Professional sports have a unique relationship with technology. On one hand, the games are steeped in tradition and one doesn’t make a change to the rules without risking a fan uproar. However, the latest technology has always been a part of the sporting world, enhancing the fan experience and changing things for the better. The National Football League provides us with a great example of this dynamic.
The NFL is taking advantage of one of the technology industry’s biggest trends, The Internet of Things. This trend is responsible for connecting new “things” to the Internet (like kitchen appliances, wearable gadgets, drones, cars, and much more). These connected devices are responsible for collecting data for analytical purposes. Thanks to some innovative thinking on behalf of the NFL, its own players are now connected to The Internet of Things, allowing fans to enjoy the game like never before.
Today, when NFL players suit up for the game, they’re essentially connecting themselves to the Internet, thanks to their shoulder pads being embedded with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensors (computer chips that are about the size of a coin). As the game is played, their actions are tracked by 20 sensor receivers positioned in every NFL stadium. The data collected by the sensors are then fed into a computer that relays real-time information to the Internet regarding the athlete’s field position, speed, acceleration, and distance traveled.
Fans can access this information on the NFL 2015 app for Xbox One and Windows 10. This information is then stored and categorized so that fans can look it up later. The data is also applied to game highlight clips of each player found on the app, a feature called “Next Gen Replay.” For all of you Fantasy Football enthusiasts, this technology adds a whole new level of OCD to an already time-consuming hobby.
For professional sports analysts, this technology is a dream come true. Jill Stelfox, vice president and general manager of Location Solutions for Zebra Technologies, the vendor the NFL uses for the RFID sensors, explains:
What do you need in order to effectively track professional athletes? You need the ability to track a motion in subseconds. Our tags can blink up to 85 times per second.
Zebra’s sensors accomplish this in about 120 milliseconds and are accurate to six inches, allowing analysts the ability to ascertain what’s happening in under a second.
The NFL isn’t the only sports league to utilize IoT technology in new ways. Virtually all of the other major sports leagues are going in this same direction, and the business world is too. The Internet of Things have brought enterprises new and exciting technologies that have the potential to revolutionize how business gets done.
In order for your company to take advantage of this, you’re going to need to be up on the latest IT trends, and your company’s network will have to have enough resources and bandwidth so you can utilize the technology to its fullest potential. Iron Edge can help your business achieve this goal. Call us today at 832-910-9222 before the play clock runs out!