Men’s hockey hopes to shed youthful image soon

first_imgFreshman forward Brendan Woods, among other freshmen, is steadily catching on the speed of the college level, posting one goal and three assists in the first month of his career.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin men’s hockey team is ready to put any references to their youthful, inexperienced roster to rest.But when there are nine freshmen on the team – with a total of 20 underclassmen – those stunting adjectives are bound to stick around no matter the record, conference standing or upset win.Head coach Mike Eaves knows the only way to get past the youthful tag is that the Badgers have to start focusing on the details.“It’s attention to detail,” Eaves said. “Little things like protecting the puck along the wall, not getting beat on wall to the front of the net, having good stick position, widening your base so you’re stronger in the corner. It’s a matter of being there, but not just being there – being effective. That’s a step from being youthful to effective, which is part of being an upperclassmen.”And the message has been sent down the lines of the team as well.“I don’t think there’s one specific thing, we just have to grow in all aspects of our game,” junior forward Ryan Little said. “Just be more consistent and you know that’s something that comes with time. I think every week we’re just going out there to improve.”While Eaves would not say that any of his freshmen are playing beyond their years just yet, some have already begun to stand out early.Eaves plays two freshmen goalies – Landon Peterson and Joel Rumpel – to mind the net Fridays and Saturdays. Eaves has said he considers the two to be neck and neck, though Rumpel has the statistical advantage with 157 saves for a .913 save percentage and a 3-1-1 record. Peterson isn’t far behind, with 140 saves for a .875 save percentage, but his record is only 1-4-0.But, of course, when only freshmen tend goal, they’re going to stick out. And the young cubs are finally starting to make an impact on offense as well.Straight out of high school, forward Joe LaBate is already playing on the top line and has posted eight points on the season. LaBate scored his first goal in UW’s season opener, netting the game-tying goal to send it into overtime. The Badgers went on to lose 3-2 to Northern Michigan.“We didn’t know for sure [how he would handle college hockey] because he’s a high school kid,” freshman forward Brendan Woods said. “It’s a big step. From juniors it’s a lot easier because you’re playing with the older kids. LaBate, I think he’s showed up the most. He came out on the first line. That’s pretty impressive for all of us to see.”LaBate has notched two goals this season, and Woods has started to make a difference with one goal himself. The only other freshman with more goals is Matt Paape, who has netted three.Paape has played one less game, but in the past two weeks no one would have guessed it. The Appleton native has scored a goal in each of Wisconsin’s last three games.Eaves credits Paape’s success to the game experience he’s had so far.“The young man that jumps off the page after this past weekend is a guy like Matthew Paape,” Eaves said. “I think the game is starting to slow down for him. It’s not a rat race; it’s starting to slow down. Even in the early games you could tell he was hurrying things.“When he should have had more poise and confidence with the puck, he was chipping or shooting it too early. Now he’s starting to slow down.”A month into the season, after three overtime losses, a series sweep at home and finally picking up a point on the road, the Badgers have learned a lot about themselves as a team.For the freshmen, they got a crash course about playing college hockey.“I think even from summer we’ve come a long way,” Paape said. “We’re getting stronger, getting our feet under ourselves on the ice, getting accustomed to the speed of the game, the big bodies [and] just being able to make smart plays out there. I think we’ve come a long way.”Little also noted the freshmen’s progress and was impressed by their willingness to learn.“I think every single one of them has grown a lot,” he said. “They come in, a lot of them are pretty raw and they get their feet wet pretty quick. There are a lot of them in the lineup every night. They’re all willing to go out there and work and learn. That’s what I’ve been most impressed with, just their willingness to go out there and learn.”While the freshmen certainly have to catch up to the speed of the game, Woods said it’s an overall team effort. The best help is from the guys who have already been there.“I think it’s more of the older guys helping us out,” Woods said. “They’ve been in our spots before so they kind of make it easier on us and show us the ropes. It makes it a lot easier when you get on the ice.”Ultimately, learning the game, growing and shedding that youthful image all come from game experience and the situations Wisconsin puts itself in.Eaves said he believes that every weekend has shown a fair amount of growth for his team, especially for one so young.“Every time we play – when we played against North Dakota it was an acceleration, going up and playing at a place we just did is an acceleration, because that’s kind of a wacky atmosphere up there – every weekend presents its own way of helping these kids grow up because every weekend was the first,” Eaves said. “It’s all brand new. It’s exciting, but it’s all brand new.”And hosting No. 1 Minnesota this weekend will be no different. But it will be a chance for UW to finally shed those young modifiers that currently define it.“I think it’s going to be a lot easier with our crowd. Minnesota is probably our biggest rival,” Woods said. “It just gives you a little jump in your step and makes you want to wake up in the morning. … We want to show that we can play with the best.”last_img read more

