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Star India, Microsoft, Anil Kumble redefine fan engagement with real-time bat stats

The Power bat technology can be used for other sports in future.

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MUMBAI: With the support of Star India and Microsoft, Anil Kumble’s technology startup, Spektacom Technologies, introduced the latest cricketing innovation – the power bat on 11 October 2018. The technology is powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) services. The technology provides players, coaches, commentators, fans and viewers with a completely new and unique way to engage with the sport and help improve their game.

The Power Bat is a unique concept whereby a lightweight, Azure Sphere-powered sticker is stuck on the shoulder of the bat — a form factor that is completely unobtrusive.  

Microsoft has been working closely with Spektacom and its founder Anil Kumble, former Indian captain, to incubate and launch the product, as part of its Scale up program. Star India has used the technology successfully in recent series to provide real-time statistics and insights straight off the oval.

Microsoft executive VP Peggy Johnson said, “We’re excited to be a part of the work Spektacom and Star India are doing to enhance the cricket experience for fans, players and coaches. We’ve already seen the impact that connected devices have had in other industries, and we believe that with the advancements in our AI and cloud services, this is just the beginning of what’s possible for not only cricket but all sports.” 

Star India senior vice-president Sanjog Gupta said, “All analytics are tools for storytelling and stories are what we engage fans with, more the stories, deeper the engagement. This technology can be used for other sports like football, kabaddi and maybe even other racket sports or where a bat is involved.

In a live match, as soon as the batsman hits the ball, data on different parameters (speed on impact, twist on impact and quality of the shot — percentage proximity of the ball’s contact to the sweet spot of the willow) are captured in a new unit of measurement titled Power Speks. Microsoft’s Azure Sphere ensures that the data is securely captured and processed.

As the stats will be detailed, every fan will get to see the analysis as the feed will not only be restricted to Star Sports Select but will also be on all the Star Sports channels.     

Star India managing director Sanjay Gupta said, “Star India has always strived to redefine and elevate experiences for sports fans. From multi-language feeds and Select Dugout to VR and Watch n’ Play, the coverage of Vivo IPL demonstrates our commitment toward creating new benchmarks in how technology is deployed to deepen fan engagement. The Power Bat promises to be another step in the same direction, and we look forward to the partnership with Anil Kumble (Spektacom) and Microsoft in bringing it to our broadcasts.”

Kumble said, “Our vision is to bring sports closer to fans through interesting ways of engagement using real-time sports analytics. At the same time, it is important that the technologies used are seamless and do not disrupt the game or obstruct the players. With Microsoft, we have been able to create a secure and effective solution, and with Star India, we have a partner that can stimulate and excite fan engagement.”

Microsoft believes in leveraging its technology and its people to help sports teams and organisations solve their toughest challenges. By leveraging the company’s intelligent cloud and productivity solutions, sports organisations worldwide are connecting with fans, optimising team and player performance, and managing their operations in new, innovative ways.

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