Dedicated systems integrators a necessity in gaming market

As a trusted systems integrator in the gaming space, you have to be prepared and ready to react at any time of the day, even at night when you are finishing up with dinner and settling in for the evening. The phone may ring at 8:00 p.m. with word that one of your casino clients is having an issue with their surveillance system. Being the first person on call means the end user expects you to be the surveillance master. Knowing how to respond to the client’s specific and always challenging emergency is what makes an integrator stand out.

At 8:30 p.m. the phone rings again because more cameras have gone down. This time you are on the phone with the general manager of the property, not one of your typical customers who work in the surveillance department. Having market experience, you know immediately that this is no longer a minor incident as this particular casino is open 24 hours a day. Surveillance in gaming is mission critical and the decisions made over the next hour can either keep the casino doors open for play or close them.

Now it’s 10:00 p.m. and a full-blown catastrophe is unfolding. More than 300 cameras are down. The service tech handling the call has already contacted one of the company’s engineers, and they have logged into the client's system. Initial discoveries identify a bad network switch as the potential issue. At this point, the gaming commission has been notified and they are beginning to discuss shutting down the casino.

As the team works closely, both locally and over the phone, the most viable solution is to reprogram the entire network in an attempt to bypass the broken switch. The engineer begins to reprogram the network via remote and the local technician begins unplugging cameras and moving them around to other switches on the system, as instructed.

It’s now 11:00 p.m. and the integrator is on the phone with the gaming commission, casino management and the local gaming authorities informing them of their proposed solution. Cameras will be brought back up in groups of 25 with the most important areas coming on line first. The integrator ensures they will stay in contact with all of the concerned individuals and updates will be passed on throughout the night.

By 5:00 a.m., all of the cameras are back up and running. The gaming commission is satisfied, and more importantly, relieved. The casino will not have to be shut down as they thought would happen the next business day. The integrator orders a new network switch to replace the faulty one that caused the issue, and the service ticket is closed out.

The above scenario is an amalgamation of true incidents that serves to illustrate the value to the casino of a dedicated system integrator. The benefits of investing in a partnership, as evidenced above, is that casino receives a focused team approach including sales, service, engineering and operations which all work together collectively to solve the problem. The end goal of all individuals involved is to build a business relationship around support, responsiveness, consistency and trust. Anything less than this type of collaboration can leave the casino in a vulnerable position in which the outcome can be devastating.

Quality 24/7 service management is available from a number of vendors including large multi-national corporations, system integrators, independent service organizations and even direct from the manufacturer. But while multi-nationals and service organizations have ample resources and staff to address service issues, they typically have very limited support with little to no flexibility when it comes to last minute decision making in order to accommodate the business and sales perspective of the casino. This highly structured type of arrangement is usually necessary because large, multi-faceted organizations tend to have a more streamlined service model. System integrators, on the other hand, can be more accommodating and a better choice in gaming due to their unique approach that does not include such a structured organizational arrangement. This empowers the specific individuals involved with the decision making ability to ultimately control the response to each emergency – and to make sure it is nothing less than successful.

There are several other distinctions that make service from a system integrator a valued benefit to the casino including:

Business Model − The company’s culture, attitude and organization are driven by the desire to provide the casino with a service that meets or exceeds their needs. Achieving customer satisfaction is everyone’s business, and everyone is an ambassador of the company. Management empowers employees to make decisions that reflect the company-wide objective of total customer satisfaction. For example, a service technician might approve a replacement rather than a repair and do so without going through several layers of internal approvals.

Knowledge Base – Ongoing training and education of staff is a priority within the organization and is vital in maintaining the value stream offered to the customer. Beyond providing personnel with continuing education in emerging technologies, recruiting new personnel with expertise in specific disciplines delivers the most rapid development of capabilities to enhance service offerings. With current knowledge of products and technologies, the integrator can recommend designs or upgrades that best meet the financial and technical needs of the casino when hardware upgrades or replacements to the system are indicated.

Consistency and reliability in the quality of service delivered is also a positive by-product of employee longevity. Knowing that the technician and engineers who designed and built the surveillance system will be the same individuals who respond to follow-up service calls at a later date provides casino management a high level of comfort and peace of mind.

Communication – In smaller organizations, communication among the departments regarding a project tends to be more free-flowing. From top to bottom, everyone knows what everyone is doing and this understanding helps to ensure full support is provided. The importance of communication also extends to the relationship between the integrator and the manufacturer. Getting replacement parts in a timely manner or working with the manufacturer to find a software bug and so on are actions that depend on good communication and which ultimately can help ensure a seamless customer experience.

As always, the casino has final say as to the satisfaction and level of service quality. It is said that quality is free – the cost comes only when the customer’s expectations are not met.