Wisconsin basketball recruit named MVP in international tournament

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s recruiting class of 2013 generated a buzz that hasn’t been seen around the program in some time. And after the seasons that freshmen Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig put together in Wisconsin’s run to the Final Four, it’s no wonder why they were so highly touted coming out of high school.It is safe to say that the 2014 recruiting class isn’t carrying as much publicity around it as last year’s class did, but the lone Badgers’ incoming scholarship player is doing his best to change that.Ethan Happ, a power forward out of Taylor Ridge, Ill., is the only commit in Wisconsin’s incoming freshman class. Happ is a three-star recruit who is ranked 35th at his position, according to ESPN’s Recruiting Nation.Happ doesn’t bring the buzz that Hayes or Koenig brought along with them to Madison, but he is getting there.Representing the United States in the under-18 boys tournament in Mannheim and Viernheim, Germany, Happ helped lead his country to its first championship appearance in the tournament since 1996 while averaging a double-double with 19.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.Happ went for 29 points and 13 rebounds in a semifinal game against Serbia and put up 20 points and boards in the United States’ loss in the championship game to Italy.The 6-foot-8 forward’s performance earned him the MVP trophy for the tournament.Happ will try to break into a lineup that lost only one key player, Ben Brust, and a Wisconsin team that is picked by many to be in the top-five in national pre-season polls.last_img read more

Kootenay Youth Soccer campers meet Whitecaps Marco Bustos

first_imgPlayers at the Whitecaps Kootenay Youth Soccer Camp got to meet a rising star on the Major League Soccer Team when Marco Bustos paid a visit to the Nelson. The 20-year-old central attacking midfielder who was named ‘Caps 2013 Whitecaps FC Most Promising Player, joined Whitecaps FC Residency in September 2011 after last playing for FC Northwest in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.”Kids were extremely excited,” said Brett Adams, Kootenay Regional Head coach with the Whitecaps.”It’s not every day that they get to meet a player that has played for their country.” More than 100 players attended the Whitecaps camp held at the Lakeside Soccer Pitch. “The main focus is to give all the player a fun experience of soccer,” Adams said when asked about the focus of the camp.”We look to teach them skills in the morning and then in the afternoon we play a World Cup were players are put into teams. “This seems to be a huge hit with the players.”Tim Parker, who now starts with the MLS club on defence, attended the camp in 2015.The Whitecaps move onto Cranbrook Monday for a camp before returning to the West Kootenay for a stop July 25-29 at Twin Rivers Fields in Castlegar.On July 19-22, the Whitecaps host a Prospects Camp in Nelson.For more information go to the Whitecaps Youth Camps link.last_img read more

There’s life left in them Nelson Leafs

first_imgJust when fans thought it was time to begin drafting the eulogy on 2016-17 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season for the Nelson Leafs the Buds showed some life.Dale Howell had three points to lead the Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the Fernie Ghostriders in KIJHL action Saturday night in the East Kootenay City.Not only does the win snap a six game winless streak but also the Leafs keep their hopes over overtaking the Grand Forks Border Bruins for third spot in the Murdoch Division.last_img

