STATSports, Taoglas hit the field with GNSS trackers

August 2, 2017  - By

The Apex tracker has Taoglas inside. (Photo: STATSports)

When the world’s best athletes take the field, many are equipped with a GPS-based performance monitor that tracks a wealth of data. By monitoring in real time the players’ actions, professional sports teams can collect and analyze data that gives them an edge over the competition.

STATSports is a provider of GPS player tracking and analysis solutions for some of the biggest sports franchises in the world. Teams in the English Premier League, La Liga, National Football League, National Basketball Association and other leagues rely on STATSports to help them improve performance and strategy, and reduce injuries.

Tracking Key Metrics. STATSports’ Apex System includes the Apex Pod and Apex Software. The Apex Pod is an ergonomically designed unit that curves to fit players’ backs. The pod is inserted into a specially designed vest or base layer.

It tracks a variety of metrics, including a player’s total distance, speed, accelerations, decelerations, heart rate, fatigue level and other variables that teams can use in real time or alongside post-game reviews. The data is processed through Apex Software, which creates reports and visual tracking mechanisms to compare players, track players over time and provide metrics personalized for each team.

A tablet app gives coaches portable functionality. (Photo: STATSports)

Apex Live Streaming uses multiple channels and synchronized mesh networking to deliver data streams from players to Apex Software for analysis. Apex delivers GPS speed and positional data; heart-rate variability; and digital compass, gyroscopic and accelerometer data. It transmits half a million numbers every minute during training and games for a squad of more than 30 players.

Accurate Antenna

In devices so small and sensitive, antennas can be the most common point of failure in the communications chain, said Dermot O’Shea, co-CEO of Taoglas. STATSports evaluated several antenna options before selecting Taoglas.

Taoglas’ 25×25-mm AGGBP.25B is a two-stage 28-dB active GPS patch antenna module that provides positional accuracy in a small form factor.

With a few dozen players and coaches on the field in training and at games, highly accurate positioning is critical. Players move quickly and are often clustered around a ball, making it difficult to accurately track player movement. STATSports required location accuracy within 1 meter, precision that
Taoglas delivered.

The LA Galaxy team uses STATSports. (Photo: LA Galaxy)

Because the STATSports technology captures data in real time, teams can make real-time tactical and strategic decisions and adjustments instead of waiting for post-game analysis.

However, with that many antennas and transmissions in close proximity, interference can be an issue. Taoglas’ solution includes a front-end surface acoustic wave (SAW) filter in front of the two-stage low noise amplifier (LNA) to reduce out-of-band noise, such as signals from nearby cellular transceivers.

The real-time nature of STATSports’ solution means the company also requires a condensed time to first fix — when the devices are turned on, STATSports needs them to register a signal quickly and begin to receive data. The Taoglas antenna is ready within 30 seconds of powering on.

STATSports’ proximity to Taoglas’ Wexford, Ireland, headquarters and development labs means the teams can collaborate on new functionality as STATSports develops increasingly advanced performance-tracking solutions.