Famous veteran cricketer Anil Kumble and Microsoft came together earlier this week to announce the introduction of “Power Bat”, a product that helps players, coaches, commentators and fans to view and analyse the game in a unique way. It is powered by Microsoft Azure cloud platform using artificial intelligence and the internet of things services. The venture was a part of the deal between Microsoft Corp, Kumble’s startup Spektacom Technologies and Star India.
Kumble, who was also the former captain of the Indian cricket team, said in a statement, “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.”
The Power Bat is a lightweight, Azure Sphere-powered sticker which is to be stuck on the shoulder of the bat — a form factor that is completely unobtrusive. 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. Using advanced analytics and AI services on Azure, real-time insights are captured through the stump box and displayed via the broadcaster. During practice or coaching, the same data can be viewed through a mobile app.
A similar technology is also being used by Bengaluru-based startup str8bat. They were in the news recently for showcasing str8bat to the London mayor and receiving his positive feedback.