How many games in a row have the A’s won? We’ll let you know in four months

first_imgOAKLAND — The A’s will enter play Tuesday with a 10-game winning streak. Or is it 11? Or 7?Check back in September — Sept. 6, to be exact.That’s when the A’s will resume their May 19 game against the Detroit Tigers. The game was suspended in the bottom of the seventh inning with the A’s leading 5-3.If they hold on to win that game, the A’s, in a back-to-the-future kind of thing, will have entered Tuesday’s game with am 11-game winning streak. But if the A’s end up losing that …last_img

Sun City golf courses still top notch

first_imgAt the 18th hole on the Gary Player course,aiming for the green on the other side ofthe lake. The view over the lake at the Lost Citygolf course.(Images: Chris Thurman)MEDIA CONTACTS • Joanne Isaacs, Communications Manager:Nedbank Group Communications+27 11 295 8045 or +27 78 800 4989RELATED ARTICLES• KZN golf course on par with the best• SA golf prodigy wins British Open• Sport in South Africa• Kerzner back with new hotelChris ThurmanSun City occupies an ambiguous place in the minds of many South Africans.On the one hand, it symbolises glitz, glamour and family fun, while the architectural excesses of the Lost City complex represent hotel magnate Sol Kerzner’s entrepreneurial daring.On the other hand, located in the former black homeland of Bophuthatswana, it has its origins in apartheid’s Bantustan system. In recent years – as other casino complexes have sprung up around the country – it has been unable to escape the tawdriness often associated with gambling venues.The golf courses at Sun City evoke similarly two-sided responses.During South Africa’s sporting isolation, the Million Dollar Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club was one of few events able to lure famous sportsmen to the country. Post-apartheid, the tournament, in its later incarnation as the Nedbank Golf Challenge, flourished, as audiences delighted in watching local heroes Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and company take on the world’s best on home turf.The Lost City course was added in 1993, boasting crocodile-filled water hazards and Africa-shaped greens.Yet nagging questions remain. Should Seve Ballesteros, Bernard Langer, Ian Woosnam and company have come to the country with the apartheid regime still firmly in place? Where do we place South African golfers such as David Frost and Fulton Allem, who won in the late 1980s and early 1990s? Was the Lost City layout conceived as a top quality course or a gimmick to attract tourists daunted by the championship Gary Player Country Club course? Will the Nedbank Golf Challenge struggle, as it has done in recent years, to attract the world’s top professional golfers?With the likes of Robert Allenby, Anders Hansen, Eduardo Molinari, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and local favourites Louis Oosthuizen, Tim Clark, Ernie Els, and Retief Goosen travelling to Sun City in December for the 30th edition of the tournament, the last question doesn’t seem to need an answer.Million dollar courseFor most amateurs, serious golfers and weekend hackers alike, there is another important question: will I get my money’s worth? After all, the cost of playing at either course is substantial. Both have more or less maintained their places in Golf Digest magazine’s rankings over the years – the Gary Player is a regular second, the Lost City fluctuates between the ‘teens and twenties – and with this status comes high expectations.I was unsure what to expect when I joined a party of twelve guys driving west out of Johannesburg for a golfing weekend (unsure about the golf, that is; I took it for granted that there would be plenty of banter, braaivleis and probably also some bad luck at the blackjack tables). We were a group of 30-somethings, of the generation who grew up listening to the theme song of the Million Dollar Challenge as the soundtrack to a first week of school holidays spent glued to the television:“It’s the million-dollar shotSo give it all you’ve gotAnd you could be the hero of the day!It’s the million-dollar shotAnd if you play it hotYou could have a million dollars coming your way…”As a result, the