July 10, 2020
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NBA plans to use smart technologies and big data to protect players from coronavirus

NBA plans to use smart technologies and big data to protect players from coronavirus

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Los Angeles Lakers striker LeBron James (23) goes into the basket against Denver Nuggets quarterback Jamal Murray (27) in the second half at Staples Center, March 6, 2019.

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Gary A. Vazquez | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters

When the NBA heads to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the league provides players and employees with a wealth of technological twists.

According to NBA Health and Safety CNBC’s resumption of season memorandum provides residents with a smart ring, Disney MagicBand, personal pulse oximeter and smart thermometer to help control and reduce the spread of coronavirus. The league is also exploring the use of handheld alarms to help players and employees maintain social distance.

Here’s a breakdown of key occupational health and safety protocols that the NBA plans to adopt when players head to Orlando later this month to prepare for the renewed season.

Disney plan

A globe is standing at the entrance to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP

The Disney NBA Plan includes 22 teams traveling to Orlando to play games called the “bubble” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. Players who choose to participate will be subjected to extensive testing, quarantine from their families and strict rules regarding social behavior. The league’s note, which has more than 100 pages, outlines its plan to ensure the safety of players and the tools that it will use to do this.

“I think we can handle this,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Kuban in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday. “We are doing our best to keep people safe, and I think it will work.”

Wearable smart ring

The Oura Intelligent Ring is able to predict COVID-19 symptoms in 3 days with an accuracy of 90%.

Source: Oura

One tool that the NBA will use with players is the “smart ring” that players will wear during their stay at Disney World. A ring can measure body temperature, respiratory function, and heart rate, and all of this can signal whether someone is sick. All players and key employees will be given the opportunity to participate in health monitoring using the ring. Oura reportedly capable of predicting titanium rings COVID-19 symptoms for up to three days with an accuracy of 90%According to the company.

Data will be reviewed and evaluated by the University of Michigan to help assess each person’s overall health. The note says that players will have full access to all the data collected on them, but team personnel will have access only when the player’s probability of illness indicates that he may be at higher risk or has signs of coronavirus .

Disney MagicBand

MagicBands at Disney Resorts

Source: Walt Disney Resorts

Players will also be given access to the MagicBand, which they will always have to wear, except during training and games. Disney MagicBand acts like a hotel room key and allows players to check in at checkpoints and coronavirus checks. This is similar to the device of the same name that Disney World guests can use to access hotels and pay for food and gifts in the park.

MagicBands can also help the league track contacts. The league is exploring how to use bands to find out if a player with a Covid-19 diagnosis has made contact with another player. Disney will not be allowed to access player health information, but Disney will be warned about the player’s health status in order to enforce these protocols.

To further ensure security, the league said it is exploring the use of access control software that uses MagicBand to provide them access and access to campus facilities. For example, when a player reaches a security checkpoint, his MagicBand will be displayed in green or red depending on his health condition to allow or deny him access.

Smart medical devices

All residents will also be provided with an individual pulse oximeter for daily measurement of blood oxygen saturation and an intelligent thermometer that can measure an individual’s temperature. Players will be provided with detailed information on how to analyze the results.

Social Distance Anxiety

Physical distance is another key area that the NBA focuses on. The league said that “to facilitate compliance with the rules of physical distance”, all team and league employees will need to wear a small device on their credentials that will serve as an alarm that sounds an alert when six feet away from another person for more than five seconds. The note says that an alarm can detect valid pairs of people, such as teammates, a doctor, or a patient, and it won’t work. Players will be given the opportunity to wear this alarm, but this is not necessary.

Some players call foul

With so much data, players may have concerns about using this data. The league said that the information collected will be deleted within four weeks after the 2019-2020 season. Refusal to participate is not possible because the memo states that any player in the state who refuses to undergo such daily health monitoring “will be prohibited from participating in group activities until the monitoring is complete and / or may be required to leave the campus forever” . “. It is important to note that this plan has also been approved by the NBA Players Association.

In recent days, there has been a public and private conversation between the players about this plan, its advantages and disadvantages. Many recognize the problems with which this is associated.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he sympathizes and that players will not be punished if they decide not to attend.

“It will entail huge sacrifices for all participants,” he said in an interview with ESPN on Monday. “Look, this is not an ideal situation when we are trying to find our new normal level in the middle of a pandemic … I understand that some players believe that this is not for them.”


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