Project Luther -
This page will be continually updated if we think we can improve or add to the project. UPDATE 16/02/2014 21:30: We’ve come to the decision that in order to make a slick and flexible system for all parties involved our system will be internet based and no longer Windows application based. What this means is that those who chose the admin free player attendance system can use mobile devices and bluetooth barcode scanners – of course the internet is required. But we will look into on offline ‘app’ version further down the line. As an alternative you can simply use a remote barcode scanner that saves a long list of recorded Luther ID numbers of which you can upload to the system at your convenience. You could also use any laptop with a USB Barcode scanner and record them into a spreadsheet – works nicely! This would again upload straight to Luther. Lastly, good old pen and paper! Then enter the ID numbers on our online system, again at your convenience. UPDATE 15/02/2014 23:27: Because we have received a fairly large response we thought it would help the effort if we were to create a separate Facebook page where we can post updates and engage with potential members regarding all matters Project Luther!
https://www.facebook.com/projectluther UPDATE 15/02/2014 18:46: Back to basics: The layer of attendance tech confused a fair few and others thought it unnecessary so we will explain a little more and propose changes.
The idea about digitising the skirmish sign in process is to reduce the administration work required for sites. There is a long delay between a skirmish site attendance and UKARA recognising it. We would like to reduce that. Proposal: Peel back layers and simplify the system whilst making any investment super cheap. All Luther users will have an ID number. This will be the basis of all attendances, checks and validation. This ID number will also be sent in a ‘Luther Card’ incl. barcode (printable PDF) form so users can print it off themselves. Hopefully we can provide a cheap lanyard/plastic wallet combo to hold the Luther Card. This then leaves skirmish sites to choose whether they want to minimise their admin work with a small investment in tech or not. It’s not forced, it’s their choice – the printed barcode would allow this. However this stage of development will be left till later to ensure we can fully adhere to skirmish site’s needs. Undecided on the official name, we’re sticking with Luther until further notice! Project Luther is a new initiative by AirsoftOperator.com (or anyone else that plans to help us before now and going public) that will allow Airsofters a legal defence to own Replica Imitation Firearms (RIFs) under the Violent Crime Reduction Act (VCRA) in the UK. UPDATE: First proper contender for a name will be ‘United Kingdom Airsoft Register / UKAR’ It is an Airsofter/consumer driven initiative – by Airsofters for Airsofters. We believe, in conjunction with many others including Airsofters, Retailers and Site/Event Owners that another method of defence against the VCRA is needed. While UKARA may suit some retailers, we believe it to be inadequate for a range of reasons. Although we commend retailers for initially taking the initiative to ‘save the sport’; it was never an act of altruism and they certainly don’t act in the favour of its consumers.
How will it work for you? The basics: It’s actually rather simple; every Luther registered Airsofter gets a coded wristband that’s unique to them. Consider it a ‘passport’ of sorts. This wristband is then scanned at sites, which not only automatically signs you in at the site, it registers your attendance and signs the any disclaimers/insurance waivers. You initially register with Luther through our website by providing all of the usual details whilst also providing ID that can be validated. You’ll then be sent a wristband with your Luther Skirmishers ID hard encoded along with a letter and other possible things we haven’t quite got to yet. Your skirmishing attendance figures are recorded which means they will be stored by us and by the site you visited. We will be working in tandem with all the appropriate Government departments to ensure that our data storage fully complies with the Data Protection Act and that it’s super secure. What this means is that you have near instantaneous proof that you have attended a skirmish or indeed attended several to qualify to buy a RIF, year on year. Processing times of legal defence will be a thing of the past. The database can also be queried by its own members for the purposes of second hand sales etc.
How will it work for Site Owners/Event Owners? Well let’s get the important part out of the way first. There is no annual fee – in fact there is zero cost on your part. You will only need a Windows based computer; we provide all other scanning equipment. We know that the signing in processes differs from site to site and so we plan on making the system, very easy and quick to use. Either way, if you were to use the system it would be quicker than yours currently is and you’d use near 100% less paper. It really will be entirely your choice but you could use our application to digitally process all players or a combination of both. We are currently working with site owners to create this side of the application around their needs and for it to be flexible as possible. All of the attendances that are recorded as part of using Luther’s application, whether it is wristband scans or manual data entry will be saved and uploaded to Luther’s servers. As a site operator – you can access this attendance data and export it to a spread sheet at any time. Please note: We are still considering whether sites should have or need constant access to customer’s addresses or not yet. We are aware that most sites don’t have active internet connections so for the purpose of signing in/registering attendance; the data will be saved and uploaded when an active internet connection is available.
