We’re in Esteemed Company


A few years ago, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article detailing the contributions Australians have made to the world of science and technology (Luke Slattery, “What Will They Think of Next,” Sydney Morning Herald, 25 January 2014, https://www.smh.com.au/technology/what-will-we-think-of-next-20140120-313fl.html).

From the invention of Wifi to the the evolution of the Black Box flight recorder, Australian developers have found niche ideas to change the way we live our lives. BBG Sports were included in that list, for the development of the Hot Spot in the world of cricket.

Take a look at the article :


Thunder & Lightning

As the inventor of Hot Spot and one of the principals of the Real-Time-Snickometer (RTS), I believe it makes me fairly well qualified to cast my eye over Jonny Bairstow’s comments on DRS during the Sydney Test and the technologies it utilises.

“When you see the spike on the graph and one system is allowed one frame before but the other system has one frame after, and you don’t know which system is in place, that can be very frustrating especially when you are toiling very hard for a long period of time. That’s all we want as players.”

“The technology is there to be used but we need to make sure it’s of the highest standard because it’s people’s careers and livelihoods you are messing with. It is a frustration not knowing the exact rulings and how it’s used.”

In short, I believe Bairstow has a very valid point….that being, different audio detection systems, namely  RTS and UltraEdge, use different methods to calibrate audio and video which can therefore produce different results.

With RTS we base our calibration on the “Lightning-and-Thunder” principle which recognises that the speed of light and sound are different and that you always see the flash of lightning before you hear the thunder clap.

In regard to RTS, we have to allow for this difference in speed and have to include an offset value, so that we can synchronise video and audio accurately.


We perform this calibration by using a Film and Television Clapper board whereby we stand on the popping crease and snap close the clapper board in order to generate a short sharp sound. When we record the video and audio during this process we are able to quantify how many milliseconds in time the audio is behind the video. Once this number is quantified, it is input into our software as the “Lightning-Thunder” offset. In cricketing terms, this will equate to a bat-on-ball noise, only ever appearing as a spike in RTS after the ball has past the bat. In effect, what we are ensuring is that a noise from bat-on-ball contact could NEVER appear before the ball passes the bat…….Physics 101 right?

It was conveyed to us by members of the ICC Elite Umpires Panel that our competitors at Hawkeye have taken a very different approach with their UltraEdge product. The umpires have confirmed that the spike in the UltraEdge output could appear in one of three different positions;

1) When the ball is one frame in front of the bat.
2) When the ball is along side the bat.
3) When the ball is one frame past the bat.

Who would ever have thought that Thunder could come before Lightning….If this was true, imagine how confusing it would be for the 3rd umpire!

The MCG Boxing Day Test : A Few Thoughts

There were lots of opinions, plenty of debate and much speculation as to the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne this year. Most of this speculation centred around the quality of the drop in pitch.


One talking point which baffled many a scribe and former players was the manor of the dismissals of England’s James Vince and Dawid Malan. In both cases, the batsmen were given out LBW and chose not to appeal via the DRS system. However, in both cases, Hot Spot showed clearly that each player had hit the ball and therefore would have had their dismissals overturned.



While unusual, this is nothing new. In fact it happened earlier this year during the Champion’s Trophy at The Oval, when Mushfaqur (BAN v AUS) did not challenge his LBW decision.


Many reasons were given for such occurrences. The thickness of today’s gloves, the thickness of the bats the players are using today make it harder for players to realise they have hit the ball. However, the Malan incident was not a ‘feather’. In the words of my colleague, “he smashed that”.

Former players were adamant that this didn’t happen in ‘their day’, that they knew every time when they had hit the ball. They may have known every time that they KNEW they had hit the ball, but as Hot Spot is showing us, maybe there were times they didn’t feel a thing!!

On the subject of the MCG pitch, one thing we noticed while operating the Real Time Snicko, was how much noise the stump microphones were picking up off the pitch. Specifically, the amount of noise the dragging feet of the batsmen on the hard surface was being picked up. This was significantly more than usual, and significantly more than what we had observed a few days earlier at the ODI matches in Christchurch.

The Synergy of Hot Spot & Real Time Snicko

For those of you that haven’t been actively involved in watching Cricket over the past 5 years the game has changed dramatically during this period with the introduction of the Decision Review System (DRS). This involves using 3 different types of technology to help officiating of the game in two major areas as follows;

1) LBW via Ball-Tracking-Technology
2) Fine Edge detection (ball-on-bat-or-ball-on-glove) via Infrared imaging or audio based detection

Our company, BBG Sports provides the most effective solution for faint-adge-detection as we combine our Hot Spot and Real-Time-Snickometer (RTS) technologies in order to present two different opinions for fine-edge-detection decision making.

