RFID Talk Blog

Zebra unveils athlete tracking system

Zebra Technologies hopes to hit a home run with its new solution geared for professional athletes and sports teams. Zebra launched its next-generation sports statistics, event and visualization platform last month. Zebra MotionWorks has already been deployed by a professional soccer team in the Asia Pacific region, and the solution is being piloted by professional football teams.

Jill Stelfox, General Manager of Location Solutions at Zebra, estimates the North American market for the solution to be at $300 million, including professional sports, horse racing and NASCAR. The worldwide market could reach $750 million.

Zebra MotionWorks™ Sports Solution uses ultra wide band technology to enable sports teams to gain real-time insight into everything that happens on the field of play, providing objective performance data and serving as the engine for accurate visualization to improve athlete and team success.

Once deployed, teams will be able to accurately track the location, speed and direction of athletes in team sports such as football, soccer, and basketball as well as individual and motor sports.

“The ability for organizations to gather real-time visibility into the location and condition of their most valuable assets is absolutely critical to their success,” says Stelfox. “We believe Zebra’s MotionWorks Sports Solution will help professional and collegiate sports teams – as well as their players and business partners – by providing valuable information and tools, such as game statistics, real-time video overlays, and data which will help to enhance team training, evaluation, and fan experience.”

In the soccer use case, each player has an RFID tag attached to a uniform jersey on each shoulder. Receivers located around the edge of the field create a heat map of RF tracking on the field, and data collected is fed into a software program and delivered to team administrators in real time.

The Zebra MotionWorks™ Sports Solution enables benefits in four primary areas: 

  • Competition & Statistics: Comprehensive next-generation data capture and display of player statistics, including player comparisons, both current and over time with archive capabilities
  • Broadcast Enhancements: Easy integration with video embellishment companies for both live broadcast and replay
  • Player Health and Safety: Data capture to support real-time analysis of individual player physiological information
  • Coaching, Scouting and Officiating: Development of state of the art training and evaluation applications

“Our traditional business is focused on automotive and industrial manufacturing, so we took the hardware technology that we use in those markets and added a piece of software to it that we call MotionWorks,” says Stelfox. “We took that same location and motion tracking ability and moved it over to create our player tracking system for athletes.”

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