The Finnish Broadcasting Company wrote an article about Quuppa technology. Here’s a translation for our English speaking readers.
A microchip inside a hockey puck – Will the new technology revolutionize sports for viewers and coaches?
A Finnish company provides a positioning technology using a Tag that can be attached to players or even into a hockey puck. With that, the system automatically generates a variety of data to be utilised by the viewers or coaches.
There is currently an enormous interest in the use of position data among the big sports such as soccer, basketball, and baseball. In Finland, for example, the national hockey league is interested in new technology and its possibilities. “We’re interested in the entertainment: What kind of content can be produced for the website, for TV shows or for games. In addition, we’re interested in how the data can be used for improving the game and coaching” Juha Huhta, Executive producer of the Finnish Hockey League, reflects.
- A Tag containing a microchip is attached to the player or ball/puck.
- Locators, antennas with a size of a WLAN base station, are mounted around the playing field to collect data from the Tags.
- Locators send the data to a server, which forwards it as desired to the coaches or audience.
Information can be shown in a live TV broadcast: for example how long the throw was, how many yards the offensive team progressed, or there can be a red marker on te ball to make it easier to follow the game. The system is based on Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which is used also in smartphones. According to the manufacturer, positioning accuracy can be less than 10 centimeters. “Application possibilities are almost unlimited”, says Kimmo Kalliola, CEO of Quuppa. “The only limiting factor is the physical size of the Tag, which again is defined by the size of the battery, similar to the ones used in watches. The Tag is about the size of a 20 cent coin, the thickness being about three millimeters”, he says.
On its way to Hospitals and Retail stores
Kalliola states that sports applications are merely the tip of the iceberg. The commercial potential is in hospitals, and in a variety of security applications, where it is important to know where assets and people are moving. He believes that the system is also gaining ground in retail. It enables the store manager to collect information on where the customers are moving and which product groups make them stop for a longer time. At the Finnish Hockey League, there is s strong vision that the new technology will rise the popularity of hockey, but they don’t want to reveal just yet, what are the exact plans.