Gary Player course had become sacred terrain to us – our adolescent golfing heroes walked on its fairways, its bunkers and water hazards and greens were their epic battle grounds. We had spent years imagining what it would be like to play its iconic holes: the par-five ninth with the island green, the equally lengthy 14th with the enormous bunker and its deadly love grass, the 18th with its dog-leg to the left over the lake and fountain.In real life, the course did not disappoint. It was in fine but unforgiving condition; the kikuyu grass rough, which had been kept fairly short for the 2009 Nedbank Golf Challenge, had grown syrupy-thick by the time we visited some months later. Never mind the bushveld – what really makes a round at the Gary Player so tough is the wide fringe of unmowed kikuyu around the regulation terrain. Miss the narrow fairways by more than a couple of metres and your ball can be plugged or even disappear.At under 6 000m off the club tees, it isn’t a long course, although the championship tees add another 500m, and that is doubled off the pro tees. But the Black Knight, as Player is known, has designed a course requiring accuracy.While the ninth, 14th and 18th may lend themselves to impressive television camera angles, amateur golfers find unexpected challenges at the par-three fourth, where their shots fly downhill over water, a limited view of the fairway from the 11th tee, and bunkers in the line of a decent drive on the 17th, as well as the watersports lake skirting the approach to the green.Our caddies, who knew the course backwards, kept us entertained with light-hearted quips when they realised that we weren’t scratch golfers.Tranquil settingThe Lost City golfing experience is markedly different in some respects – carts are compulsory, for instance – but the service is similarly polished. After struggling through the first eight holes under the baking Pilansberg sun, there’s a certain comfort in being asked to place your halfway house order before you walk onto the ninth tee.The view from the Lost City clubhouse, over the lake that divides the ninth and 18th fairways, is picturesque. One can’t necessarily say the same thing of the view towards the clubhouse, which is built of the same artificial orange-brown rocks as the Valley of the Waves and other structures in the vicinity.But if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, the sight of the Palace of the Lost City‘s turrets rising above thorn tree scrub is pretty impressive. There are vistas aplenty over the bush, koppies and savannah plains that surround and sometimes form part of the course, especially from the elevated tees of numerous holes on the back nine (11 and 13 to 16).The pleasure of playing the Lost City course is, in fact, partly attributable to distractions from golf: the birdlife is abundant, it isn’t unusual to see some variety of buck or a metre-long monitor lizard crossing the cart path, and even the odd elephant can be spotted brooding behind the out-of-bounds fence. It goes without saying that the inhabitants of the crocodile pit at the signature 13th hole are a drawcard, to overseas golfers in particular.Nonetheless, while it is a less punishing layout than the Gary Player, this is one of those courses about which the most mundane advice remains applicable: take a lot of balls.The description of the Lost City as a desert course – and when you’re standing in the larger bunkers, it can feel like the Kalahari – shouldn’t be taken as an indication of wide open space. There is plenty of thick stuff lining the fairways, and precision driving is a challenge if you’re playing off the back tees, in which case the course measures an intimidating 6 900m in length.So, back to some of those tricky questions. Can the twin Sun City courses be both top-quality challenges for serious golfers and ‘fun’ for those with high handicaps? Undoubtedly. Have they left behind the taint of apartheid in the 1980s? Happily. And will they continue to offer excellent value for the locals and international visitor? If the experience of twelve high-handicapping, admittedly nostalgic, yet not easily impressed golfers on tour is the benchmark, then the answer is a resounding yes.last_img read more

