Blog Sports Sports Technology

Why Ultra-Wide Band Technology Has Been Scoring Points in Basketball for Years

One of the world’s largest tech companies is relying on Ultra Wide Band and obviously has big plans with the technology. In the US, the NBA has been flying high for years with UWB and the college teams are following suit — for good reason.

191125 Header UWB in Basketball
ChicagoNov 25, 2019

Ever since Apple introduced its new iPhones with built-in UWB chips this autumn, ultra-wideband technology (UWB) has been on everyone’s lips. On the product side, Apple hints at UWB’s greatest strengths: Movements and positions can be tracked within centimeter precision. And the product presentation ends with the words: And this is just the beginning.”

The truth is: This isn’t the beginning as UWB has been utilized in sports for few years now, most notably in Professional Basketball. It was 4 years ago when the first NBA club, the Philadelphia 76ers, purchased an UWB-based live tracking system from KINEXON Sports and started to analyze their training sessions utilizing Kinexon’s precise position data.

70% of all NBA teams and a rapidly growing number college teams are utilizing UWB-based tracking systems

From that moment on, coaches were able to follow every movement their players made on court — in real time, from clear angles and with processed performance data visualized within a software platform. A big plus: In contrast to other tracking technologies, UWB records movements in all directions, including height.

4 years later, more than 70 % of NBA teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and others track their training sessions with KINEXON Sports and rely on the accuracy UWB provides. And the technology has arrived in college basketball, too! In the 2019/2020 season alone, 15 NCAA teams (these include University of Tennessee, Stanford University, University of Iowa, West Virginia University and others) have come onboard and are using the system of the multiple award-winning full-stack provider from Germany.

For Mehdi Bentanfous (Managing Director, KINEXON Inc.), the demand for UWB-based performance tracking in college basketball is remarkable:

We are excited about the increasing demand for our product at the collegiate level. One reason for this development is for sure that NCAA teams train more and more similar to NBA conditions. Nevertheless, they have a much smaller budget and staff. We are therefore particularly proud that they are also convinced of the value proposition our product delivers.”

Mehdi Bentanfous (Managing Director, KINEXON Inc.)

NBA and college teams primarily pursue four objectives

UWB tracking data gives coaches access to more than 180 metrics that document performance and load seamlessly. And with these, four goals are being strategically pursued:

  • Measure, control and increase the physical performance of players 
  • Prevent injuries that are caused by overloading
  • Ensure comebacks and prevent too early return-to-play of injured players
  • Monitoring and forecasting development curves of younger players

In a sport that thrives on numerous jumps and fast changes of direction on a small court, the accuracy, speed and validity of the data are of extreme importance. The UWB sensor technology has been unrivalled here for years. It records movements in all directions and also includes information about the number of jumps, jump height or short/​fast changes of direction.

Independent research institution commissioned with validation study

The rise of UWB technology by KINEXON Sports even prompted the NBA to commission a validation study from an independent research institution. The result was positive. Both the reliability and the validity of the data were convincing.

Coaches across collegiate and professional basketball keep on integrating live tracking data into their daily training routine and are very quickly developing their own strategies:

KINEXON performance insights give us the opportunity to adjust and improve our practice program for the whole season. We simply have a better understanding of intensity and performance levels for all players. Therefore, we can compete playing physical, tough, and smart basketball.”

Al Caronia, strength and endurance trainer for the St. John's women's team

The demand has been rising for two to three years now“

Mehdi Bentanfous, who is in charge of the US market for KINEXON Sports, does not believe that UWB technology is experiencing an upswing in sports only due to its use in modern smartphones: It’s not only US professional basketball where UWB tracking is already accepted and established. In European top sports and other US pro leagues such as NHL, NFL and NCAA, the demand has been rising rapidly for two to three years now.” 

Nevertheless, Bentanfous expects a boost: The interest in the mobile system from KINEXON Sports, which runs without permanently installed anchors and can be used everywhere, is enormous. It opens opportunities for us across all levels of collegiate sports, not just in Power 5 conferences. While the mobile system does not provide the same depth of data as our wired solution yet, our technological progress is currently being driven very quickly by the great demand. There is definitely still a lot of growth potential!” 

UWB-based live tracking – a technology without limits?

