Sporting potential

Cambridge-based vendor of real-time location systems, Omnisense, has launched its patented sparse-wideband technology for potential use during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Cambridge-based vendor of RTLS (real-time location systems), Omnisense, has launched its patented sparse-wideband (SWB) technology for potential use during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The system, which operates in the licence-exempt 2.4GHz band, collects data on the location and speed of tracked objects such as race horses and moving vehicles. It then relays this information in real-time in order to allow trainers and competitors to analyse their performance based on speed and positioning.

The technology has been operationally proven in the horse racing industry under the TurfTrax name. However, company founders, Andy Thurman and David Bartlett, are hoping to extend its application to other sports that require information on location and timing.

The group has received feedback from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) through participation in its ‘The Wireless Gateway’ programme last year. Organised through the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), the programme gave Omnisense the opportunity to present its technology to LOCOG and Olympic sponsors, Omega Swiss Timing.

Bartlett said: ‘The technology is ready to be taken to sports that have vehicle-mounted athletes. For example, a rower or a cyclist would be good examples of where, with very little adaptation, we could be using the technology now and with a little more development it could be put on athletes as well.’

Omnisense will be in talks with LOCOG again later this year regarding a potential contract. If successful, the technology will give the games the benefit of providing location data throughout the whole course of an event including split timing, the line an object takes, as well as finishing time information.

Commenting on the technology’s prospects, Thurman said: ‘IDTechEx has released some bullish projections for the market space for RTLS. Its estimates have only looked at the professional market (asset management within businesses and manufacturers) and estimated the growth to go from millions to billions by 2013. There have been some successful companies in that space. The activities of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) are helping to develop this whole area.’

In addition to sports, the system has the potential to be used in any application that requires continual awareness of a tracked object. The company hopes RTLS will prove beneficial in the medical, defence and industrial markets where there is potential for growth.

Bob Cockshott, director of network, said: ‘Our remit from the Technology Strategy Board is to foster innovation in the use of location and timing technologies. We’re currently helping Omnisense expand by sharing our market intelligence and introducing them to other members of our network. Omnisense is a great example of how location technologies can play a positive role in many different aspects of our lives from sport to inside burning buildings.’

Ellie Zolfagharifard