The joy of music reigns in Kinshasa’s veins

first_img“If you listen carefully you can hear the African rhythms in Beethoven,” says Armand Diangienda. (Image: Vincent Boisot)• Maren BorchersFor Artists+49 30 414 78 17 [email protected]• Cementing peace in the DRC • Goema music goes classical • Building bridges with classical music • South African youth orchestra set to wow Europe • Limpopo Orchestra releases albumSulaiman PhilipBeethoven’s 9th Symphony – The Symphony of Joy – is the sound of happiness captured. It is an everlasting moment of bliss. The second chair violins and cellos set the background, the rich sound building hesitantly. Then the first violin breaks free, with the orchestra, building an unstoppable wave as the themes crash into each other, big and loud and unstable.Facing the orchestra, marking the tempo, a look of pure joy on his face, is the conductor, Armand Diangienda. The fourth movement begins, repeating the themes of the first three. Instruments transition to a solo baritone, the lone singer joined by the chorus. Their voices rise, bouncing off the green walls of the courtyard. And then silence, murmurs of irritation as the lights go out and the power dies, and generators are repaired by the light of mobile phones.The 9th is a remarkable and – at the time of its composition – revolutionary ode to hope, joy and brotherhood. Listening to it is inspiring and one of the most rousing musical experiences one can have in a concert hall. But this performance is not in a European concert hall; it is taking place in the courtyard of musical director, composer and conductor Diangienda in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), performed by Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (OSK). It is the only symphony orchestra in central Africa and the only all-black orchestra in the world. Even though it has been performing for two decades, it was only recently that anyone outside of Kinshasa learned of its existence.An unassuming building, its hallways and courtyard are filled with self-taught classical musicians playing patched-up or made-from-scratch instruments. Instead of the local soukous or ndombolo music, the OSK plays the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelsohn and Stravinsky. “Here in our country, music is listened to so that you can dance. It is very rare that it is listened to just for meditation, but I think classical music takes you really far,” Diangienda told a German documentary crew in 2010.Sounds of the cityIn the bustling cacophony of Kinshasa, even as the sun goes down, the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste competes with the sounds of the city: the blaring hooters, the stamp of feet on the hardened mud, and the voices of pedestrians just on the other side of the wall.For the 200-strong orchestra and choir this nightly ritual of practice is an escape from the grinding poverty of their daily lives. Josephine, raising a son on her own, rises at 4.30am every day to sell omelettes in the local market. In the evening, she turns up religiously for rehearsals that go on for hours. “When I sing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, it takes me far away. When I turn from mother to musician I feel I have left the planet. I am not in the Congo anymore,” she says.“They come because they’re passionate about music,” says Diangienda, the man who founded the OSK 20 years ago. “It gives them something more in terms of confidence, of feeling capable and of being able to contribute to a collective endeavour.”Watch Peter Gabriel perform his song “In Your Eyes” with the OSK:National heroDiangienda comes from a line of men considered heroes of the nation. As a descendant of Simon Kimbangu, the healer and religious leader who died in 1951, he is considered a living god. Imprisoned for sedition by the Belgian colonial government, Kimbangu spent 30 years in jail for founding the Kimbanguist Church, an African interpretation of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. After his death, Simon Kimbangu Kiangani, his son and Diangienda’s father, took the reins of the church and grew it into the largest in the DRC.Colonial Kinshasa was a place of dreams and fascination for Europeans. It was a violent city where European ideas of Africa became real and African dreams of a cultured west fed off each other. Kimbangu’s message and warning that one day “the black man will become white and the white man will become black” earned him a death sentence.In large parts of Africa, classical music is still considered a foreign import, a vestige of colonialism. When he founded the orchestra in 1994 it was the biggest misconception Diangienda had to fight. He argued instead that music was universal, that classical music was an expression of the culture of the DRC. And with his lineage, the former airline pilot found people willing to listen to his argument.For adherents of the church founded by his grandfather, The Church of Jesus Christ on Earth (the Kimbanguist Church), music is a form of spiritual wealth. “My grandfather claimed that to sing was to pray twice. But what inspires me even more is that my grandfather’s message was a universal one, a message of peace, of love, of reaching out for others and bringing people together.”Night-time rehearsalsWith no sheet music and no one trained to play the instruments he did not have, Diangienda recruited 12 members of his father’s church to his project. He found five violins, in need of repair, and began spreading the gospel of classical music in Kinshasa. “We rehearsed at night to accommodate people’s working hours. One person played for 20 minutes, then gave the instrument to the next person for their turn.”In the German documentary, Kinshasa Symphony, a young violinist describes the first time he picked up the instrument. Unsure of what he has in his hands, he says: “It was such joy to touch the instrument. I broke strings. I couldn’t get music out of it.” It is not a challenge from which he shies away. Like the choir which learned German for a performance of Carmina Burana, he embraces the test. In the end, he adds: “I dream of doing great things with my music.”Débrouillardise is a French word that means “making ends meet” or “surviving”; it’s a word Diangienda uses to describe the lives of his musicians –men and women who struggle and hustle daily to make ends meet. But it is a spirit that has helped to grow the orchestra. Instruments that could not be borrowed had to be reverse engineered and built by a self-taught instrument maker. Bicycle brake wire became violin strings. Scores were copied out by hand after being deciphered through hours of listening to CDs. “I couldn’t read music, but driven by my passion, and with help from my friends, I gradually learned. We are like my grandfather who thought the impossible and just did it.”The self-devised techniques to build and repair the orchestras instruments are unorthodox and effective. (Image: Vincent Boisot)Congolese and classical mash upOver 20 years Diangienda has strayed from the path of Brahms and Beethoven. For the 50th anniversary of Congo independence the orchestra mixed Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and Orff’s Carmina Burana with a selection of Congolese folk music in a performance in front of 3 000 appreciative Congolese. Arranged by Diangienda, it sounded like Gershwin with an African beat.“Everything we’re learning by playing classical music allows us to enrich our own music as well and immortalise it by writing it down,” Diangienda says. He and the orchestra’s first violinist, Heritier Malumbi, and bassoonist, Balongi, have already composed several symphonic works full of rich Congolese flavours.Last year was the biggest year for the OSK. The orchestra completed its first international tour, with performances in New York, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. And Diangienda received an honour once bestowed on the composers Brahms, Rossini, Stravinsky and Wagner when he became an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society.He has now broken ground for a musical academy in Kinshasa. He hopes that the children who come after will help spread the DRC’s rich culture through classical music. “That is my dream, to create a musical school where kids and adults will learn how to write music and play instruments. They’ll do symphonies or sonatas which will be classical but completely African.”last_img read more

