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Lord Cricket Field Scorer

How New Zealand’s NV Interactive won its first season in UK cricket

NV Interactive is a world-class Digital Agency based in New Zealand, with a track record of combining creativity & intelligence to craft innovative digital experiences.

In 2006, with a passion for sport – and cricket in particular – NV Interactive developed the infrastructure for the world’s largest cricket live scoring facility.

Over the following decade, the company went on to partner extensively with New Zealand Cricket, delivering their website, ball-by-ball live scoring, mobile apps, a high– performance video analysis solution, match reporting and more – accruing a massive amount of IP ‘in the field’ of cricket.

A challenging invitation from the England and Wales Cricket Board

With such eminent cricketing credentials, NV Interactive was invited by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to tender for a unique opportunity; to deliver a professional cricket-scoring platform for the top 2,000 UK clubs.

Critically, this opportunity came in October 2017 – just months before the start of the UK cricket season, when the new solution would have to go live.

Matt Pickering, Managing Director of NV Interactive, commented. “Clearly, our biggest challenge was the timeframe. We had an existing code base built on Microsoft Azure technologies, and a deep understanding of the nuances of the requirements built up over a decade of delivering technology solutions to the elite end of the game. Crucially, we also had a broader vision around leveraging leading–edge technology to enhance the game of cricket. Due to the flexibility of the Azure platform & the incredible efforts of the NV team, we were able to deliver a robust solution within 3 months, both on time and within budget.”

Introducing NV Play – the groundbreaking cricket scoring solution

NV Play is the world’s most comprehensive, live cricket scoring and statistical analysis solution featuring revolutionary capabilities:

  • High performance video highlights supported by a range of fixed cameras set up at the grounds.
  • Winning and score predictor (WASP) utilising dynamic programming & advanced statistical modelling to predict scores and winners.
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence applications including automation, prediction and insights for coaching and player development.
  • Pitchside Analytics allowing players, coaches, and other users to capture data on their own device.

Gus Pickering, Technical Director, NV Interactive, sums up the impact and scope of NV Play.

“In essence, NV Play takes the level of scoring and statistical analysis that we have been applying to the elite national and first–class level of the game over the last decade, down to the top end of the recreational game. Players who take their game seriously now have access to a much richer and more powerful layer of statistical information and performance-based data than they’ve ever had before.”

Lords Cricket Field

Turning a vision into reality, with Microsoft Azure

Demonstrating NV Interactive’s passion and hard-won insights, Matt Pickering talks about the key thinking behind NV Play. “What you must understand is that live cricket generates very spikey traffic. Everyone wants to start their match at 11am on a Saturday, so we’ve had to handle a large number simultaneous users. Without Microsoft Azure, we wouldn’t have been able to do that.

“A big part of that was using Microsoft cloud services. We were able to turn on Platform as a Service (PaaS) as needed, and ultimately to deliver at a scale much higher than predicted, as user adoption exceeded all forecasts. We didn’t have to worry about infrastructure and scale issues, saving us a lot of time and pain.”

“We enjoyed a very agile, collaborative working process with multiple stakeholders in the UK. Working on very tight iterations, and constantly monitoring and reporting on features, stakeholders were an integral part of feature acceptance and prioritisation at every stage.”

Rolling out to around 2,000 UK cricket clubs

With so many ardent UK cricketers out there, uptake of NV Play has been exceptional – with far higher adoption than anticipated throughout the first complete UK cricket season. NV Play is forecast to have been adopted by the majority of the top UK clubs by the start of next season. Purely on word of mouth.

NV Play version 2.0 has just gone live in time for the start of the New Zealand cricket season, and it’s already being trialled in other markets.

What’s the end game?

“We feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to take on board the challenge from the ECB,” enthuses Matt Pickering. “The potential is so exciting and we look forward to being a part of that.

“We see massive opportunities for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to leverage our unique datasets & deliver insights for national bodies, coaches, talent scouts and other professionals.

“One of our most audacious goals, at grass-roots level, is to discover the next Joe Root (England Cricket Team captain) when he’s still 9 or 10 years old! That’s what motivates us. Helping people to discover and enjoy the wonderful game of cricket in inspiring new ways.”

Exciting new possibilities in UK cricket

“This has been a tremendously successful project that has delivered a completely new professional scoring app to challenging timescales. The scorers and analysts, a valuable and crucial part of the cricket family, have adopted the system enthusiastically and now enjoy a vast range of scoring, analysis and social media functionality. The introduction of the NV Play platform also has exciting implications for the ‘democratisation’ of elite analysis capabilities through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, bringing them to the recreational cricketer. Taking advantage of the exciting possibilities presented by cloud technology helps the England and Wales Cricket Board to enable more people to play and enjoy the game of cricket.” — Damian Smith, Head of IT, England and Wales Cricket Board

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