Hands-Off Technology for Hands-on Casino Operators

The casino industry is on the verge of an extraordinary opportunity to benefit from emerging enterprise technologies that will allow operators to both manage customers’ expectations and analyze their behaviors far more rapidly and intelligently than ever before. The industry focus is leveled on enterprise-ready, cloud-based data centers, Internet gambling and mobile gaming solutions, but those aren’t the only opportunities. Instead, let’s take a look at some commercially produced, technologically disruptive products that will allow an operator to dramatically fine-tune its current floor design today.

There are many products on the market today that rate high on the coolness meter and would be great additions to our casino floors, but unfortunately, few are designed to allow simple integration into the casino environment. This is due to complex end-user technology, which leads to training barriers, high costs and regulatory hurdles that must be conquered prior to installation. The following products, however, have been designed with the end user in mind, rather than force-fitting technology to create a solution. The release of software development kits by each of the companies below ensures that developers knowledgeable in specific fields and businesses can design software to maximize the built-in feature set to benefit our industry.

Leap Motion
Leap Motion is a San Francisco-based company that is currently developing an integrated software and hardware solution that will forever change the Motion controller. About the size of a flash drive, it allows consumers to have three-dimensional interactions with their device, utilizing just their hand and finger movements—the need to use peripheral devices to control the behavior of a program is no longer necessary. Space is approximately 8 cubic feet and recognizes intuitive gestures, tracks objects such as a pencil and interprets the individual movements of any or all of a user’s fingers, as precision is an absolute necessity for touch-free natural gesture controls like pinch-to-zoom actions.

Leap can be installed in one easy step: plug it directly into a USB port on your device and calibrations will begin, allowing users to initiate gesture recognition by hand and finger movements, as well as network several Leaps together for larger interaction spaces.

The applications within the casino environment for a product of this nature are virtually unlimited. Operators can introduce a new and younger generation to casino gaming! Can you imagine the possible benefits when used in conjunction with promotional events, allowing a player to physically spin a virtual wheel or allowing a special needs patron to gesture activate a button from the safety and support of their wheelchair?

While other motion-sensing technologies are currently available on the market, their user interfaces are complex, calibration is complicated and their applications are not intuitive. Leap will allow users to easily navigate an operating system, search the web, sign a digital document, create and/or manipulate 2-D/3-D models, and most importantly, play games without ever touching a mouse, keyboard or touchscreen.

Augmented Reality
The next several products represent different takes on the same basic concept: augmented reality (AR) headgear designed to enhance one’s perception of the space around them. AR is a live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. AR displays will allow a user to access information while still maintaining their focus on their physical environment.

Google Glass
Google Glass was voted by Time Tech as one of the best inventions of 2012. Google Glass is simply a computer in a pair of glasses. The product has been designed to create an augmented reality for use in the daily life of consumers through a head-mounted display. Google Glass will operate on Google’s Android 7 operating system to display information to the user in a format very similar to a smartphone. The product will offer hands-free interaction through the Internet via natural language voice commands.
The look of Google Glass is very minimal, with a thin aluminum strip and two nose pads. The screen is actually attached to the thin frame and sits above the right eye, not to block the user’s vision.

Apple iGlass
Apple was recently awarded a patent that could quite possibly become a wearable version of the iPad in the near future. The eyeglasses-type product would display applications, videos, web searches, maps, images and incorporate information from your surroundings in real-time. This concept has been compared to that of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s vision in the Terminator movies.

Apple’s patent depicts a method by which images travel through a special glass and land directly on the user‘s pupils. In theory, this method will provide the illusion of total immersion in the virtual environment to the user wearing the glasses.

iGlass would use a display over each eye, not just one like Google Glass. Apple’s patent states that dual projectors will provide a totally immersive experience, avoiding motion-sickness through the use of stereoscopic projection. Apple claims that the use of dual projectors increases the user’s field of vision and the quality of the images being displayed.

Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 also offer a wearable visual connection to the cloud and run applications under the Android operating system; text, video, e-mail, mapping and audio are readily available through this wireless personal information display system.
Although both the Apple and Vuzix products possess amazing features and a concept that is new and fresh, they will face the same hurdle as Project Glass in that they will necessitate consumers to change their daily habits and require them to wear something on their heads.

Global wireless technology company CSR has come up with a solution to address the accuracy problems inherent in utilizing GPS as an indoor location service. Although CSR may not be a familiar name to you, its SiRFstarIII series of GPS chip sets has been adopted by major GPS manufacturers—one of which probably resides in your car or personal GPS device to help keep you on track in your daily travels.

CSR’s next generation SiRFusion™ location platform is based on the SiRFstarV design for peak indoor and outdoor performance.

The SiRFusion platform integrates positioning from GNSS, radio solutions such as Wi-Fi and cellular, and motion sensors found in iPads, tablets and cell phones.

The result is high availability and accuracy for positioning and navigation outdoors, in parking garages, and indoors in shopping centers, airports, convention centers and other pedestrian areas.

The advantages to casinos utilizing this technology are clear and can certainly help provide the level of service our customers want, expect and deserve. Besides the obvious benefits to offering true indoor navigation and continuous locational updates for our customers, it will allow us to ensure that our staff and players are arriving at the locations to which we are directing them, rather than just the physical address of the facility.

This technology can offer floor staff tools that they have never had in the past or even dreamed about having access to. Best of all, these products are all scheduled to be release in the 2013, and all have the potential to categorically revolutionize the current casino experience. A happy and engaged player is a return customer, and that’s great for all of us!

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