Konami’s SYNKiosk Delivers Promotional Power to Patrons

SYNKiosk’s functions can be accessed via a mobile app.
For years, standalone kiosks were the only game in town for casino operators seeking to provide promotional benefits and loyalty club updates to patrons.

But the game is changing, as shown by the debut of Konami Gaming Inc.’s SYNKiosk that leverages a powerful solution across multiple platforms and multiple devices, including traditional kiosks, gaming machines, smartphones and other mobile devices.

SYNKiosk, which is tightly integrated into Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system, also offers self-serve enrollment options through a kiosk that lets players enroll in a loyalty club, create a player’s card in less than a minute, or, if already enrolled, update information or reprint a card.

Konami approached Atrient through one of its previous installations, and in 2014, the two companies collaborated on a promotion for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) at the Indian Gaming show in San Diego.

“They were looking to do kind of a proof of concept as to how Konami and Atrient could interface,” said Michael Ratner, Konami’s director of product management, systems. The two companies worked together to create a contest using Konami’s True Time Tournament product. The contest allowed NIGA attendees to take part in the event on the show floor, with the high scorer winning a prize.

“The trick behind it was to give the attendees player’s cards so they could go and play on Konami machines in this tournament, so it kind of dovetailed very nicely with showcasing the enrollment kiosk,” he said. “We set up a mini system in their booth, and players got their cards, walked over to a machine and played a tournament game so it was a really nice combination of showing how the enrollment kiosk worked as well as the integration between Atrient and Konami and also the byproduct of having it showcase our tournament product.”

That event led Ratner to seek more details about Atrient’s mobile application because Atrient business development director Jessie Gill had mentioned that it would be available in a year’s time. “I started to ask more about the mobile platform and what it does, and he said, ‘Exactly what you see on the kiosk is what players are going to see on their mobile devices,’ which intrigued me,” Ratner said.

Ultimately, Konami and Atrient reached an agreement that gives Konami the exclusive distributorship for the software powering the enrollment kiosk and “the three legs of the kiosk stool”—the traditional kiosk, mobile application and the EGM—to Konami systems customers, Ratner said. Atrient also offers the technology through its PowerKiosk solution.

“Our relationship with Konami is they have taken all of our software, licensed it and rebranded it, and then we’re going a few steps further to develop functionality that’s unique to this product as it pertains to SYNKROS,” Gill said. “We’ve built a few more hooks and more functionality specifically for SYNKROS.”

And Konami has contributed a significant amount of intelligence. “For example the next release of this product is going to be significantly due to Konami,” Gill said, hinting at cool new features in the works.

SYNKiosk also includes standalone self-serve enrollment kiosks that allow players to avoid player’s club lines and instead enroll and print a loyalty card, update information and more.
SYNKiosk also includes standalone self-serve enrollment kiosks that allow players to avoid player’s club lines and instead enroll and print a loyalty card, update information and more.
“SYNKiosk was named for its unique ability to synchronize traditional kiosk functionalities with the powerful marketing tools available through SYNKROS,” Ratner said. “The kiosk business is not going away. Casinos still are placing self-serve kiosks around the casino floor, so that was of interest to us and our customers.”

Gaming operators have been receptive to SYNKiosk and its benefits, Ratner said.

“The reaction has been pretty surprising because up until now everyone’s been so used to seeing the game screen as being a game screen and nothing else so when you put something else on the game screen, that’s the ‘a-ha moment.’ The light bulb goes off, and it’s like, ‘Hold on, so my machine doesn’t have to be a machine all the time? I can offer these enhanced services to my players and they never have to leave the machine,’” he said.

Konami and Atrient have just begun to scratch the surface of how to leverage that capability in new ways. “As we go further down this integration path, there may be instances where we favor one system over the other,” Ratner said. “For instance, we may have generated an incentive through SYNKROS, but we can push it through the SYNKiosk mobile product and display that information on their [players’] mobile devices to let them know they’ve received something.”

The industry, Ratner said, is bound for a much more mobile-centric future.

Patrons will be able to play tournament games, redeem offers and play promotional games right on their mobile device. One day perhaps the mobile device will become the new loyalty card, he said. But that last step may take a little longer. “Because we as an industry have trained people to use loyalty cards, I think it’s going to be a while before we actually convince players that they don’t need a card anymore,” Ratner said.

Using Konami’s True-Time Windowing™ technology, carded players can pause game play to access SYNKiosk functions through an icon on the game screen. The technology delivers a variety of real-time updates, including point balances, win/loss statements, available offers and promotions. It also allows players to redeem offers, search for their favorite games, update personal information and check out information on restaurants, shows and other hotel amenities.

SYNKiosk is also available right on the gaming machine.
SYNKiosk is also available right on the gaming machine.
“The kiosk provides more than just information—many systems out there will just let you know that there’s a drawing tomorrow—but when I touch promotions, drawings and offers, I have those offers not just available to look at, but I can actually participate in that promotion,” Gill said.

SYNKiosk gives the casino operator flexibility and control over promotions, Ratner said. For instance, “If I’m sitting at home and I see I have two tournament entries, the casino may option this feature to not allow you to play the tournament games when you’re at home, but only at the casino,” he said. “But the fact is if I’m sitting in my living room and I see that I have two tournament entries, that’s going to drive visitation.”

SYNKiosk also can streamline casino monthly gift giveaways, Gill noted. Typically, patrons must go to the promotions desk, give their names, present their identification and loyalty card, and then someone looks up whether they qualify and then, once qualified, gifts are awarded. “With this application, I touch monthly gift, and I see what’s available to me,” Gill said, demonstrating on a SYNKiosk-enabled gaming machine during an interview at Konami’s Las Vegas offices. “This says I need 25 more same-day points so now I know I don’t have to go to the club; I don’t have to wait in line. I know what I need to qualify,” he said. “Once I’ve qualified with those 25 same-day points, I can immediately get a coupon vended that I can just swap for the gift,” a simpler, more efficient process.

But all that automated functionality doesn’t mean there’s no room for personal interaction with players, Gill said. “You still want to have that person-to-person contact, but that can be done on the floor. It doesn’t have to be done at the players club where it can be more aggravating because you’re waiting 15, 20 minutes, 30 minutes to talk to somebody for 30 seconds,” he said.

Moreover, features such as the ability to update account information can also benefit the casino as well as the player. Giving the patron the ability to update information in real-time allows the marketing department to capture more accurate information, ultimately helping the department reduce costs and operate more efficiently.