Case studies

Amateur footballers gain access to pro-level data insights with innovative GNSS application

In football, tracking, analyzing and making targeted improvements has always been a costly exercise. German company Tracktics has come up with an innovative and cost-effective solution using low cost u-blox GNSS hardware and clever software
 

Image of football players discussing performance

For years, professional football teams around the globe have been harnessing the IoT for data collection and analysis, using insights into player performance and fitness to adjust each individual’s training regime and tactical prowess. Although the percentage gains made may seem small, they can often spell the difference between winning and losing. 

To make a solution that amateur footballers could afford without compromising functionality and positioning accuracy, Tracktics partnered with u-blox and its GNSS hardware. The result is the Tracktics Waistbelt.
 

 

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The challenge: Balancing affordability and PVT data accuracy 

Tracking and monitoring devices are used by professional football teams across the world, but their hefty price tag has kept them out of reach of the lower leagues and amateurs. Team packages typically cost around €100k plus an extra €30k in annual support and consultancy services. 

Drawing on research within the amateur football ranks, Tracktics knew they needed to develop a product in the sub €150 price range. Beyond the design constraints – it needed to be comfortable and lightweight – major considerations from a cost perspective were the price of the positioning modules and data packages. 

Collecting accurate PVT (position, velocity, and time) data is critical to the solution. Though cheaper, a single-constellation GPS module would not provide the data accuracy needed to gain meaningful insights. Multi-constellation high precision GNSS receivers that integrate GNSS correction data can – all the way down to one centimeter – but they, toocome at a cost.

The solution: Combining u-blox hardware with software designed in-house

After considering and trialing several design options, Tracktics settled on a comfortable waistbelt and then turned their attention to the hardware that would be embedded into it. It was clear that accurate positioning was a must to analyze objective performance data, including velocity, position, acceleration, and orientation. Consideration also needed to be given to the line-of-sight limitations of satellite constellations when players were in built up areas. 

Having considered the options, Tracktics determined that, rather than using a more costly high precision positioning receiver, the optimal solution for their specific needs would be to deploy a basic multi-constellation GNSS chipset from u-blox and augment its positioning capabilities with data from acceleration, magnetic field, and rotation rate sensors. 

By applying software-based logic to the data received from the u-blox chipset, Tracktics was able to bring continuous positioning accuracy down to half a meter, enough to provide sufficient data points for meaningful analysis. Rather than relying on cellular data transmission, Tracktics opted for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to transfer data collected by the device to each player’s phone, tablet, or PC, where performance activity, recommendations, and rewards are presented within an app. 

Their affordable solution is available to anyone who wants to improve their performance - just like the pros.

Image showing data from Tracktics app

For a reliable and cost-effective GNSS solution, Tracktics partnered with u-blox.

 

  • Concurrent reception of up to 3 GNSS (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou)
  • Miniature size and weight with low power consumption
  • Embedded, omnidirectional, and wideband antenna

 

Specifically, Tracktics utilizes the following from u-blox:

“We have been able to design and launch a professional football level monitoring solution, but for amateurs and at a fraction of the cost. By combining the u-blox GNSS module with our own algorithms and sensors, the data we collect and play back to amateurs through our app gives amazing feedback on how to improve performance.” 

Patrick Haas, co-founder and CTO of Tracktics

 

Outcomes: Giving amateur footballers a chance to track performance with a cost effective solution

 

  • Solution gives amateur footballers objective performance data previously only affordable to professional clubs
  • Integrating the u-blox GNSS module with sensors and algorithms gives precision position accuracy
  • Lightweight waistbelt device relays data via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the Tracktics app, which  analyzes the data, offers recommendations for improvement and rewards, and connects users to a vast community