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MCG kicks customer service goals with data, IoT and AI

SYDNEY – 10 March 2020 The Melbourne Cricket Club is advancing its plans to create a digital twin of the MCG, using data, artificial intelligence and a 6000+ sensor Internet of Things. 

That digital twin would act as a central command centre for the MCG allowing managers to take action in real time to reduce customer queues for food and beverages, deliver instant security updates, manage maintenance and route foot traffic through gates and turnstiles to reduce delays. 

More than 40 data sets are currently being migrated to Microsoft Azure Data Warehouse by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) which manages the MCG. 

Working with Microsoft technologies and data and analytics partner Revenite, MCC has already developed an attendance prediction model. Using turnstile data from IoT sensors, the MCC collects data on patrons’ arrivals and attendance. This data and other variables are included in a predictive regression model to predict attendance, arrival patterns and members’ turn up rates. 

The delta between the model’s estimate and actual attendance at the MCG is just 4.8 per cent on average. In the past, forecasts based on gut feel tended to be out by around 14 per cent. 

That increased accuracy helps the MCC with pre event planning, during event decision making and post event analysis. 

Improved use of data and IoT are also delivering significant savings. The MCC has installed IoT electricity run meters on major assets which have allowed it to rein in annual electricity bills by $140,000. 

According to James Aiken, MCC business intelligence manager; “What we are trying to do is bring factual information into running our events. And then improve the customer experience. So, we’re looking at ways that we can use all types of data sets to estimate the crowd better, not just estimate the crowd size, but also when they’re going to turn up. So we have the right resources in the right place at the right time. 

“We want to try to be a bit more dynamic, have this sort of real time information flowing through so we can make decisions in real time. Rather than waiting for something to actually happen, we can start to predict that something’s about to happen.” 

All the MCC’s data sets will be loaded into its Azure Data Warehouse over the next one to three years. Catering, ticket sales, attendances, champion data, weather and event details and part of the CRM have been migrated already into the warehouse. 

At the heart of the MCC’s data-rich solution is Microsoft’s Azure Data Warehouse, Stream Analytics and Data Factory. Power BI supports data visualisation and Power Apps is being used to develop innovative data rich solutions for employees. 

Matt Sinclair, AI & IoT Lead, Microsoft Australia said; “Microsoft believes that intelligent use of data has the capacity to transform customer experience and operational efficiency for all enterprises. 

“MCC has deployed our state-of-the-art Azure data platform, and developed AI infused solutions that are allowing them to predict with greater accuracy the expected crowds at the MCG. This helps them to plan for customers’ arrival, reducing delay and improving the overall venue experience. 

“MCC’s longer term vision is to create a digital twin of the MCG, using rich real time data sources combined with artificial intelligence, that will establish the MCG as an international beacon for innovation and customer experience at major venues.” 

About MCC 

Founded in 1838, the Melbourne Cricket Club along with its role in the cricket world is an umbrella organisation for hundreds of participants in 12 sports – baseball, bowls, croquet, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, netball, real tennis, target shooting, squash and tennis. It is also the manager of one of Australia’s greatest assets – the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 


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 organisation on the planet to achieve more. 

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Rudolf Wagenaar, Commercial Communications Lead, Microsoft Australia 

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