Electronic Scoring can and will be a great improvement to our sport. There are several companies developing software to be used across many platforms. Action Shooting is in the birth years of electronic scoring and development is just starting. It is still unclear as to who will emerge as the best for USPSA but there is plenty of room for developers to bring forward their ideas.
Electronic scoring was first proven by the implementation of Palm Pilots in EZWinScore. Using a stylus and small touch screen devices, the scores were entered at the stage and then transferred to EZWinScore via import. A few years later, new hardware hit the scene and Practiscore was the first generation to use tablet technologies. They stepped up the game using Apple iPads and Android tablets to record scores at the stage and then import to EZWinScore. In second quarter 2014 they promise to be able to upload direct to USPSA, eliminating the import to EZWinScore. PractiScore is gaining momentum and is now the second official program of USPSA.
Several others have now hit the market offering a variety of choices for scoring matches. Some, like IPSC/USPSA Scoring from the Google Play store and PractiScore provide easy setup and simple scoring for local matches. Others provide more comprehensive systems for larger matches. WireTex now provides a software that includes a master console to the MD and Stats crew for a constant overview of the match and monitoring of the mobile devices. It also provides true live scoring that can be broadcast to the internet and TV while advertising is shown in the background. One thing for sure is that just like our sport, competition breeds innovation.
For several reasons, it would be foolish to limit match scoring to only one vendor. Without competition, the development of new features would stall. If the one vendor didn’t like the idea or simply didn’t have the resources or time, the idea would not make it into the program. Another issue is the problem of a third party controlling USPSA. Once a single vendor has been given a monopoly, they would be free to dictate the program and data usage. Remember, any scoring program has personal information and can be used for marketing purposes. Third, if the one vendor that owns the only scoring program would be sold, lost in court or passed to inheriting parties, USPSA would be stuck with a new controlling partner. Since nobody knows the future, we have no idea who that partner would be and their views on our sport. Without a doubt, when it comes to electronic scoring, USPSA needs to leave the doors open to development and free market.
In the End
It is clear we are moving towards electronic scoring. USPSA should not limit itself to the first company that brings a solution to the table and possibly fall into a death trap. USPSA should vigorously protect it’s resources, name and data through copyright and licensing.