Zebra, NFL up ante on player stats via RFID system

Zebra, NFL up ante on player stats via RFID system

Summary: RFID transmitters will be placed inside shoulder pads to track player position, speed and distance during Thursday Night Football games.

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Zebra Technologies and the NFL are teaming up on a real-time location system that will use radio frequency identification transmitters inside a player's shoulder pads to track position, speed and distance to create a new category of statistics to track.

The technology will be deployed in 17 stadiums for the 2014 NFL season. Zebra's sports tracking technology will be showcased in the stadiums hosting Thursday Night Football games and capture data from all 32 teams. CBS, owner of ZDNet, will broadcast 8 games of Thursday Night Football in 2014.

According to Zebra, the system is largely based on radio-frequency identification (RFID), which to date has been used most frequently in industrial supply chains along with bar codes. RFID transmitters will be placed inside shoulder pads to track real time data. Then the information will go into a database to spit out real-time stats.

For Zebra, the high-profile NFL partnership gives the company a nice way to showcase its systems. Zebra is in the process of buying Motorola Solutions enterprise unit for $3.45 billion to become a key Internet of things player.

Given the popularity of the NFL and fantasy football, it's just a matter of time before things like miles per hour, acceleration and distance run become key items to track.

Initially, Zebra's system will provide NFL broadcasters more fodder to talk about. Here are some examples of the data Zebra's system will provide and the ways broadcasters will use them.

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Topics: Innovation, Enterprise Software, Networking

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6 comments
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  • NFL takes it to the next level

    Well, they use foot ball games to show national security state propaganda promoting Big Brother. Then they have the TSA show up at ball games to grope patrons. Now we have them desensitizing the public with the benefits of RFID and tracking movements. Look how cool it is!

    Granted, it's an interesting feature to help outline plays and what happened on the field. However, not all of us are fooled and know the NFL is just a tool for he system.

    Check out the film, "Roller Ball." The original.
    Jow_Blow
  • To the next level.

    Well, they use foot ball games to show national security state propaganda promoting Big Brother. Then they have the TSA show up at ball games to grope patrons. Now we have them desensitizing the public with the benefits of RFID and tracking movements. Look how cool it is!

    Granted, it's an interesting feature to help outline plays and what happened on the field. However, not all of us are fooled and know the NFL is just a tool for he system.

    Check out the film, "Roller Ball." The original.
    Jow_Blow
    • Are you being serious?

      Are you actually being serious?
      Buster Friendly
      • LOL, I believe they are...

        explain to them it is "football" and not "foot ball".
        they are probably confusing it with "roller ball"
        LOL
        thekman58
      • Whether serious or not...

        ...he is correct. However, most of us just want to be entertained by one of the most engaging sports ever invented and not be bothered by all that Orwellian stuff. I just wonder how far we'll let 'em go with that security-in-lieu-of-freedom stuff before we stand up against it for the sake of the unjustly oppressed.
        nwtim
  • I don't watch football, but

    This is not something I want to see spread around. Why would the players agree to this kind of real-time tracking in the first place? Interesting technology it is.
    dhays