Zebra Technologies: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Zebra Technologies will be changing the way football fans experience NFL games. Learn all about Zebra’s new sensors, which will be worn by players on the field.

1. Zebra Designs RFID Technology

Zebra Technologies: See more. Do more.A global leader respected for innovation and reliability, Zebra Technologies Corporation offers technologies that give a virtual voice to an organization's assets, people and transactions, enabling organizations to unlock greater business value. The company's extensive portfolio of marking and printing technologies, including RFID and real-time locating systems, illuminates mission-critical information to help customers take smarter…2012-02-13T13:36:26Z

Learn more about this company in the video above.

Zebra Technology‘s core business is designing asset tracking software, including RFID solutions and industrial printers. Now, Zebra will be partnering with the NFL to enhance the viewing experience for people at home. In an official NFL press release, the NFL stated it would start using Zebra’s real-time location system during the 2014 season:

“Zebra’s technology will collect data such as position, speed, and distance that will be registered and compiled into a database. This data can then be outputted to generate new experiences built around this additional data.”

2. Zebra’s Sensors Will Be Placed on NFL Players

Business Insider reports that NFL players will start wearing Zebra’s oblong, real-time location sensors this season. The sensors are oblong in shape, and are smaller than a quarter. The sensors will be placed on the shoulder pads of the players. Business Insider notes that access to this sensor data could enhance the game for both the fans and the players:

“Pretty soon, teams will have access to in-game data, too, and improvements to Zebra’s sensor technology could mean advancements like a sensor on the football that could track whether or not it crosses the goal line.”

3. 17 NFL Stadiums Will Get Zebra Receivers

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17 of the league’s 32 teams will be getting Zebra sensor receivers installed in their stadiums. The relievers are to be connected with cables to a main hub and server, with player data becoming available from the server about a second after it is collected. USA Today calls the sensor-reciever combo “the most significant innovation since the yellow first-down line.” It is not yet clear when or if the remaining teams will adopt the Zebra receivers in their stadiums, but all NFL teams will be wearing the sensors, even if their home stadium doesn’t have a receiver.

The teams who will have receivers installed in their stadiums are as follows: Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington.

4. Zebra Tech Will Enhance the NFL Viewing Experience

NFL Draft 2014 New York City


Zebra argues that their partnership with the NFL will enhance every game for fans watching at home.

“For those of us that are coaches from our couches, we’re like, ‘Oh, come on! That guy was open!’ Maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t,” Zebra’s Jill Stelfox told USA Today. “If we know closing distance of a defender and an offensive guy, you can really know whether that hit would be made or whether he really could’ve made that play.”

USA Today’s article about Zebra’s new sensors notes that many NFL teams are already using some high-tech player tracking technologies, including GPS tracking during practices.

5. Zebra Technologies Has Worked With Other Sports Clients

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Prior to announcing their relationship with the NFL, Zebra Technologies partnered with Michael Waltrip Racing. MWR used MotionWorks technology from Zebra to evaluate the efficiency of the pit crew.

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