June 26, 2024

    UWB Case Study European Football_forStaging_fmCode

    Global manufacturers are providing more and more examples of how Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology has revolutionized the modern factory. When it comes to manufacturing, UWB proves itself time and again to be a tool that offers unparalleled precision in locating products and parts in a facility. At first blush, that might seem trivial, but the significance of this technology goes far beyond simple inventory management. UWB helps operators optimize processes, enhance safety, and create a real-time digital model of their factories using UWB. These digital models provide a comprehensive understanding of who, what, when, and where in relation to people, tools, supplies, goods and machinery are located. With real-time insights, operators can make more well-informed decisions.

    What the heck does this have to do with football?

    Well, just think about how important precision and accuracy are in sports – goal lines, boundaries, foul lines and the like. Now consider trying to monitor player performance, how close crowds get to the action and each other, all in the middle of a global pandemic and keep teams playing. Micro-location solution provider Noccela had an idea and leveraged Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to transform the European League of Football (ELF) during those challenging pandemic days.

    Noccela took the use of UWB one step further after the pandemic subsided – they leveraged the technology for player analytics. Player performance measurement was a challenge because existing GPS-based solutions were expensive. Other technology options that might have done the job ended up forcing compromises between cost, performance, and scalability. Since the typical football field (pitch) had no roof, a standard overhead beacon setup just wouldn’t work. That’s where Noccela engineers started. How to cover 7,140 square meters of wide-open empty space with UWB anchors for precise location tracking.

    Take a Deeper Dive

    Learn How UWB enables micro-location to transform factories so manufacturers can optimize processes and safety.

    Read the White Paper

    The Noccela Solution

    The engineer’s innovative solution took advantage of Noccela’s positioning algorithm, called High Performance Ranging (HPR) that used some features that already existed in the market: Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) and Two Way Ranging (TWR). HPR offered compatibility with local positioning requirements, including athlete tracking. The positioning engine’s performance compatibility adapted retail applications to the varied high accuracy and rapid positioning requirements demanded by live sports. The football analytics application monitored the real-time positions and speeds of football players of multiple teams and was able to deliver the expected positioning accuracy and speed without any changes in infrastructure.

    Noccela’s location aware-IoT technology used a cloud-supported engine that gathered positioning information via the beacons from the tracking devices. The positioning engine ran the positioning algorithm and took on the responsibility of a complete software service supporting real-time and historical data transfer.

    In the end, Noccela’s HPR was able to perform in several market arenas -- whether it meant tracking workers, assets, materials, products, merchandise -- or football players.

    Here’s a look at Noccela's UWB Solution Key Features:

    • Impressive Coverage: Noccela's solution can cover areas as large as 500 square meters (nearly 600 square yards) per anchor, ensuring extensive coverage even in the vast expanse of a football pitch.
    • Pinpoint Accuracy: With precision as fine as two centimeters (0.8 inches), Noccela's system tracks objects moving at speeds of up to 60 km/h (over 37 mph), making it ideal for capturing fast-paced action on the pitch.
    • Strategic Placement: To comprehensively cover the area, Noccela strategically deployed 16 anchors around the perimeter that ensured high 3D accuracy.

    Pandemic Game Changer

    While UWB technology has some great applications in sports analytics, its significance really showed itself in the realm of performance optimization during the pandemic, especially for the ELF.

    As COVID-19 raged on and vaccines were not widely available at the time, ELF players and coaches faced a unique challenge. The absence of individual tracking granularity meant that a single case of COVID-19 could jeopardize an entire season. But athletes needed to practice in close proximity to their teammates and support staff while adhering to social distancing guidelines and monitoring potential contact among members.

    As it turned out, Noccela's UWB-based micro-location solution emerged as the game-changer. Here's how it worked:

    • Point-to-Point Tracking: Using UWB technology, Noccela's system offered precise point-to-point tracking, uploading member tag positions through strategically placed anchors around the field.
    • Real-time Monitoring: The tracking software continuously recorded the whereabouts of attendees (tags) in real time, providing a clear picture of player and staff movements.
    • Immediate Response: In the unfortunate event of a COVID-19 case being reported among the team, managers could swiftly identify all potentially affected members and isolate them without having to shut down the entire season.

    Noccela's UWB micro-location technology not only pushed the boundaries of what was possible in outdoor settings but also played a pivotal role in safeguarding the health of ELF players and staff during the pandemic. Moreover, it has become pivotal in measuring ELF player performance in real time. This remarkable application of electronics engineering not only kept the game alive but also demonstrated the incredible potential of technology to adapt to unprecedented challenges. As we continue to witness the evolution of UWB technology, the future holds even more exciting possibilities for electronics engineers in the world of sports and beyond.

    Learn more about how Qorvo and Ultra-Wideband technology can boost your company’s innovation in the white paper, Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Enables Smart Factory of the Future.


    Have another topic that you would like Qorvo experts to cover? Email your suggestions to the Qorvo Blog team and it could be featured in an upcoming post. Please include your contact information in the body of the email.

    Explore the Qorvo Blog

    About the Author

    Qorvo Blog Team

    One part technical, one part content, and one part strategic, our small team is dedicated to connecting you with helpful, timely insights from some of the bright minds at Qorvo.