By helping to democratize data, VizExplorer is taking operational intelligence to the next level in the world of gaming.

This was a key theme echoed by speakers and attendees at the second annual OI Summit—a two day conference hosted by VizExplorer in mid-January at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Fast becoming the nation’s premier operational intelligence conference for the gaming industry, this year’s OI Summit drew more than 200 guests and attracted more than 60 speakers from across the industry.

The conference agenda spanned three tracks (Strategy and Technology, Marketing and Player Development and Gaming Operations) that included insightful presentations by industry leaders, panels featuring experienced gaming executives and interviews showcasing VizExplorer customer case studies and partnerships with casino technology vendors. For VizExplorer software users, the company hosted a separate OI Training Day one day prior for slots, marketing and player development professionals, during which it debuted its new Product Best Practices Trainings for 2017.

“The content in all the sessions, especially the training was much higher quality than at any other conference I’ve been to,” reported one enthusiastic attendee.

During opening remarks to introduce the keynote by the VizExplorer’s Chief Data Scientist Dr. Ralph Thomas, CEO Ian Bonner addressed the importance of open communication to a growing company like VizExplorer, and described OI Summit’s expansion as a direct result of attendee feedback from the inaugural event.

“The single day training led by our industry specialists was added by popular demand,” Bonner said. “We hosted an executive roundtable to hear directly from the folks who make the big decisions in casinos. And our speaker roster has grown because you asked for a wider array of perspectives from a broader cross-section of the gaming industry.”

VizExplorer delivered on that promise, in terms of the OI Summit’s audience and its speakers. In sum, nearly 80 companies were present (more than half casino properties), with the remainder comprising technology vendors, tribal enterprises, industry associations, casino marketing agencies, tournament operators and gaming consultants. The speaker lineup included notable figures from the commercial and tribal gaming industry, high level casino professionals in slot operations, marketing and player development, alongside technology visionaries and vendors delivering services and solutions to casinos.

Some of the best attended panels focused on integrating digital efforts into the casino marketing mix and highly relevant trends like eSports. Among the executive attendees, presentations that scored the highest marks included timely discussions about emerging technology trends, advice on entertainment’s role in casino marketing and insights related to people management trends in gaming.

The second keynote—“Playing Your Cards Right: Leadership Lessons in Gaming”—was delivered by Global Gaming Women’s President and Board Chair Virginia McDowell. In it, Casino Journal’s 2009 Executive of the Year counseled young professionals to allow for flexibility in their career paths and to value the next learning opportunity to grow their skills over the next promotion.

The scrappy little company leading the operational intelligence charge for casinos certainly did when it chose to hire gaming people to guide the development of a solution that makes life easier for casino operators.

In a customer-only, closed-door session to close OI Summit 2017, VizExplorer CTO and Founder Andrew Cardno said, “What differentiates VizExplorer from the competition is that our people have done your jobs and pride ourselves on truly understanding the casino business. Today, we’re asking for your input to continue to do just that.”