This section include ideas from Scoring Team on deploying Mobile Scoring at your first tournament.

Here are the ideas covered in the section:

Determining if Mobile Scoring is right for your tournament

  • you will need appraisers that are willing to use cell-phones, tablets or laptops to enter scores
  • you will need to provide a WiFi network so appraisers cell-phones, tablets,... can access the internet
  • you will need Score Room leads and equipment willing to run the DI Scoring Program in mobile mode
  • you will need to get your tournament schedule and appraisers entered into the Resource Area

Mitigating Disaster

The general philosophy for running a tournament is to always be prepared.  The officials running your current tournaments have figured this out for paper score sheets.  When adding Mobile Scoring, the areas where you could run into difficulty goes up. Because of this we suggest first trying mobile scoring with 1 or 2 Team Challenge rooms.  This way if you run into unanticipated problems, your whole tournament is not effected.

Which Officials to get involved

Mobile Scoring has an impact on quite a few aspects of the tournament.  You need to:

It makes sense to have someone driving Mobile Scoring for the tournament.  This is the person that will dig into how it works and the impact on your current tournament processes.  This person will need to draw in the people listed above to make sure no one runs into circumstances they don't expect.

Time Line

We suggest you work out a time line that likely stretches back months from the actual tournament. Arranging for WiFi at the facility is an example of something you will want to check is available before you spend much time on other stuff. You will want to think about when to involve other officials and get the appraisers comfortable with the Mobile Client.

Preparing your Appraisers

Our experience to date is that the vast majority of appraisers think that Mobile Scoring is cool / modern.  At the same time their is some initial angst about whether it will be difficult for them to use.  We have some videos to help allay the fear of the unknown that you can use.  You can also open the tournament up a few days in advance to let appraisers give it a try from the comfort of their home.  This goes along way to combating the angst.

The day of the tournament you should have some techie-types that can help appraisers that run into problems.

Challenge Room Uniformity

As is discuss here, you can have some appraisers doing Mobile Scoring and others using paper.  If you do mix scoring approaches within a challenge room, you lose some of the advantages of Mobile Scoring. The Mobile Client can immediately validate that  appraisers objective scores are the same only if all appraisers are using the Mobile Scoring.  Otherwise such an error is likely to go uncaught until the Score Room enters the paper scores.  

Similarly, you will not be able to take advantage of Resource Area review and emailing of Raw Scores unless all scores and deductions are entered using the Mobile Client / Resource Area.

WiFi Tips

  • when speaking to network administrators at a facility such as a school, see if you can get a limited access channel for your appraisers to use.  Let the administrators know that you are not looking for access for all tournament participants but just appraisers and the score room (give them a count of the number of simultaneous users).  With an open site your appraisers might lose a connection because teams are playing Candy Crush.
  • make friends with one of the network administrators
    It is best to be able to communicate with the network administrators directly, rather than a secretary in a school office that just reads from a policy memo.  Being able to contact them the day of the tournament due to an outage is useful.
  • check that the WiFi signal is reasonable in the venues where the teams will perform
    You can go to each of the venues to check out the strength of the signal.
  • make sure the facility is not blocking the Resource Area
    Schools are notorious for limiting student access to sites. Make sure both the Score Room and the mobile clients can access the internet sites they need.
  • the Mobile Client does not need continuous access to the internet
    If the Mobile client loses its internet connection, it will continue saving scores locally until it re-establishes a connection. As a consequence you could at some point take the client to a location where it could establish a connection.

Using Score Sheets

One long term advantage of Mobile Scoring is that you can save a tree or 2 because score sheets are no longer needed. Remember that you still need:

  • prep check-lists
  • challenge specific worksheets such as structure check-in and weight-held
  • a sheet to collect sticky notes

We'd also suggest you have a plan for producing appraiser score sheets in case you need to abandon Mobile Scoring for some unforeseen reason.  This might be to print them in advance or have the score room be able to run them off for a challenge room as needed.

We find that appraisers still like some paper to make notes during the Team Presentation.  This could be done on appraiser score sheets.

Mobile Scoring Etiquette

You can quickly give Mobile Scoring a bad name if appraisers are using their cell phones for what looks like personal tasks unrelated to scoring the tournament.  The Scoring Team suggests the use of mobile devices be limited to when appraisers are scoring at the appraiser table after the team interview.

We suggest you develop a set of guidelines on usage of cell phones.

Recharging Mobile Devices

Mobile Client usage for the purpose of Mobile Scoring is likely about 1-2 minute per team.  While many devices will last the day without being recharged, some will likely need a recharge.  An old laptop with a battery that needs replacing might need continuous charge.  We suggest you have an appraiser power strip to deal with this.