Open communication between technologies reaps commercial reward, says the Gaming Standards Association
“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished,” the Irish playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw once pithily observed.
No one individual or organisation can claim to have all the information needed to make perfect decisions. But—according to analysis led by Professor Dick Wiggins at City University, London—organisations with well-designed data research systems collecting and analysing appropriate data have the potential to function more efficiently. In the case of commercial organisations, that also means more profitably.
It’s that desire to gain a ‘360-degree’ view of the gaming industry for its members that drives the work of the Gaming Standards Association (GSA), an international trade association representing manufacturers, suppliers, operators and regulators.
“Gaming operators don’t have complete and reliable information, because they don’t have the full picture,” says Peter DeRaedt, President of the GSA.
“If a person walks onto your property, that’s a potential customer. He or she may not normally play slot machines or tables, but might go to a restaurant or a show, or stay as a guest in the hotel. It’s important to know what that customer is worth to you,” he states.
Dare to share
Part of the problem within individual casino operations and within and across markets in getting that 360-degree view is a lack of shared technical standards, suggests Mr DeRaedt.
“The reason you can go to any country and buy a WiFi, Bluetooth or USB-enabled device, plug it in to your computer and know it will work, is due to open communication standards,” he explains.
“Everyone recognises the growth of the Internet since 1994. Look how quickly the Internet changed our lives. In just 15 years we have gone to a situation where people go online to make their air ticket reservations; choose their seat; and place a bid on eBay to buy something—they don’t think about it any more. This has only been made possible through open communication standards—the standards that the GSA has been helping to develop in the gaming industry over the last decade,” says Mr DeRaedt.
“One of my main objectives in Asia is to inform and educate the market about open technical standards. As far as I can tell, the Asian community is actively trying to identify and embrace new technologies. In the rest of the world there is a larger installed base of older technologies on casino floors. To migrate to new technologies requires a large initial capital expenditure. As a result, change is adopted more slowly in those markets. This also has the effect of slowing innovation among the vendors,” he states.
Mr DeRaedt is a former vice president of technology for the gaming equipment manufacturer Aristocrat and a former systems manager for the UK-based gaming technology business TCS Group, prior to its merger with John Huxley Group. He has been president of the Gaming Standards Association since 2002.