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Improving Race Timing with UHF RFID Technology

Early race timing systems relied on low-frequency RFID chips, which were accurate but required precise placement on runners. This was later improved with the introduction of UHF RFID technology, which eliminated the need for hard chips and resulted in cost savings. However, there were some challenges at the start line where UHF RFID signals struggled to pass through water and metal, causing interference when multiple runners crossed simultaneously.
To address this issue, race organizers started placing the UHF RFID tags on runners' shoes, which significantly improved the accuracy of readings. Despite their best efforts, the read rate at the start line typically hovers around 99.3-99.7%, meaning that a small number of runners may not have their start times recorded.
Nevertheless, the adoption of UHF RFID has greatly simplified race timing. Tags are now placed on bibs and distributed to runners, resulting in significant time and cost savings. While the occasional missed start time is accepted within the industry, it can still be added manually if the runner has a watch time. Additionally, there is always a manual backup plan in place for determining the winners.
Overall, the advantages of UHF RFID outweigh the inconvenience of a few delayed start times. If you want to learn more about how technology is changing the sports and travel industries, sign up for Technically Speaking, a weekly newsletter that explores technological advancements in the sports world.
Tournkey Team
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