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  Read the RFID Case Study (below). Do research to support your answers to the four case study questions, write your paper in proper APA format, then upload your paper to the link below. 

ASSIGNMENT WEEK 4:  RFID CASE STUDY 

People love sports statistics and the more the better.  Responding to this customer demand, the NFL increased the quality and quantity of statistics available to coaches and fans with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. 

Player RFID Project

When the 2015 National Football League played its first game in New England, each player was equipped with a set of RFID sensors.  Each sensor, about the size of a quarter, is embedded in players’ shoulder pads and remits a unique radio frequency.  Every stadium used by the NFL is equipped with 20 receivers to pick up the RFID signals and pinpoint every player on the field.  It also records speed, distance traveled, acceleration in real time, and the direction the player is facing.  

The NFL plans to use the data it collects to power an Xbox One and Windows NFL apps to allow fans to call up stats for each player tied into the highlight clips posted on the app.  The data will also be fed to broadcasters, leveraged for in-stadium displays, and provided to coaching staff and players. 

“We’ve always had these traditional NFL stats,” says Matt Swensson, senior director of Emerging Products and Technology at the NFL.  “The league has been very interested in trying to broaden that and bring new statistics to the fans.  Along the way, there’s been more realization about how the data can be leveraged to make workflow more efficient around the game.” 

Zebra Technologies Software Vendor

The NFL’s technology partner in its IoT push was Zebra Technologies of Lincolnshire, Illinois. 

Zebra was well known for its manufacturing and selling, marking, tracking, and printing technologies such as thermal barcode label and receipt printers, RFID smart label printer/encoders, and card and kiosk printers.  As it moved into IoT and M2M applications, Zebra launched its MotionWorks Sports Solution, which powers the NFL IoT initiative.  Zebra was able to develop RFID tags that blink up to 85 times per second to track motion of athletes in subseconds.  Then it had to find a customer for the product—so it turned to the biggest fish in the pond—the NFL.  Zebra trialed the tags by equipping more than 2,000 players, 18 NFL stadiums and officials, markers, and pylons.  Over the course of the season, more than 1.7 billion sets of XY player coordinates were measured, transmitted, and stored during the games.  Every stadium was connected to a command station in San Jose, California, that controls when the data are collected, where they are sent, and stores them in the cloud. 

The Need for the Right People

An important lesson that Zebra learned is that generic data scientists weren’t sufficient to gain insight into the data.  Zebra needed football experts.  “When you look at analytics in football, you really need people.  We had to go out and hire football people.  The analytics from manufacturing weren’t the same as the analytics from football.  We could see correlations in the data that seemed important and then found out they weren’t.  We had to bring in people that had the football expertise who could say, ‘Look, this is why it matters’,” said Jill Stelfox, Zebra Technologies Vice President and General Manager, Location Solutions. 

The latest development in this IoT initiative is its integration with NFL’s fantasy football offerings. 

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

1.       Why did NFL equip its players with RDIF tags? 

2.      What factors contributed to the success of the IoT initiative at the NFL? 

3.      What other types of IoT applications can you think of that could be used in sports stadiums? 

4.      Is it ethical to insert the RFID tags into the players?  Why or why not?

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