After receiving entries from over 8,300 technology innovators and sports enthusiasts, the HCL and Cricket Australia TechJam has concluded. Selected from a deep pool of innovative thinkers, the grand prize winner was an application that aims to help draw new fans into the sport and deeply engage with the community. With a passionate objective of increasing love for the game of cricket, the idea caters to one of the core objectives of Cricket Australia and HCL partnership.
The winner, Cricket Carnival, is an IoT-based application that will break down the complex game of cricket to its fundamentals, combining with local initiatives to ignite people’s passion for and engagement with the game. The application was chosen from a shortlist of highly competitive entries, with runners up including an application that will leverage AI-powered video analysis to deliver smart coaching tools, another that will use blockchain for the purposes of collectibles, data analytics and modelling.
“The teams that won provided solutions that had the right mix of novelty, need and simplicity”, Michael Horton, Executive Vice President & Country Manager Australia & New Zealand at HCL Technologies, said. “All three winners (along with the two HCL winners) were demonstrable solutions that weren’t just innovative but also solved a key challenge that Cricket Australia is currently trying to address,”
Building winning cricket technology
Out of 100+ entries received, 59 projects were shortlisted and meticulously evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges including global leaders from across industries in the pre-finale round, post which the top eight teams were selected as finalists for the grand finale.
The eight finalists were judged by a panel of technology and cricketing leaders, including Vanessa Sorenson – Managing Director, Microsoft New Zealand; George Bailey – National Australian Men’s Team Selector and Former Cricketer, Cricket Australia; Gerard McKee – Head of Technology Strategy and Operations, Australia Division, ANZ Bank; Kalyan Kumar – Chief Technology Officer and Head Ecosystems, HCL Technologies; Michael Osborne – General Manager, Technology, Cricket Australia; Sujeet Rana – GM Customer Experience & Technology, Coles Group, and Sebastian Lancestremere – Global Digital Transformation Partnership Director & Sports Industry Managing Director, Microsoft.
The three key criteria for assessment were:
- Technical Execution: How has the team effectively utilized the available technologies and how advanced is the solution? How far does the team go to complete its intended architecture? Is the project demo-ready? MVP (minimum viable product) with limited features? Just a concept?
- Challenge Fit: How relevant is the solution to the challenges provided by Cricket Australia? Has the project solved every area of the selected challenge or only one sub-point or a specific problem?
- Innovation: Is the project new and disruptive? Is the solution a unique solution to the challenges or is it a reworked tool or solution already currently available?
Swapan Johri, Corporate Vice President – Asia-Pacific and Middle East at HCL Technologies, said “Thanks to the depth and breadth of ideas submitted, TechJam exceeded expectations of innovative thinking for overcoming challenges and creating new opportunities for uplifting cricket.”
“The programme started with the same objective in mind – to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to today’s innovators to help reimagine cricket like never before, Michael Osborne, GM – Technology at Cricket Australia said. “TechJam delivered on its promise. Not only did it push participants from across the globe to create innovative solutions, but it also inspired them to bring their ideas to life through mentorship sessions, webinars, tweet chats and the riveting discussions that were part of the ‘TechTalk’ series.”
As noted by Nick Hockley, CEO, Cricket Australia, it wasn’t just the winners that benefitted from TechJam. The spirit with which all participants approached the event meant that it became an experience with plenty of knowledge transfer and it afforded many the opportunity to gain access to mentoring that will benefit them well beyond the scope of TechJam itself. “It really created an international community of like-minded individuals who have a passion for technology and the sport of cricket,” Nick said. “Participants used the platform to network with each other and share their knowledge and experience. It was fantastic to see so much passion, energy and expertise, as well as and a spirit of innovation, collaboration and healthy competition.”
Taking the solutions to the next stage
For the winners, the journey is just starting. Each winning team now has the chance to take their ideas and prototypes and convert them into solutions, as they are given the opportunity to work with experts from Cricket Australia to try and deploy their solutions to create real-world impact.
TechJam highlights the commitment that HCL, as the Official Digital Technology Partner of Cricket Australia, must leverage technology to build the game and make cricket a sport for all. TechJam wasn’t just an opportunity for entrepreneurs and technologists with great ideas – it also represented the opportunity for a sport with a long history of innovation to continue to find solutions that enhance the experience for fans, players, coaches and the community alike.
Globally, sport is becoming more competitive, with more sports vying for the public’s attention. Technology will be a key differentiator in ensuring the ongoing growth and health of these sports. With the kind of innovation that was seen on display through HCL-Cricket Australia TechJam, cricket is in safe hands.