Canine sports are an incredible bonding experience between the dog and the handler. We love trialing in multiple sports with our dogs. As we've gotten more involved in various sports and venues we noticed something, there's a lot of manual work and paper involved. So we're looking to change that.
What is TrialBuddy?
TrialBuddy is a 1-stop application for your dog sport trialing needs. We're building TrialBuddy to be a complete canine sports platform. From competitors to trial hosts, TrialBuddy looks to make the process easier all around.
- Simplified Trial Finder: Finding trials of interest isn't always easy. For many sports/venues you need to scroll through a whole lot of stuff you're not interested in. TrialBuddy simplifies this by allowing you to search and filter for trials based on criteria of interest (state, date, level, etc).
- New Trial Notifications: Based on your criteria, notifications will be sent to you when a trial of interest is added.
- Online Score/Title Log: Depending on the sport and venue, there are different ways of keeping track of score, progress, titles, etc. Some have (or had) paper books. Some have stickers. Some have sheets for you to keep track yourself. And some have some online info. We're looking to simplify it all. You'll have access to all of your trial results in 1 location. (Note: Will require manual entry by you, unless the trial hosts are using our Trial Manager. More info on that as this option progresses).
- And More: Something you don't see listed here but you know would be super helpful? Leave a comment or provide feedback and we'll consider any input that makes sense for the platform.
- Please Note: NACSW™ scent work trial searching/notifications will be available at launch. We are also hoping to have CPE CSS availability. Since it is a new venue for the sport they have just launched their first trial calendar. We'll do everything we can to have this functionality also available at launch.
Trial Manager Features
(Trial Manager initially available for NACSW™ scent work only, so these features are exclusive to that. Trial Manager will be updated for other venues and sports in the future)
- Trial Premium Generation: Built-in templates allow easy generation of trial premiums by just adding a few bits of relevant info. No more need to find/replace all over a document.
- Confirmation Email Sending: Similar to posting premiums, sending out confirmation emails can be tedious. And many times hosts have an error in copy and pasting information (it happens, we're human!). We'll take care of sending out the emails for you.
- Wait List Management: For many trials, managing your waitlist could be a tedious task. Our interface and database makes wait list management a breeze, including things like automatically removing folks once their "need-to-know-by" date passes.
- Volunteer Management: Everyone has a different way of organizing and managing volunteers. We have included a system for letting volunteers sign up as well as allowing the volunteer coordinators manage roles and send out volunteer-only communications.
- Digital Registration and Waivers: No more paper waivers or check-in! We have digital copies of waivers with the competitor and dog information pre-filled in at the trial. All they need to do is sign on a tablet at the registration table, which will also check the competitor in.
- Digital Score Sheets: When using the full Trial Manager suite judges have access to digital score sheets on tablets with initial information pre-loaded for each competitor. Once the search is complete and the judge is done the score room will automatically get access to the closed out score sheet. This saves time and eliminates the need for score runners (as sometimes volunteers are hard to come by).
- Up-Next/On-Deck Notifications: Many trials us a manual number flipping system for which dog is up next. We've built a digital system for handling that, so no more getting out of your cars to take a look at the number chart if you don't want to. There are multiple options available for the trial hosts to use for the numbers, including a custom built digital number board. More information on all the options available by request. (We understand that not all trial sites have a reliable cell signal or WiFi available. We have a solution for that!)
- And More: Something missing? Let us know! We've built Trial Manager based on our own experience in hosting a trial and feedback from other trial hosts. We'd love to know what would make your hosting experience easier (and eliminate the need for a lot of paper!).
- (Although our plan is to focus on NACSW™ scent work for the initial launch, if any backers at the trial host levels primarily deal with other venues, we are happy to expedite development of Trial Manager for CPE or PSD venues. Let's work together!)
- Trial Secretaries: Trial Manager is not looking to replace you or take away your jobs. Quite the opposite. This software can make your jobs easier!
