Startups, especially whose revenue models include advertisements, can leverage Qatar’s strong ICT infrastructure to enhance and expedite growth, according to an official of a US company specialising in wearable technology and connected clothing.
Torq Labs, which is part of the accelerator programme of Qatar SportsTech (QST), is developing the world’s first full-body injury prevention smart clothing line, said the company’s CEO and co-founder Julian Holtzman.
“The innovation environment in Qatar seems very young and ready for steady development and growth,” Holtzman told Gulf Times.
Holtzman said Torq Labs aims to bring research-grade technology into the outdoors to help athletes at all levels of practice and perform smarter and safer. He stressed that athletes in Qatar could benefit from the smart products being developed by the sports tech startup.
According to Holtzman, Torq Labs uses cloud processing and artificial intelligence tools to help people understand their balance and alignment for health and performance safety.
“Having this type of mobile and Internet penetration in the country allows our users to determine if they are healthy and ready to perform wherever they do their exercises in Qatar,” Holtzman further said.
On Qatar’s roll-out of 5G infrastructure across the country, Holtzman said tech companies “will greatly benefit” from these facilities, especially since Torq Labs is using cloud computing and artificial intelligence for digital health and safety.
“With the additional bandwidth capacity provided by 5G, more information can be processed faster, and will have positive downstream effects for businesses, health and outcomes, and technology performance,” he stressed.
Asked about Torq Labs’ relationship with QST, Holtzman said the organisation had provided an active support structure for the company by connecting them with QST’s strategic partners, and providing guidance and mentorship that helped bring clarity when making strategic decisions and in refining pitch presentations.
“Organisations like QST can help startups develop into full-fledged sports tech companies by helping us apply for funding and grants, providing media exposure, and assisting in locking down proof of concept tests with paid users,” Holtzman said.
He said the company has faced some challenges because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic but was able cope and adjust to the needs of the situation. As a clothing manufacturer, Holtzman said Torq Labs was able to modify its supply chain to make protective masks and other PPE to help out with the global shortage.
“We had to pause our efforts with QST and their partners because of the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we look forward to resuming roll out Torq Smart Clothing with the QST partners, as well as the gyms and professional sports teams in Doha,” Holtzman said.