GMS has three major objectives:
Like all good engineering projects, GMS had a well defined list of requirements before the first line of code was laid down. Like all real engineering projects, GMS functionality today greatly exceeds the initial set of requirements. The system was initially aimed at FRC, but now serves FLL & FTC as well. It was initially meant to help with Judging, but it is now popular for Robot Inspection and Queuing. It now also helps teams with Scouting.
GMS is built on the belief that people make better decisions when they have all the information the need. With information, people feel confident that they are making the right decisions. This leads to them feeling more relaxed, less frustrated and willing to volunteer again. Happy happy joy joy win win. A major design goal for GMS is to rapidly transport information from those who have it to those who need it.
Security and Privacy are designed in. All network traffic and stored data are protected with layers of security. Sensitive data on mobile devices is encrypted and kept private. The Judge Advisor and LRI Laptops are protected from DoS or information theft. All users have to authenticate themselves and each has a 'role'. Access to all information and functions are based on this role. While it is good to share information, the specifics of information sharing can be configured by the Leads at each event.
A major goal was to make functions consistent and intuitive. Colors are emphasized in the user interface for quick understanding of the situation. The work flow was influenced by actual experience gained by volunteering in various roles. That is why a Referee role is missing! Long pressing on buttons often provide additional short cuts for the impatient.
Some sites have poor WiFi connectivity, especially at FTC & FLL events. GMS had to work in these situations. It has an 'Offline' mode where each tablet can be used autonomously and information can be shared using Bluetooth, Android Beam or USB wires.
An inexpensive and ubiquitous platform was selected. Android tablets are inexpensive. Android is used by 80% of the world's phones.
Besides information and functions, communications is important at an event. GMS provides a Walkie Talkie function that allows participants to communicate using audio messages. There can be multiple "channels", each consisting of a group of users. A user can be in multiple groups, and thereby can listen on multiple channels. Messages can be replayed as desired. They are transmitted securely using WiFi. The design prevents the "jamming" that occurs in other systems when a user accidentally keeps the transmit button pressed. Groups and messages are managed centrally.
Last, but not least, it is a goal to learn from feedback and keep improving GMS.