I noted a column in the Outdoor Wire about how the scoring system in the shooting sports is broken, because the way we do it now doesn’t allow for real-time spectator participation. I agree 100% with the column, and it dovetailed nicely with another rant I had about technology in the firearms industry, specifically timers.
The CED7000 Pro is a really good timer. By the standards of any other consumer electronic, it’s ancient technology tottering along. In an age of tablet computers that weigh less than a volleyball and have more computing power than my 90s era desktop, it’s ridiculous that our very best timer is something like this.
Here’s what match scoring would look like in a perfect world: you’d have an all-in-one device, about the size of an iPhone that records the time, then allows you to enter the scoring (points down, target hits, whatever). You’d have all the different shooting sports profiles entered into the device, so you could select “USPSA Match” and go to work. You wouldn’t need pen-and-paper score sheets, because this magical device would use WiFi, so that all the scoresheets would be digitally pushed to each device from the central scoring PC. In the software backend, you’d have the central scoring PC that pushed the data on shooters (class, name, shooter number, division) to the devices, and each device would be digitally “assigned” to a stage so that the data coming back would go to the correct spot.
So when a shooter finishes his run, the RO goes through and scores it, enters the data on the Sorcery Device, the shooter views his scores and hits a button labeled “Accept”, and the score is magically submitted to the database. The central scoring computer would be linked to a monitor or something so shooters could see live progress of how the match was progressing.
The crazy thing is that we have the technology right now to do that. Even if we didn’t use a magical all in one device, we could get a 75% solution with the use of iPad/iPhone technology and a good scoring app. But I’ll tell you right now why it won’t happen, and this makes me sad: $$$$
Building the technology, and more importantly building it right and robust will cost money. No one is going to do that kind of work for free, and the people who have the technical skills to do it would rather make money doing something else than building an amazing technology that would receive limited implementation. Because local ranges and clubs aren’t going to drop $50 on software and $1000 on the devices necessary unless they’re an especially progressive and forward thinking club (shout-out to ENPS who are squared away). So, how could this work? If it was top-down. For example, if IDPA bought a program like this, and then mandated that all major matches buy the program and be compliant by 2015, providing co-op dollars to help ease the cost. That would work. That would be a game changer. I actually hope that IDPA’s partnership with the cool bros at RangeLog turns into something like this, because if there’s anyone that could build this scoring app and do it right, it’s RangeLog.
Admit it, you’d love to see this kind of scoring system used. It would make matches so much interactive, to the point where being a match spectator might actually be fun!