Author Gary Nakanelua

The Future of Football with IoT Analytics

January 31 2020 | Technology, Analytics

IoT Analytics provides some amazing opportunities for our clients. In the future, IoT will prove to be a key differentiator that will influence many aspects of the game.

‘Tis the season for the Super Bowl! It is a time filled with rambunctious revels, harrowing heartbreak, and big business.

In fact, the NFL estimates the host city will generate between $300-500 million per Super Bowl. Last year, the Big Game brought in $1.4 billion in sponsorship deals. And those amazing Super Bowl commercials generate an average of $5 million in advertising revenue per 30 second commercial.

As one of our key solution areas, IoT Analytics provides some amazing opportunities for our clients. However, with Super Bowl LIV right around the corner, we wanted to consider what the future of football could be with IoT Analytics.

There are significant enterprise challenges with IoT, ranging from data capture and security to platform integration and intelligent analytics. Nevertheless, let us imagine what the Next Big Thing for the football players, coaches, and the game could be, courtesy of IoT Analytics.

The Player

In the future, IoT will prove to be a key differentiator for players looking to improve their performance. Rudy was all heart, so can you imagine if he was provided performance analysis?

IoT is already being used to provide historical analysis on player performance. For example, Zebra Technologies is the official on-field player-tracking provider for the NFL. With IoT data from RFID tags placed on player equipment, player statistics are calculated and integrated into media broadcasts to create a richer, more profound fan experience. This tidal wave of new, real-time data will also greatly increase the realism of fan-favorite football video games and open all sorts of new types of fantasy games. This experience extends into the Next Gen Stats program the NFL has created.

IoT analytics has also been integrated into training. From multi-sensor footballs from High and Tight and Wilson to performance-monitoring sensors built into fabrics from Catapult, IoT is used to track everything from movement and positioning to speed and workload intensity. This data is used to customize training programs and improve game preparation.

Looking ahead, imagine players receiving a real-time analysis of how to improve their individual performance or how to take advantage of a specific opponent’s weaknesses on the next play of a game. Recommendations powered by IoT Analytics could be delivered via an audio-augmented reality system built into the helmet but only allowed to be delivered pre-snap.

The Coaches

In the future, IoT Analytics will enable coaches to apply predictive analytics to player safety and performance. This would have proven instrumental in identifying Billy Bob’s concussion in the movie Varsity Blues.

Impact analysis sensors, such as those provided by Linx, and an impact monitoring mouthguard from Prevent biometrics, are designed to identify concussions. Physiology data, ranging from heart monitoring systems by Polar to sweat monitoring sensors from Gatorade, give coaches a data-driven view into player health. 

Looking ahead, imagine coaches having a virtual health coordinator that provides recommendations based upon IoT health data gathered from each player on the field. These recommendations, combined with performance analytics, will give coaches complete operational insight into their team and help prevent potential health issues.

The Game

In the future, IoT analytics will provide data-driven clarity for referees. It will also help prevent the shady penalty calling that the Titans (T.C. Williams High School, not Tennessee) experienced.

Combining IoT data from equipment and players, referees can get an objective view of the action on the field. For example, IoT is currently used by FIFA to determine if the ball has crossed the goal line. "The International Football Association Board requires that goal-line technology does not interfere with the game, and as such only the match officials receive a signal on their watches to indicate whether the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line."

Looking ahead, imagine the responsibilities of the line, down, field, and side judges handled entirely by a field monitoring system. In fact, with IoT analytics, field officials could eventually be replaced by holograms. There would be no more controversies or long delays when the human eye is unable to tell if a player caught a ball before it was jostled loose, whether a player got both feet down before being knocked out of bounds, or whether the ball crossed the goal line before the player was down. This isn’t as far-fetched as you may think. Since 2006, tennis matches have used the Hawk-Eye system as a referee.

At Blueprint, we believe in the future of IoT and are excited about exploring its potential. If you’re as excited as we are, let’s start a conversation about your specific situation and how 

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