Transform enterprise operations in three simple steps

As they move on the football field, NFL players have carried more than just a ball over the last few seasons. The Zebra Sports Solution tracks players’ movement on the field, which enables coaches to gather performance data including speed, distance travelled, acceleration and location.

Coaches then use this data to conduct deeper analysis into formations and player tendencies. In addition, broadcasters can use it to show player statistics as part of NFL Next Gen Stats.

The Zebra Sports Solution leverages the same tracking and location technologies that strategic enterprise internet of things adviser Zebra Technologies implements globally for multinational corporations in healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics to give real-time visibility to an organisation’s assets, people and processes.

“Sensing technology has delivered huge benefits to enterprises globally, especially when the data created by those sensors is analysed effectively,” says Zebra chief technology officer Tom Bianculli. “But all too often this data is used to generate reports or statistics long after it can be used to impact operations in the moment. We are now entering a new phase in which we’re helping a wide range of organisations to act on their data in near real time. Today it’s about sensing and analysing, and then taking that next best action right at the point of activity whenever and wherever possible.”

For example, Zebra is helping retailers to gain greater visibility of their stock and their customers, and to act based on that new digital picture. “Big data is essential for longer-term forecasting and our technology takes full advantage of what it offers,” says Mr Bianculli.  “And we help organisations to use small data as well. Just as coaches can use the data they receive from the field of play, retail sensor tags can sense that a display of jeans in a shop is down to its last three pairs. The system can then trigger a workflow to have another dozen brought up from the stock room in minutes.”

To help retailers co-ordinate the information available to them and make the best use of it, Zebra Technologies recently launched SmartSense™ for Retail. This solution turns an entire physical store into a smart online store by automatically sensing and recording the location and movement of virtually everything in the space, including merchandise, staff, shoppers and products.

We are now entering a new phase in which we’re helping a wide range of organisations to act on their data in near real time

“For example, sensor tags can indicate how much of which stock is available while video analytics can identify merchandise and people in motion, and all of that sensor data can be fused together to identify the next best action for store associates. Whether that be aiding a customer looking to make a purchase decision or being dispatched to replenish a shelf with stock from the back room,” says Mr Bianculli.

Enabling employees to act quickly and easily with this data enables companies to gain a competitive edge and deploy their valuable resources most effectively. “In healthcare, a smart wristband informs the hospital system of the location of patients which, when combined with other data sources, can be used to enhance the care-flow journey, reducing waiting times and errors, and improving patient care and throughput,” he says.

“Technology is creating an ocean of data that, with the advent of machine-learning, can be distilled down to actionable insight not just for managers but for every employee. However, it’s not just about quantity of data anymore. Today the important aspect is how quickly and easily you can turn that data into real-time, actionable information that allows you to make smarter business decisions which result in operational and customer-experience benefit.”

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