WordPress Issues Critical Update

first_imgWordPress has detected and fixed a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability. WordPress 3.04 contains the fix that founder Matt Mullenweg calls “critical.” Hosted customers don’t need to worry, as security updates happen automatically for them.XSS attacks can be used to steal login information or other sensitive information from visitors to a particular site. According to ReadWriteWeb staff hacker Tyler Gilles, this is similar to XSS vulnerability that affected Twitter users recently. He notes that WordPress’s fix is similar to Twitter’s.The vulnerability was found in KSES, WordPress’s HTML sanitation library. WordPress was first notified of the issue by Mauro Gentile and Jon Cave.Mullenweg writes that although the WordPress team has given the update “a lot of thought and review” it would like to have the update reviewed by as many security researchers as possible and invites everyone to look at the changeset.Developers wanting to avoid XSS vulnerabilities in their own projects may wish to check out XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Prevention Cheat Sheet from The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). According to OWASP, XSS is the second most common security vulnerability on the web. Tags:#hack#tips Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Why You Love Online Quizzescenter_img klint finley How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Related Posts last_img read more

Northeast Green Building Council Confab April 4

first_imgDetails were skimpy, but organizers of a regional meeting of U.S. Green Building Council chapters promised an opportunity to learn and network at the Upper Northeast Regional Summit in Burlington, VT, on April 4.The announcement didn’t include a list of speakers or workshops. Instead, it said the event would be “a wicked amazing gathering for one night, one day, with over 100 extraordinary people, all there in one place — storytellers, innovators and inventors, ne’er do wells and troublemakers, designers and divas, the marvelous, the maddening, the number crunchers and artists, the wacky and the wonderful, the creative and the very curious, propelled and rocketed with vision and action.”Thursday, April 3, was billed as an optional Vermont chapter event where participants could “network and learn.” Friday will see “extremely extraordinary experimental events.”The cost is $77.The summit is hosted by USBC chapters in the six New England states plus upstate New York. Accommodations are at the Hilton Burlington, according to the Connecticut chapter, which sent out the announcement.last_img read more

