit manager, and as the founder of CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. Fresh out of college, he consulted for US companies in China for four years, and yes, his Chinese is now very rusty. Gideon received an MBA with a focus in marketing from Wharton. He now lives in Seattle with his wife and two boys, and is active on <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/1/105103058358743760661/" rel="author">Google+</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/gideonro" rel="author">Twitter</a>.

    The problem that many incumbents have moving into technology:

    Nike’s self-lacing sneakers turn into bricks after faulty firmware update

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