Over the past 5 years, we have said publicly on several occasions that neither of our technologies are 100% perfect.  Under certain conditions, Hot Spot can be more appropriate than RTS and on other occasions RTS can be the more conclusive. What I do know for certain is that the combination of both products give decision makers the very best opportunity to make correct decisions…..a little bit like going to a doctor and getting an ultrasound followed by an MRI to diagnose a medical situation.

Since November 2013, Hot Spot and RTS have provided a very powerful combination of technologies that have produced the following statistics;

– 95% of the time Hot Spot and RTS give the same conclusion.
– 4% of the time only one of Hot Spot or RTS will be conclusive.
– 1% of the time neither Hot Spot or RTS will be conclusive.


In total, the combination of both technologies have enabled superior decision making compared to either product being used in isolation.

If anyone tries to convince you that a single technology is more accurate than a combined suite of technologies then it’s probably best if you suggest they head to the doctor for a second opinion.

Camera Tricks in Cricket

Camera Tricks in Cricket

One thing we have learned in almost twenty years in sports TV (and particularly cricket) is that what you think you see on screen is not necessarily what actually happens. There is an old saying that “the camera never lies”. Well, work long enough in TV and you’ll realise that that is not always true!!


Whenever I think about this, I always come back to the incident in the above clip. The batsman was given not out by the umpire. The fielding team thought they heard a noise and referred it to the third umpire for DRS. There was no noise on RTS but the third umpire thought he saw a deviation off the glove in both the bottom left and bottom right sections of the clip.


At first glance, it looks like the ball is touching the glove. However, all three cameras in an RTS clip are perfectly synched, and the top section of the clip shows that the ball is still in front of the batsman’s gloves. The third umpire didn’t notice this discrepancy, and an incorrect decision was made.

So next time you’re watching sport and a ball comes directly at the camera or away from the camera, remember that things may not always be what they seem.

A walk to the change rooms that led sport down a whole new path

For the best part of the last 30 years I have been involved in the development and implementation of real-time technology to help improve the operation and efficiency of sporting events around the globe. And I still very clearly remember the defining moment when I saw a huge opportunity to do things better.



Ivan Lendl and the 1989 Australian Open

The year was 1989 and I was Broadcast & Technology Director at Tennis Australia, working at the Australian Open. I‘d recently joined the team and had inherited an information system that had been built when Flinders Park (later Melbourne Park) opened in 1988. I’d had no input into how the original information system was designed or delivered and what expectations the system had to achieve and it wasn’t until 12 months later that these expectations became crystal clear.

It was day 4 of the tournament in 1989, and I was watching an information screen at Tennis Australia reception, seeing Ivan Lendl was at match point on Court 1. Interestingly, at that very moment, Ivan Lendl walked past me – not only having completed his match, but also his on court interview, he’d stopped to sign autographs and was casually making his way to the men’s change-rooms… It was crystal clear to me that the information screens beaming updates around the stadium and the Aus Open precinct were at least 3-5 minutes behind real-time. At that moment I knew I needed to design and build a new information system that could deliver this information in real time



12 months later and we had the technology

By the 1990 Australian Open, we had a new system was in place, with new hardware, software and more reliable networking that enabled a real-time information system to deliver sub-second scoring information and statistics. From the first ball played on the outside courts at 11am until the end of play on Centre Court during the night session, fans, players and officials enjoyed real time updates from all 20 Australian Open match courts – a feature that was the first of its kind in Grand Slam tennis.


A desire to make more advances in more technologies across more sports

I often think back to that day in late January 1989, when Ivan Lendl casually walked past me in the underground hallways of Tennis Australia on his way to the change room – and wonder what he’d say if he knew what he inspired that day.

Since then I have built a business and a career in developing real time digital innovation across a range of different sporting codes, not just tennis. And to this day continue to push the boundaries of technology to bring exciting new advances to a range of sporting codes across the globe.



Welcome to the new BBG Sports website. After 15 years, and multiple incantations, a new BBG Sports website is upon us.

We will be uploading plenty of interesting information on our travels around the globe, and discuss, as well as demonstrate, how our systems operate in match situations.

We have launched our first Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, which will keep up up to date with all the latest from the world of Hot Spot, Real Time Snicko and international cricket.

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