SEC rolls out new contact tracing technology ahead of football season

New contact tracing technology for SEC

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re learning more about the new contract tracing technology the SEC will use as teams kick off this Saturday to start the season.

“We learned that people were tracking contact tracing practices through stopwatches and videos, which isn’t a terribly effective way," said Greg Sankey, SEC Commissioner.

All 14 SEC football teams will use SafeTag devices this season created by Kinexon. The move follows the NFL’s adoption of the technology.

The device is about the size of a watch and can be worn as a wristband or lanyard and can also be built into the athletes' attire.

“Have the ability to put it on the inside of their jersey. Let’s say there’s a pocket they can stitch it into on the inside of their jersey or on their shoulder pad,” said Jim Garofalo, Kinexon.

While it doesn’t track a player’s physical location, the device tracks its proximity to other devices. If players get too close to each other for too long an alert will go off.

“Gives you a visible cue or an audible cue,” said Garofalo. “For x amount of time it will log how long that interaction took place and what sensor it took place with.”

The company behind the technology, Kinexon, says it hopes the device will help coaches more accurately track potential COVID cases to help keep players safe and give us the football season we’ve been anxious to start.

“We know a product like this is never going to completely eradicate a virus like COVID,” said Garofalo, “Now, you can get very specific about the individuals who are most at risk.”

Auburn kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Alabama kicks off at 6 p.m.

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