The server-based gaming experience

An investment in a network robust enough for 24-hour video surveillance is paying a jackpot well beyond physical security for Eastside Cannery Casino and Resort

DSW built the network on a foundation of 22 Cisco Catalyst 6509 switches and 500 Cisco Catalyst 2900 switches. Unique Cisco technologies such as Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology and active-active switching provide the fault tolerance needed to meet gaming industry requirements. A module for Cisco Catalyst 6500 switches, VSS connects two chassis to make them seem like one system. "This gives slot machines and video surveillance cameras divergent physical paths, so that loss of one chassis reduces bandwidth but does not interrupt connectivity," Peterson says. "The result is virtually 100-percent uptime on the circuit."

These technologies were essential because they prevent any packet loss. And loss of even one or two packets between gaming servers and slot systems - which is common with Spanning Tree Protocol - could cause an outage. "If one switch in a pair should ever go down, the other one will take over automatically, without any change to the guest experience," Day says.

Flexible, Manageable Video Surveillance

The Cisco Video Surveillance Solution that operates over the network is also based on open standards. Operators use the supplier's Video Surveillance Stream Manager to view, store and manage video from more than 550 mostly analog video surveillance cameras throughout the property. The casino uses archived video for after-the-fact investigations, viewing it over the network from any authorized console. "The property I came from had old video surveillance technology, based on VCRs," says Mark Roberts, director of surveillance for Eastside Cannery Casino. "It took hours to edit video, and you had to be a master. Cisco Video Surveillance Stream Manager makes it much faster to review video from any camera."

As an example, in most casinos when searching for video on casino and security incidents, operators have to review 8-10 videotapes to look for evidence. With a networked solution, operators can quickly rewind or fast forward video over the network to more quickly find the relevant images. And if needed, operators can quickly create a DVD for law enforcement agencies, adding a watermark to verify the recording was not altered.

Integration with Other Security Systems

The open standards-based approach gives Eastside Cannery the freedom to connect analog or digital video surveillance cameras from any vendor. "Open standards are also enabling Eastside Cannery to integrate its video surveillance system with other advanced physical safety and security technologies, for enhanced security," says Rico Sacks, with Cisco Advanced Services. The casino has already begun a pilot using the Cisco Video Surveillance System in conjunction with its point-of-sale (POS) system, enabling food and beverage managers to monitor cash transactions, keep employees honest and identify training opportunities.

In the future, the casino plans to use video analytics software in its cameras to alert operators to suspicious events that they might otherwise miss because of information overload. Other video analytics applications will enhance the guest experience. For example, people-counting software can send an alert when queues at table games exceed a certain length, enabling the casino to assign more dealers. This type of customer service intelligence can help keep players in the casino longer and in turn, increase profits.

Information Security

The security solution also helps Eastside Cannery comply with gaming industry regulations to prevent unauthorized people from connecting hubs and switches on the casino floor or anywhere else on the property, using a technology called 802.1x Supplicant.

For additional protection, Eastside Cannery uses Cisco security technologies to divide a single physical switch into more than 60 separate virtual networks for gaming devices and other systems. Other technologies, such as the Cisco Firewall Services Module for the Catalyst 6500 switch, help to prevent attacks on the slot floor infrastructure, keep hackers from impersonating authorized users, and prevent eavesdropping on traffic between gaming devices and servers. In addition, Cisco Secure Access Control Server enforces the gaming industry's requirement for users to reset their passwords every 45 days.

Transforming the Player Experience

The return on investment from the casino's IP network extends beyond security. With the gaming industry's first fully networked gaming floor, Eastside Cannery is differentiating itself by creating a more enjoyable player experience: