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As the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers jog onto the field for Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, most eyes will be drawn to their large shoulder pads and shiny helmets. What many people won't notice, however, are the tiny, quarter-sized RFID transmitters hidden in their shoulder pads. Made by Zebra Technologies, these connected, wearable devices pinpoint each player's real-time field position, speed, distance traveled and acceleration by emitting radio frequencies to RFID receivers located around the stadium.

Wearable technology could have the potential to transform the NFL. From making the sport safer for the players to bringing fans closer to their favorite teams to providing more insight for coaches, provided by wireless sensors has multiple uses. The NFL has already invested heavily in a number of IoT technologies and that trend is poised to accelerate.

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We've noted before, when discussing IoT, that it won't be the devices themselves, but rather the clever use of data from connected devices that will create value for businesses. There are lots of value niches in all kinds of professional sports that data derived from connected devices could enhance.

“We've always had these traditional NFL stats,” says Matt Swensson, senior director of Emerging Products and Technology at the NFL. “The league has been very interested in trying to broaden that and bring new statistics to the fans. Along the way, there's been more realization about how the data can be leveraged to make workflow more efficient around the game.”

Take a look at more of my thoughts about how connected devices and IoT will change the NFL.