We are living in an exciting time in the gaming industry. Technology is advancing at a lightning pace, and we spend a lot of time talking about what the technology can do, and, frankly, it can be easy to be dazzled by it – it’s just that incredible. However, what we need to be constantly mindful of is how this technology will dazzle the player, and how we will need to balance our love of technology with consumer adaptability and operator need.
GSA recently held a fantastic workshop on player interface at the M Resort in Las Vegas. Operators played a key role at the workshop, which makes sense – after all, operators interface directly with players every minute of every day. And, as you may now, GSA itself grew out of operator demand.
We’ve never lost sight of our origin, which is why we are so pleased with the progress GSA has been making with our Operator Advisory Committee, or OAC.
David J. Nehra is vice president & chief information Officer for Motor City Casino. He has a long-term perspective on GSA and the OAC because he has been involved in GSA for years, first with Mandalay Resort Group and now with Motor City Casino. “The OAC is a very useful platform for an operator because as operators we can look at challenges from a real world perspective. In other words, if a theory sounds good on paper it may not always work in practice,” he said.
Bringing together theory and practice was our goal when we created the OAC and held its first meeting late last year, which drew 13 operators. Since that time, participation has grown, both in terms of the number of operators involved, the points of discussion and the results that have come from the conversations.
To give you some perspective, at its heart, the OAC exists to facilitate collaboration between GSA member operators and manufacturers and system providers. “Being a member of the OAC allows an operator to share their view of the gaming world with vendors and manufactures and lets them know what is important in the ‘now’ and what can wait 'til later,” Nehra said.
The committee focuses on the functional requirements to ensure that GSA standards are meeting market demands. That’s a simple sentence to describe a very important and complex question: are GSA standards, created by a worldwide consortium of companies from around the globe, advancing operators’ business goals?
The answer is yes, and the answer is yes because of input GSA is receiving from operators through the OAC. For example, at recent OAC meetings, operators have been giving GSA very thoughtful and insightful feedback on issues such as Player Interface requirements, definition of required messages to support regional solutions, and the use of GSA standards in a Wide Area Network environment.
GSA is taking the comments to heart, and to the Board, and during its July meeting, the Board approved the list of priorities presented by the OAC, and instructed GSA’s various committees to find solutions for our operators’ business requirements.
Another recent success story is, as a result of operators' requests, GSA has underwritten a project to investigate the feasibility of the deployment of GSA protocols in a WAN environment.
As the global gaming marketplace continues adopts GSA technology, the OAC will become the only open organization through which operator members can drive their business requirements in the upcoming standards. We believe it provides the operator community with a powerful voice in all future product releases.
Of course, there is a big reason operators are critical to what GSA does on behalf of the industry: “The operator’s voice should always be heard because it is our checkbook that foots the bill for all of the innovation and new technology.”
So if you are an operator that needs to be heard, you are encouraged to join GSA’s Operator Advisory Committee today.