The Southeastern Conference (SEC) announced Tuesday that it will use KINEXON SafeZone technology, which includes wearable proximity devices, to help the COVID-19 contact tracing process during the upcoming 2020 football season.
These lightweight devices called SafeTags will be used at all 14 institutions during practices and games and in team facilities. The device is the size of a watch face, and it can be worn on a wristband, lanyard or installed on equipment for on-field use. The SafeTags can also enforce social distancing by flashing a red light when people come within six feet of each other.
“Through this new relationship with KINEXON, the SEC is committed to using innovative technology to provide solutions for use by our member institutions as we all work to support a healthy environment for student-athletes,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “KINEXON provides the SEC with a modern and effective solution to meet the unique contact tracing challenges associated with football.”
The SafeZone technology has been used by the NFL and is being implemented in the SEC because of the large number of student-athletes and the complexities contact tracing entails, especially during a high-contact sport like football.
The devices use ultra-wideband to calculate proximity between individuals using the distance and length of time. This allows them to perform accurate contact tracing after someone becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19. In the event that there is a positive test, the contact data is logged and can be accessed through a secure system for contact tracing.
“SafeZone was created to meet the unprecedented challenges teams and leagues were facing while identifying solutions to return to play safely,” KINEXON Executive Vice President Jim Garofalo said. “By adopting our technology, the SEC remains at the forefront of innovation in college athletics. SafeZone will provide student-athletes with a proven modern approach to contact tracing.”