SportsTech & Telecom

Age of AI: Microsoft Collaborates with Spektacom for AI Enhanced Cricket

Start-up Spektacom created a 5g AI sticker which, when attached to a bat, relays live, real-time information to Microsoft Azure for storage and processing.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds a great deal of potential. As it is with computerizing any manual task, AI technology provides better efficiency, accuracy, transparency, and unbiased decision-making. Now, it has spread its net across to even sports.

These are all things that are essential in any competitive field. In sports, AI tech has had a relatively harder time gaining traction. However there is an existing push towards incorporating it within training sessions, strategy development, and match and competitor analysis.

Taking the initiative the most however is former Team India Captain Anil Kumble. Anil founded the Bengaluru-based start-up Spektacom Technologies. Spektacom has joined heads with Microsoft to create a 5g barely noticeable AI chip.

Mechanics:

This chip can be attached to a cricket bat to transmit real-time data regarding quality, swing, power, and twist. Bats equipped with the chips are called Power Bats.

That data is then transmitted to a stump box where it is processed by Microsoft Azure Sphere. Then the data is stored in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. From the Cloud, the data is free for almost all to utilise ranging from players and coaches to commentators and viewers in real-time or after.

Microsoft and Spektacom hold the belief that launching such technologies would not only benefit players but also fans.

Power Bat

The chip has been incubated and launched under Microsoft’s ScaleUp programme. Being under this programme grants start-ups business and technical support and advice.

Executive Vice President Microsoft Peggy Johnson stated, “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.”

For maximum efficiency, one of those fully charged AI chips can last up to 48 hours. A wireless charger can be used to fully charge it in approximately 90 minutes.

“More intelligence can be added to the product in time. More parameters can be tracked. And the product could even be taken to other sports beyond cricket,” Peggy Johnson went on to add.

Shining A Spotlight

To promote and mainstream the chip, Star India has been brought in. Star India holds all TV rights to any and all BCCI matches.

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.”

The tech has already been showcased at the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) 2018. There it received appreciation and positive feedback from several batsmen.

After the event, Founder of Spektacom Anil Kumble told YourStory, “Some of the domestic players have used it. Our goal is to increase adoption in international matches and tournaments. We are looking at the 2019 World Cup. The more number of players use it, the more data we capture.”

Due to its super lightweight, the sticker does not significantly change the batsmen’s performance. It is kept on the shoulder of the bat.

In order for the Power Bat to go international, authorisation from several cricket boards would be needed. To this end, Kumble stated, “The intention is to take it to grassroots. We will make it affordable and accessible to everyone who wants to play the sport. There wouldn’t be any hindrance as far as permission is concerned.”

These new Power Bats could very well change up the entire game for the best but only time will tell.

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