(More screenshots of the web interface and mobile apps soon)
We've also been building and designing some hardware for trial hosts and competitors as well. While not necessary to use TrialBuddy, they can make the trialing experience easier (and greener).
- E-Ink Name Badge: Many (most?) trials have name badges printed out on stickers for the competitors to wear with their name and dog's name. Think of the number of trials you've gone to and how much ink and paper that was used, just to get thrown away in a few hours. We've build an updatable e-ink badge! Simply select the handler and dog in the app the badge will automatically update over-the-air (WiFi or Bluetooth required). You can even customize your badge to include your running order number. This is very convenient for folks who have multiple dogs.
- Digital Number Board: As mentioned as part of the software, we have a number notification system as part of Trial Manager. We understand this isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, so we provide options! And one of those options is a custom designed digital number board. Gone are vinyl numbers attached to a PVC frame or a whiteboard with someone erasing and changing number with a dry erase marker. We've been designing a digital LED board that when the numbers change, will notify the competitors. A lot of thought has gone into the design to make sure it can be used outside (weather proof, visible in the sun, able to be powered when not near an outlet). One of the reward tiers includes a custom number board. For those not wanting the board, there are other running order management options, such as using a TV or just the Trial Manager app.
(Sample video of first prototype of the e-ink badge being updated)
We understand that TrialBuddy is marketed as a one-stop-shop for canine sports, and that is what it will be. The initial items above focus on NACSW™ scent work trials. That is what we're most familiar with and what we've already started building. The framework will allow for other sports and venues to easily be added. One item of importance in the next phase is online registration for agility trials. Many folks have told us it's frustrating to have to print out and mail in premiums for most of their trials. Fear not, we've got you covered!
After the initial NACSW™ portion of the app rolling out, we'll be adding (in no particular order): CPE Agility, CPE CSS, NADAC Agility, PSD Scent Work. And more venues and sports to follow.
We think we have a great idea and great product. We've been competitive in dog sports for over 5 years and have realized it's time to modernize a few things. We have a lot of the competitor portion already completed from at the "bones" level. We have algorithms and APIs and processes that run. We just need a little time help getting to the next level and launch. Because of the backend work and processing involved, standard web hosting just won't cut it. In addition to that, there's going to be a lot of stored data and notifications going out. We'll be using the funds to complete the development (including the UI and mobile apps) as well as acquire the necessary environment for TrialBuddy to live. Funds will also be used for initial production of our hardware components. We're excited for you to come on this journey with us.
We will be providing plenty of photo and video updates during the process.
Who Are Red Huskies?
Red Huskies, LLC is a startup-based out of Ellicott City, MD. We started with the idea of making cool things dogs and their people (our first proof-of-concept was a GPS hiking logger hardware device with accompanying app). As time went on we decided to narrow our focus to canine sports. Our dogs love sports and we love the connection and bond we get while competing with them. Having nearly 3 decades of combined technology experience we decided to combine our technical expertise and our love for spending time with our dogs.
In addition to the technology, we offer nose work training for folks in the area, as well as hosting local nose work trials.
Risks and challenges
There are a number of risks and challenges with the TrialBuddy project.
Lack of Official/Direct Data:
The various sport venues do not provide trial APIs or direct data streams. We have our own "secret sauce" algorithms for getting the information we need. Of course, things may not always be perfect at the start.
Aggressive Launch Schedule:
Our initial development timeline seems aggressive when looking at the dates. We have worked on high pressure, quick-turnaround projects before and know we can launch at the given time.
Lack of Network Service:
For the Trial Manager software, some of the features require a network connection. From our experience, there are plenty of trial sites that have little-to-no cell service. We are working on ways around this limitation.
Distrust in Everything Online:
There are some folks who simply prefer the manual and paper method of doing things. And we respect that. To accommodate those folks, we will build in the "old school" option for entry as well.
An Unknown Adventure:
This is our first crowdfunded project. We have decades of experience in building quality software products, but never for the canine sport industry. Some unknowns may pop up along the way.
- (30 days)