The Technology Behind Cricket an NV Interactive Story

The Technology Behind Cricket an NV Interactive Story

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It is well known that I love my cricket and over the last few years I’ve been able to combine my passion for cricket with the awesome team at NV Interactive in Christchurch and New Zealand cricket.

NV Interactive (then Lupo Data Concepts) was in 2005 one of the first companies worldwide to build a Smart Client solution with Visual Studio 2005 for scoring cricket matches. The team developed a bespoke application that feeds real-time scoring information into the Cricinfo.com website which on a monthly basis logs > 100 million page views. The site can easily log over a million users in a day if there's a big game on, making it one of the biggest sports websites in the world. Read the case study that we put together 5 years ago and NV Interactive’s summary of events.

Last year Justin Vaughan (CEO of NZ Cricket) reached out to Kevin Ackhurst (then Microsoft NZ GM) to deliver an "envisioning workshop" at New Zealand Cricket with Microsoft Gold Partner NV Interactive. I attended the workshop and collectively we mapped out a bunch of projects that we could take on collectively.

In March last year NV launched a new BLACKCAPS website based around domestic and international live scoring.

A key point of difference of the New Zealand Cricket website is its Live Scoring feature.  The site is the only provider of live scoring ball by ball for all domestic games, and also provides live scoring for all international matches.  It was essential in the redevelopment that NV create a very stable and secure platform that could cope with the huge volume of traffic during matches.  Up to 15,000 kiwi fans visit the site at any given time for the live scoring statistics for as many as 5 matches a day

The video highlights area has become a new fan-favourite, and has enabled New Zealand Cricket to leverage their rights relationships with their core coverage supplier, Sky Sports, in a new and creative way.

In Feb this year on the eve of the Australia cricket tour of NZ NV Interactive launched the new NZC Match Centre to “live score” all of the local domestic and international cricket matches in a single place. You can access the match centre here.

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In March Gus from NV Interactive came up to Las Vegas with me for the MIX conference. In our hotel room after Day 1 of MIX Gus and I had an hour to kill for dinner. 20 minutes later we’d managed to port the existing NZ Cricket Match Centre to Windows Phone 7 the day that the tools were released!

The NZ Herald followed this up with a great interview with Gus.

Following that earlier this year when I was down in Christchurch I got talking again with Gus and Zach about the then soon to be released Silverlight Pivot control and how we could look at using some of the stats that are collected by NZ Cricket. It was over that beer that we devised a plan to build the world’s first video pivot unlocking all the short video clicks capturing every 4, 6 and wicket from every home international over the last 5 years.

At the time I was also planning the keynote for Tech.Ed to present a real world demo of many screens and a cloud in conjunction with Sky TV for live streaming and instant sport highlights. Delivering this keynote and live on stage announcing the BLACKCAPS video vault was certainly a highlight for me this year.

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Read the NV Press release.

Last week the innovation and awesomeness of this “world’s first” project was honoured by receiving two final spots at the upcoming ONYA web awards.

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Fast forward to now and once again NV Interactive has a new technology release to tie in with the start of the NZ International cricket season on boxing day against the touring Pakistani team.

I am happy to announce today that NZ Cricket have released a mobile application for Windows Phone 7 that consolidates News, Live scoring (domestic & international matches), Point Tables and International Video Highlights of all the key match moments (added at midnight the day of the match).

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As part of a series profiling NZ Windows Phone 7 application developers and kiwi Start-ups Ben Gracewood has today posted a video interviewing Zach Hitchcock about the development of the application.

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All that is left now is for the BLACKCAPS to show some form and win the 20/20 against Pakistan at Eden Park on boxing day. I’ll be there cheering them on.

Related:

Update: The Cricket Company on SKY Sport did a story on NV Interactive

In this same episode there was a piece on Animation Research Limited and their Virtual Eye technology that is being used by SKY Sport during the test.

I worked with Ian Taylor and the ARL team during the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland in 2009 and I have a lot of respect for the ground that they have broken with their 3D on screen graphics.

The ICC have chosen not to use the technology as an Umpire Decision Review System during the test despite it being available a point that was presented on 3 news last night.