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Touchdown! Zebra Named to Fast Company Most Innovative Companies List

Posted by Zebra Global

February 18, 2016 at 8:42 AM


This week, Fast Company announced its annual ranking of the world’s Most Innovative Companies for 2016, honoring leading enterprises that exemplify the best in nimble business and impactful innovation. We’re proud to have earned a spot on the Sports Sector list. Take a look back at this adapted blog post from September 2015 on our partnership with the NFL as the “Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider.”

When the NFL kicked off its 2015 season, all players taking the field were sporting a new accessory. You aren’t able to see the nickel-sized RFID sensors embedded in the shoulder pads of every NFL uniform this season, but you’re definitely going to hear about them. These location-tracking devices from Zebra will provide real-time statistics for every movement of every player on every inch of the field in every NFL game this season. As part of its Next Gen Stats initiative, the NFL selected Zebra Technologies as the league’s “Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider.” The Zebra Sports Solution can benefit coaches, players, trainers, broadcasters, and the fans. 

So how does it work? First, receivers were installed in all 31 NFL stadiums, as well as Wembley Stadium for the International Series and the Aloha Stadium for the Pro Bowl. The solution was also deployed for the College Football Playoffs this year.


These receivers are pinged by the two RFID tracking sensors on each player to identify the location, motion, and direction of every player throughout a game. Motion is tracked in subseconds and a player’s location can be found within six inches. These sensor tags can blink up to 85 times per second and transmit motion within 120 milliseconds. If a quarterback is being tightly pressured, the solution will tell the story of exactly when and where.

The RFID tracking technology is the same solution that Zebra provides to 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies, giving them real-time enterprise asset intelligence to increase visibility into their operations.

Zebra is giving the NFL more of this intelligence and insight into their game than ever before, including player distance traveled, maximum and average speeds, and accelerations and decelerations.

And, we can’t forget about the fans. Armchair quarterbacks everywhere will be shouting even more at the TV, as fans will have access to insights on their favorite players with live, to-the-inch broadcast graphics. From preseason through to the Super Bowl for a total of more than 330 games, Zebra’s Sports Solutions monitors every NFL play in real-time.

 Learn more about Zebra's Sports Solutions >>


Topics: Sports, North America, Sports Solutions, NFL, Fast Company, Most Innovative Companies, Zebra Sports