Looking for IPhone/Android App developer

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Mergs, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    A constant problem at large events is the ability to communicate strip problems to the Head Tech/Armory during competitions. As was commented in another thread about the Capitol Clash and a power problem with a couple of the pods, part of the delay was the notification process. On Sunday I gave out my cell number and told refs to text me their strip number and what the issue was. It worked fairly well (once I put my ear buds in so I could hear my phone above the noise). I would like to work with someone to see if an app can be done for current generation phones to send such messages to multiple phones, and or FT v4.0.

    Please contact me by PM, or email [email protected] if you are interested in working on this.
     
  2. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    Easiest thing I would do is host a wireless network in DT and make a web-app. It's cross platform and you don't need to fuss with Android market/iTunes store.
     
  3. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Probably would be - wireless networks are beginning to be more common at venues, we had one set up at the Cap Clash. I will admit to being to being ignorant about the whole 'App' thing because I don't have a phone with that technology, so all education attempts will be appreciated. Not necessarily effective, but appreciated.
     
  4. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Drop a PM to OROD...he might be able to help.
     
  5. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    I figure if you're going to have an app/mobile-web it seems to me like this would be a good time to come up with something that the refs could enter poule and D/E results into, that automatically submits to your tournament software or something of the like.

    For Simply something that sends messages to a bunch of phones, it doesn't seem worthwhile to write just a custom PA system. I would just use SMS.
     
  6. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    I made that suggestion almost 7 years ago in a proposal to the USFA for an integrated tournament mangement system (which is now being developed by Fencing Time. The issue at the time, and I suspect it still is, is security of the information - hacking and verification. Much the same as why wireless scoring is being done the way it is with the machine basically being worn by the fencers.
     
  7. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    That's sort of a ridiculous concern.

    I mean, we do banking/email and tons of things that are more confidential over mobile than fencing tournaments. The technology for secure transfer of information already exists.

    I would be more worried about someone picking up the ref's phone and putting in fake results, but how is that any different than walking up to DT with fake results, or changing the bout sheet?
     
  8. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    I am not disagreeing with you on this point. This falls into the 'it is what it is' category of arguments, and I'm not trying to push that capabiliy into this app. Yet. For now, I'm just trying to make the Head Tech, BC and Ref's life a bit easier, so any help will be greatly appreciated.

    BTW, I'd like to see if we could roll this out for the next NAC in mid-Mar. Doable?
     
  9. trcm

    trcm Made the Cut

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    Mergs, I can't say anything about the wireless fencing systems, but Bonehead is right.

    The two big issues with this are 1) the number of referees with smartphones and 2) "signing" the bout sheet. #2 would be pretty easy to take care of.

    #1 is tough though. Would the USFA be buying smartphones/tablets/laptops for each strip? Not all refs (me included) do not have smartphones or something that could connect to a web app while on the strip.

    If we can't guarantee an electronic score sheet on each strip, is it possible to do part by hand and part electronically? A "halfway" solution for the refs currently with smartphones would be a great idea, but there's a certain amount of inefficiency with combining the current BC methods and possible electronic methods. Is the current system more or less efficient than a split system? I suspect that the split system would be better, and could work until everyone has a smartphone/USFA buys something for each strip.

    This kind of thing could be fantastic though, especially because you can communicate with BC too. Instead of having to run to the table/call and ask for a second call, just send a message through the web app. I really love the idea personally.
     
  10. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Folks,

    I am telling you: I DON'T CARE A RAT'S A$$ ABOUT SENDING/RECEIVING POOL/DE TO THE BC WIRELESSLY!! (right now).

    Please, all I'm trying to do is figure out a way, other than texting, to send info such as strip # and brief description of the problem to the Armory crew (multiple receipients). If you can help or are interested, please let me know.
     
  11. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    My company turns over apps pretty much the fastest that anyone does it. We did a couple apps in 2 days once, but normally this would be too short a time for an app with any sort of complexity. Though a developer on their own could make something that acts a PA in that time frame easily, to properly test it and billing and make it good enough for a release, it would be pretty tight.
     
  12. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Thanks, for the info - a couple of comments - first, I'd prefer to work with an individual rather than contracting with a company to do this; secondly, I am just looking to have a beta version for the event in March and finally, I'm not looking for a complicated/complex application. If text messaging is the easiest way to do it, so be it. My thought was that since it seems that all the refs now have phones/devices that can execute apps that it would be an easy thing to do.
     
  13. fencerX

    fencerX Rookie

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    So you're looking to reinvent the wheel and make it flat?

    Writing custom software for this seems ridiculous overkill when Twitter and the like are already available.
     
  14. qatet

    qatet DE Bracket

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    An easy fix for the moment would be a Google Voice number. The number would be consistent from NAC to NAC, but you could change which armourers' phones get the messages forwarded to them based on each weekend's attendance. (Heck, during nationals, when people get days off, you could even change it so that people on their day off wouldn't get the messages.)
     
  15. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    and if you don't twitter? then what?
     
  16. edew

    edew Podium

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    Get iPod Touches for the referees who don't have smartPhones. Put the app on iPod Touch, they can fill in the results, have them walk back to the BC table and return the Touch. Dock it, sync results. Viola. iPod Touches also have WiFi access, so can also do some communicating. Starts at $199.
     
  17. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    OK. Sounds like it may have promise. Can you point me to where I can learn more? One drawback to texting, especially the less technically advanced (like me) is the cost. Would there be a cost associated with this?
     
  18. edew

    edew Podium

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    Back to sending info about what's happening on a strip. Texting allows for group texting. Even basic non-smartPhones have texting and group texting capabilities. If referees don't have smartPhones, at least they would have a basic cellphone, which should allow them texting and group texting. Just ask them to collect all the relevant phone numbers to text and use them. Prep them before the bouts start.

    Messages should be text based since the referee may have other things to do instead of standing there with phone next to ear, waiting for a reply. Also, it's so bleepin' noisy on the strip that listening on the phone is hard.
     
  19. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Um, we ARE talking about the USFA here, remember? At that price for 50 iPads is about $10,000, which will cover all the NACs (plus having a couple of spares) because you have to plan for the fact that if ALL the referees show up to an event without smartPhones (recognizing the probability of that happening is as close to zero as you can get; well maybe. The probability of Congress approving a budget on time is probably less). It is a contingency that has to be planned for, one that would be too expensive to impliment given the fiscal restraints we as an orgainization are under.
     
  20. qatet

    qatet DE Bracket

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    You can find more information about Google Voice here: https://www.google.com/voice

    It would just forward calls and text messages to every number you chose, so standard text rates for your personal phone provider would apply. Admittedly, those could get pricey for any armourers who don't have an unlimited plan.
     

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