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Anil Kumble's Microsoft AI-enabled Power Bat partners with Star India to revolutionize cricketing experience for players and fans
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Microsoft, Star India and Anil Kumble redefine fan engagement with real-time Power Speks

MUMBAI, India, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. and Anil Kumble's technology startup, Spektacom Technologies, with support from broadcast partner Star India, came together on Thursday to announce the introduction of the Power Bat. The Power Bat provides players, coaches, commentators, fans and viewers with a completely new and unique way to engage with the sport and help improve their game — all powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform using AI and Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Microsoft company logo.

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

"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," said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president, Microsoft. "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."

Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India, said, "Star India has always strived to redefine and elevate experiences for sports fans. From Multilanguage 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."

According to Anil Kumble, former captain, Indian cricket team, and founder, Spektacom, "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 unique concept whereby a lightweight, Azure Sphere-powered sticker is 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.

Although the technology introduced by Spektacom today has its first use case in cricket, for Microsoft, Anil Kumble and Star India this is the first of many sports where it can be used.

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

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About Spektacom Technologies

Spektacom is redefining sports and re-Imagining fan engagement through innovative sensor technology. Its mission is reaching billions of sports fans. Spektacom enables the fan's participative experience to "be in the game".

About Star India

Star India has defined the Indian media landscape since 1991 and today is one of the country's leading media conglomerates, reaching approximately 700+ million viewers a month across India and more than 100 other countries. Star generates 30,000+ hours of content every year and broadcasts 60+ channels in 8 different languages, reaching 9 out of 10 C&S TV homes in India. Star India is a fully owned subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

The network's entertainment channel portfolio includes Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Star Gold Select, Star Gold Select HD, Star World, Star World HD, Star World Premiere HD, Star Movies, Star Movies HD, Star Movies Select HD, Star Utsav, Star Utsav Movies, Star Bharat, Star Bharat HD, Movies OK, National Geographic, National Geographic HD, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Wild HD, Fox Life, Nat Geo People, Nat Geo People HD, Nat Geo Music, Nat Geo Music HD, Baby TV, Baby TV HD and Star Plus, Star Plus HD India's No. 1 Hindi General Entertainment Channel. It has a leading presence in regional broadcasting as well, through a bouquet of channels which include Star Jalsha, Jalsha Movies, Star Pravah, Star Pravah HD, Maa channels (Star Maa, Star Maa HD, Star Maa Gold, Star Maa Movies, Star Maa Movies HD and Star Maa Music) and affiliate channels Asianet, Asianet HD, Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies, Star Suvarna, Star Suvarna HD, Star Suvarna Plus and Vijay TV, Vijay Super. It is also present in the Indian movie production and distribution space through Fox Star Studios.

Star India is making quantum leaps in transforming sports in the country by leveraging the group's strengths in superior content and audience engagement. Star's sports business has grown rapidly to 13 channel properties (Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 1 HD, Star Sports Select 2 HD, Star Sports Hindi 1, Star Sports Hindi 1 HD; India's first Tamil Sports channel Star Sports Tamil 1 and India's first private FTA sports channel Star Sports First), making it the leading sports network in the country.

Star is driving the agenda on digital consumption in the country with Hotstar, Star's revolutionary digital platform which is among the fastest growing apps in the world and is increasingly becoming the first port of call for internet adopters in India.

Star India is a fully owned subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

Follow us on http://www.startv.com/.

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