Maintool can now make any watch into a smartwatch

first_imgHow Wearables Will Take Health Monitoring to th… Tags:#Apple#apple smartwatch#Apple Watch#Classi#Maintool#smartwatches#Swiss watches#wearables You Think Your Employees WANT to Wear That Devi… Cate Lawrence Related Posts center_img In the increasingly crowded market place of smart watches, a small niche of companies is offering an alternative to the standard designs by offering smart watch bands as an alternative to smartwatch faces.One of these is Madrid- and Paris-based startup Maintool, who have created the Classi watch band, a wearable which enables users to make their regular watches “smart.”I met with co-founder and CEO Hussain Ahamed and Community Manager Jody Serrano to learn more.“We’re giving you the chance to keep your own watch but still benefit from the same functionalities as some of the best wearable technologies,” Ahamed said.The smart watch band can be attached to any watch face. It offers a range of functionalities: sensors within the watch band measure heart rate, track footsteps and calories burned (pedometer), skin and ambient temperatures, alert through discrete vibrations and communicate with apps for iOS and Android. You can navigate to your destination hands-free and send out for help with the push of a button. Classi also has a phone loss prevention feature and will vibrate strongly if you forget your phone.Serrano notes that “Many times, people can’t tell the difference between a Classi strap and a regular watch strap. We switched out the microUSB port we used in our first prototypes for a custom magnetic charger, which greatly reduced the thickness of our watch straps. The new size makes our technology even more discreet.”Enter the smart watchbandSales of Swiss watches are on the incline with global wearable tech devices overtaking them in Q4 of 2015, according to figures released by market researcher Strategy Analytics.This marked the first time the wearable tech devices have overtaken their luxurious counterparts. Much of the credit is attributed to the Apple smartwatch. Further, a 2015 report by Deloitte into the Swiss watch industry revealed a lack of appreciation of the challenges to the industry by smart watches with only 25% of Swiss watch executives considered smartwatches to be a competitive threat.In response to the challenge of the economic outlook of the industry, 41% of respondents expressed pessimism with most attributing the economic challenges to weakened demand in China and Hong Kong and the strength of the Swiss franc. It suggests an industry that is in denial with Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics stating:“The Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to the development of smartwatches. The Swiss watch industry has been sticking its head in the sand and hoping smartwatches will go away.”However, the upward trend of smart watches has begun to decline. IDC’s second quarter wearable sales report for 2016 revealed a 27 percent decline in smart wearables and during this time Apple had a significant decline in wearable sales. Sales dropped from 3.6 million in the same quarter last year to 1.6 million this year, a 56 percent downturn. Perhaps it’s time for smart watchbands to strike.Maintaining that Swiss watch heritageAhamed believes that their smart watchband can actually preserve the heritage factor of the Swiss watch industry, noting that their conversations with Swiss watch makers have been positive:” The CEOs and board members are acknowledging that they didn’t get on board with quart [Mechanical movements are typically chosen over quartz movements for luxury watches because of the level of quality and craftsmanship]. They admit ‘We’re Swiss so we’re going to be slow but we’re interested and we’re taking notice’. The beauty of Classi is that you’re not changing your industrial model. Instead you’re allowing consumers to change to our strap.”He also contends that:“Every watch has a personality, we want people to be able to express themselves and their personal style. Smart watches don’t have a lot of personality, there’s so much more to the watch than something that just tells the time, for a lot of people it’s about the design, the brand, the culture, Smart watches today destroy this. Classi has intergenerational appeal and we believe that for the first time, this is a product that our parents and grandparents will actually wear.”It’ll be interesting to see how sales of smart watch bands fare. They could be key to bridging the gap between a very traditional industry of dedicated craftspeople and future focused technology. 4 Ways Big Data & VR Are Changing Professi… The Key to Mass Adoption of Wearableslast_img read more