How will it work for retailers? Again, like site owners there is no charge for using the system. You need a computer and access to the internet. Your potential customers can walk in your shop and simply declare their ID number with a form of ID. As a retailer you will be informed of multiple things, whether their defence is still considered active by us and a limited record of their skirmish attendances. Our recommendation is the same in that they must attend a minimum of three in no less than two months, every year.
So how is all this funded? That’s actually a brilliant question and very astute of you! It’s funded by you, by us. All registered members will have to pay a nominal yearly fee. Before you throw any fits or become outraged please read on! Airsoft Operator’s Project Luther will be run as a Non-Profit Organisation. What this means is that all our proceeds go straight back into the service offering and more interestingly back into the Airsoft community. We think that £5.00 per year is acceptable and nominal enough to not be challenged however we will discuss this with all of you. Although an outlandish statement on its own, let me explain further. For arguments sake let’s assume that we have 5000 members. That would bring in £25,000 in that one year. Once you remove administrative costs and running costs of the system you would still be left with huge percentage of that value. Initial estimates come in around £15,000 on the basis that the system costs equate to £2 per member. However we are being on the safe side (really unrealistically safe) with our estimates. The leftover revenue is likely to be a lot higher and obviously running costs get cheaper as it grows. With that leftover we can take on board suggestions as to what do with it and provide a range of options. A free weekender each year, free all year round site(s), discounted retail, monthly giveaways. You name it. It will be ran like a business in that we will always aim to make a profit however we can, but the profit will go straight back into this initiative. It’s entirely for our own benefit, for the sport we love and the cost to you and me is very low.
Why should we bother with AND PAY for this scheme when UKARA is free and will simply do? Other than what’s already been mentioned above it will also give us some political and commercial advantages as consumers. Currently Airsoft is somewhat controlled by UKARA in the UK because it’s by and large essentially the only legal defence available to attain as a plain skirmisher. UKARA isn’t for us nor do we have a say in it – it’s for retailers to supposedly ensure that they sell to people with a legal defence and can’t be held liable for making terrible mistakes. Just in case it is mentioned we do realise there are multiple methods of legally proving defence, however they usually take a great deal of effort and time and/or as a rule aren’t widely accepted. However it has emerged that whilst the board members/chairman of UKARA have quite clearly tried to improve the system it has demonstrated the potential power they have whilst it is essentially the only attainable defence a skirmisher has available. We don’t believe that level of control should be imposed on us as Airsofters. Whether you wish to get into the political side of it or not, it only means negative things for us – as consumers. No required, profiting industry should be entirely self-regulated; history has taught us this time and time again. One thing Luther would allow is true price competitiveness. We won’t impose strict rules and regulations on retailers because we are afraid that the minority will ruin it for the majority or because we wish to inadvertently create a cartel. With Luther, a retailer won’t have to sign up to UKARA as it currently has to. It can operate with honesty and integrity, legally for free unlike UKARA who charge its retailers £300.00 per year. This will promote business growth and potential whilst allowing smaller operations to take a slice of the pie too! Most skirmish sites will charge around £25.00 upwards to become a member before signing off your UKARA form. Luther would entitle you to your defence for a mere £5.00 per year and since Luther records when and where you skirmish; you get your defence automatically, no forms or extra registration required. Three games in two months and no less, is all it takes – your defence will be legally proven the very next day! You also have the complete freedom to visit any three sites too. You will no longer be required to visit the same site or company three times in a row to gain your legal defence. We believe that all Airsofters have the capacity to be responsible and have the ability to take responsibility for their beloved sport. We can regulate our own sport and keep every stakeholder happy at the same time. All it would take is a miniscule fee from each Airsofter every year. Remember that this will be run by you. We all have a say and all get a vote. Perhaps we should call it a Union? The United Kingdom Airsoft Union (UKAU) – As mentioned, your choice! Don’t ever be fooled with a false sense of lacking power. With your support and annual fee we can take control of our own sport and ensure all parties get a fair deal. It’s in our (your) best interest to ensure everything thrives and it will be easily achieved. As mentioned it just needs a nominal year fee and your vote on matters. Lastly, price and cost clarity is key for this to work; all financial accounts will be made available to members so you can see exactly how money is being spent. The likely setup will be a ‘board of trustees’ to represent everyone, whilst a voting system that all members can vote will be how final decisions are made. As a side note; we have seen many people chirp up and try to quite rightly, shift the responsibility over from UKARA – one of which is a retailer and the rest, a few lone rangers. They all seemed to lack one core, fundamental attribute – business sense and understanding. Without it, these ‘systems’ will collapse quicker than you thought possible as they all require admin time. You cannot charge one time fees and just hope for the best. The idea is to continually improve, there’s no point is copying and running a poor man’s version of UKARA.