TAMPERE, Finland — April 11, 2014 – RFID helps to monitor and record ice hockey players real-time on ice.
The time ice hockey players spend on ice is crucial information for coaches during games, especially when a team is playing with high utilization of its key players. Reliable and real-time statistics on the game is one of the key enablers for developing the efficiency of the team. However, until recently the time on ice has mostly been monitored and manually recorded by human observers only. As a result, providing team management with accurate and timely information has often been a challenge.
Kuru Digital Creations, a Finnish company specialized in building analytics and electronic recording solutions for various team sports, created a real-time-on-ice system KURU seQuence which utilizes passive UHF RFID technology to track the players during games. It measures the ice-time of each player with the help of a small RFID label attached to the players' knee pads. The system measures average shift length, number of changes and total ice-time too. Coaches or other users of the system can perform various searches based on ice-time and scored goals.
“With KURU seQuence we can actually see real-time information on the utilization of our players during games. The system brings professional benefits for coaching and also entertainment value for our fans”, states Juha Junno, CEO of Oulun Kärpät. Oulun Kärpät is one of the most successful teams in the Finnish Ice Hockey League.
The patent-pending solution includes the KURU seQuence software platform and customized RFID tags supplied by Confidex. The RFID reader devices and antennas used in the system were provided by Impinj Inc.
Kuru Digital Creations evaluated various wireless technologies to find an optimal solution. One issue with other technologies was the size and weight of the wearable devices. In a high-speed game like ice hockey, the players are not willing to wear anything that might even slightly reduce their mobility during the game. Passive UHF RFID technology enables the tag to be small and light while still offering a sufficient reading distance.
"Recent developments in the passive UHF RFID technology provide even better performance than in the beginning. Despite of the extreme conditions in the ice hockey games, the seQuence RFID system has proven to work remarkably well", says Antti-Pekka Tauriainen, Product Manager at Kuru Digital Creations.
"It has been great to see that the game of ice hockey has also found the benefits of RFID. As Finns, we are enthusiastic ice hockey fans and also know the conditions our RFID tags need to withstand during competitive games. We are glad to know that the top teams in the game trust our expertise" comments Jarkko Miettinen, Vice President of Sales at Confidex.