The Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products Awards celebrated its 22nd anniversary this year. Our annual article recapping the winning entries can be found in this issue of Casino Journal magazine.

I wish I could say I have been involved with the contest since its beginning, but I have only had my hand in it for the past nine years. However, this has been more than enough time for me to firmly dismiss the notion that the gaming industry is constantly behind the times when it comes to adopting technological innovations. For proof, just look at some of this year’s Top 20 recipients and their winning products. Sure, a lot of the winning entries involve new game mechanics and cutting-edge cabinet design; not surprising considering this is a contest for gaming manufacturers and their products. However, some of the selected products encompass technology that would be on the leading edge in any business or marketplace. Here is a sampling:

  • DataRobot’s Automated Machine Learning Platform: Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in the press and across multiple technology enterprises. DataRobot was founded on the belief that it’s possible to teach machines—the key to faster, more accurate predictions that unlock the potential of data in any industry. The company’s new automated machine learning platform puts the power of machine learning into the hands of any business user, automating the data science workflow and offering pre-packaged expertise that enables users to build and deploy accurate predictive models in minutes. Such a product has value across the entire casino enterprise—instant and predictive analysis can help with everything from fine-tuning marketing programs to detecting game cheating and money laundering.
  • Konami Gaming’s SYNK Vision: Until a few years ago, the widespread use of facial recognition technology was limited to science fiction movies. Even when used in real life, the technology was limited to security applications. Only recently have facial recognition systems been utilized by the larger business world. Konami Gaming has integrated recognition technology into a customer-facing application with SYNK Vision, a biometric player tracking solution for its SYNKROS casino management system that uses facial recognition to identify, rate and reward all players, regardless of whether they are members of the established player loyalty program.
  • Aristocrat Technologies’ Mobile nCompass: Few would argue that the iPhone has emerged as the favorite computer platform for the modern consumer. People love them, keep them with them at all times and are always searching for new ways to involve them into almost all facets of their daily lives. With Mobile nCompass, Aristocrat is offering players a way to integrate aspects of the electronic gaming machine (EGM) experience into their iPhones and other mobile devices. Using the phone they already have in their hand, a player simply uses an app to connect with the game, where they can interact with a wide range of features.
  • Ainsworth Game Technology’s Historical Horse Racing System: Sure, new game mechanics are commonplace in every Top 20 contest we have run, but the Historical Horse Racing (HHR) from Ainsworth is truly something special. In a nutshell, HHR is a parimutuel wagering system designed to use historical horse racing information to determine wagering outcomes on games and cabinets that have the look and feel of games seen in casinos. By basing game results on previous horse racing events as opposed to a random number generator, HHR allows for the use of slot-like games in jurisdictions where traditional electronic gaming machines may not be allowed.

So innovation is alive and well in the gaming marketplace. Let’s hope it stays that way for some time to come.