In January 2016, Dubai hosted one of the major Skeet Shooting competitions in the Persian Gulf, freely open to all participants. As part of the 4-day event, more than 1,000 shooters of 15 different nationalities gathered at the Shooting Range of the local police, just outside the city, to compete in two different types of competitions:
In addition to the Men's category, the other categories that took part in the event were Seniors Over 60, boys from 8 to 17 years of age (the best of these went to the men's TOP25 grand final), women and girls under the age of 14
Skeet Shooting is one of the 5 sports that are part of the Fazza Heritage Championship (traditional Arabian competitions). In addition to falconry, which Microgate has been involved in over the last few years, this year we played a part in the management of this event and we will soon be involved in the event dedicated to static apnea.
This time, the technology involved did not consist in mere "timekeeping", since the latter is obviously not needed, but rather in the reorganisation of the implementation processes and work flow of the event (which, in the past, were entirely manual and on printed paper), by developing a series of custom software and hardware.
The first goal was to handle a crowd of about 1,000 people that previously had to queue up even for a couple of days before being able to shoot.
To speed up check-in operations throughout the various stages and areas of the shooting range, a disposable RFID bracelet was designed and distributed, with fixed closing to avoid mixing up participants' identities.
Shooters arrived on the days preceding the competition or on the same day, registered in the central database with all their personal data, and had a photo taken via webcam, associated with the RFID tag where their race number was printed.
By simply scanning the wrist through antennas installed in totems, customised with the customer's graphics, participants were registered as "present" and entered in the heat of 30 shooters that gradually competed in the skeet shooting competition.
The process involving registration, initial check-in and the creation of various heats divided into categories progressed rather smoothly and quickly, thus greatly reducing queues and waiting times for athletes. Moreover, their positioning within heat number X allowed them to reliably predict when their turn would be (minutes, hours, or the next day).
Our client's second requirement was for us to ensure some form of "security" when accessing the actual shooting area, which, in addition to the judges, could be accessed only by the 30 shooters of that turn.
Therefore, we developed a turnstile equipped with an RFID reader which, by scanning the bracelet, checks the athlete's authorisation to enter the shooting area.
The third request was to speed up the monitoring of targets for the judges, as well as of the related scores of the 8 shots that each shooter had available (0=off target, from 1 to 10 gradually getting closer to the centre, X if it is a bullseye).
This is why we developed an app for Android tablets, with which the judges were able to receive a list of the 30 shooters in the active heat (useful for cross-checking if all shooters were in the right lane) and, thanks to quick pre-set buttons, they were able to assign the 8 scores of the four targets.
In order to avoid any disputes, the app could also be used to take a photo of the targets, through the integrated camera on the tablet, which could then be saved together with the score.
The data was transmitted from the server to the tablet and vice versa via the local Wi-Fi and using specifically developed rest/json web services.
While waiting for their turn in the tent, the shooters were informed in real-time about the results via a flat-screen TV, where our TV Graphics department was broadcasting general rankings and heat rankings divided into categories.
The graphics station, supported by one of our skilled operators, provided the TV broadcasting station with some screens that were superimposed on local programmes. In fact, the event is highly popular throughout the Persian Gulf region.
Another key aspect regarded the displaying of the Starting Lists of the subsequent heats, without calling athletes or giving them reminders through microphones and loudspeakers, since they had already been informed it was their turn.
Finally, several informative Totems featuring touch screens and a built-in printer provided information to those who requested it.
The central database was synchronised with a copy on cloud, ready to provide data to websites, apps or other sources. However, this year, it was not exploited by any third party.
The organisers of Fazza3 - H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohamed expressed their satisfaction with this successful event, and reconfirmed the team and Microgate technologies for the next edition, which will be held in June as a "night" version (from 10pm to 3am) because of the Ramadan period: this will be a further challenge (sleepwise also!) for our collaborators.
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