The development of UWB tracking technology remains exciting because localization and processing motion data does not stop at translating numbers into performance metrics. New features emerge almost monthly and collaboration is key in this business. KINEXON Sports relies on an open interface and 360-degree connectivity right from the start. This builds the basis for collaborations with other sports technology providers and integrating new functions into the running system. 

For example, information such as performance data or distances between players can be displayed live on video views as an augmented reality feature, live data can be synchronized directly with other analysis systems, performance tracking can be enhanced by shot tracking or load data such as heart rate or heart rate variability can be integrated. At the moment there do not seem to be any limits on how far the technology can go. 

So, yes: This is (probably still) just the beginning. 

More stories

200424 KINEXON Sports Webinare EU 20200116 NB i Ball 71620 edited
3 Things Coaches Need to Know About Ball Tracking in Professional Football

Bayer 04 Leverkusen is the first Bundesliga club to use KINEXON ball tracking in training. Read here the three most important learnings from our webinar series on player and ball tracking — how tactical analysis will change football coaching.

Safe Zone Blog Impact header
How KINEXON SafeZone Saves Money by Protecting Employees

An employee infected with COVID-19 can lead to a complete stop of the entire operation. The financial damage can run into the millions after 10 working days. This calculation example shows the importance of efficient protective measures — for the health of the employees and the company at the same time.

Blake Griffin
Readiness, In-Season Assessment & Recovery: Three Takeaways

Our educational sports webinar sessions on Readiness, In-Season Assessment & Recovery have concluded. We have summarized the most important takeaways for you below. 

Colts Training 4
In-Season Conditioning: Three Takeaways

Our educational sports webinar sessions on In-Season Conditioning have concluded. We have summarized the most important takeaways for you before entering the next stage of the series. 

What to do with the Data8
What to do with the Data: Three Takeaways

Our educational sports webinar sessions on What to do with the Data have concluded. We have summarized the most important takeaways for you before entering the next stage of the series. 

Thumbnail 200414 US Sports Webinar Load Management Joel Embiid Blog
Load Management: Three Takeaways

Our educational sports webinar sessions on Load Management have concluded. We have summarized the most important takeaways for you before entering the next stage of the series. 

Startupsagainstcorona keyvisual
COVID-19: Joining Forces against Corona

In times of crisis such as these, one thing above all is important: the solidarity between people — and in this context also between companies. Because only together we will successfully master the challenges. The Venture Client company 27pilots also recognized this and launched an initiative. We at KINEXON are part of it and help to protect employees and maintain production processes!

Kinexon mitarbeiterschutz4 0
Social Distancing Meets RTLS: How Our Customer ASM Protects Employees From Corona in a Creative Way

With the current situation, positive news is especially welcome. One positive note came from our customer ASM. And it gave us hope for the next few months. 

Kinexon blog dieter krockauer materialflow
Smart Factory strategy with fast payback? Only if you don’t forget these points!

Our Vice President Digital Transformation knows the challenges of the industry. In his blog article he shares three simple but far-reaching recommendations.

Exchainge 2019
What we learned from EXCHAINGE 2019

The 7th International Supply Chain Summit EXCHAiNGE brought us not only exciting discussions with industry experts but also an award winner with whom we have a close partnership. Our co-founder Alexander Hüttenbrink congratulates our partner and shares his takeaways.

BMW AGV web
The Message That Made Our Day: BMW Wins Logistics Prize 2019

When one of our customers is awarded a prestigious prize, the whole KINEXON family is cheering, too. Especially when our technology made a decisive contribution…

Comdirect
Case Study: Comdirect Innovates Sport Sponsoring With Live Performance Data

How could a bank profit from real-time sports performance analysis? Comdirect gives the answer!

Athletes-audience-ball-39593
Transition in the US Sports Betting Market: What Role Data Tracking Can Play

Sports betting in Europe, especially in England, is a strongly flourishing business – in the US however, it is still in its early stages. 

Basketball_tech_payroll
Can Performance Tech Safeguard your Payroll?

Over the last ten years, professional sport has become more and more physically demanding: The speed of the game has increased enormously, while at the same time the schedule for teams and players has become tighter and tighter.

Spobis_2019_Max_Schmidt
KINEXON at SPOBIS 2019

KINEXON was part of the largest and most important event of the sports business sector in Europe. For two days, top decision-makers discussed the future of the sports business at the SPOBIS 2019 in Düsseldorf.