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in the casinos – floor space is very often expensive – and that’s why there are standard game cabinets today. The trend for standard slots is now towards [screen sizes of] 22 inches. Larger, however, could be an issue. “There is in fact a theoretical maximum size

for a display for a single user. If the screen is too big the player can’t see the periphery of the screen without moving his head from left to right. If the screen is really big, the players have to even step away from the screen to see the screen, and then move forward to the screen to touch it, which would really be an issue. He adds: “Larger screens are looked at

primarily for multi-touch applications but there you have to determine if player identification is necessary, like for roulette.” Wiseman agrees that the 22-inch form factor,

with screens in the common 16:9 ratio of width to height, remains the dominant one in casinos. But she adds that “slant-top machines are now moving to 26 inches”, in a slightly deeper 16:10 ratio. Among the most impressive installations she has recently seen, says Wiseman, is a 26- inch Novomatic slant-top – “the visual effect is amazing”. And of course screens for information and digital signage can be much larger, although often they do have to be squeezed into tight locations. One vendor rising to the

challenge of putting interactive screens in constricted spaces is IGEL Technology. Its UD9, due for release in May, is a “thin client” – a kind of stripped-down PC with built-in 21.5-inch LCD display, small enough to fit where a full-blown PC unit and accompanying screen wouldn’t. It runs on a fast but not power-hungry processor – a 1.6GHz Intel Atom chip – and can be given touchscreen and wireless network capabilities, as well as an integrated smartcard reader. It also comes with management software enabling multiple UD9 devices to be remotely managed from a single PC. “This latest UD9 combines all IGEL’s thin

client expertise into a specialised all-in-one package,” says Simon Richards, IGEL’s UK General Manager. “With its robust, ergonomic design and simplicity of management it is the ideal device for a range of public-facing and space-constrained environments.” At the other end of the scale, Zytronics is

championing the cause of super-sized touchscreens measuring up to 80 inches diagonally. Based on projected capacitive technology, they’ve been adopted by a number of other vendors for customer-facing applications: for example, Advantech and Wincomm are both using them for interactive digital-signage stations. They’re an interesting product category for casinos because the projective capacitance

32 APRIL 2010

technology is especially suited to withstanding harsh treatment. Unlike some touchscreen systems, it doesn’t require that the touch- sensitive elements are directly exposed to the user; they can be behind a protective layer. Zytronics’s screens have, the company says, “even been used to create interactive self- service tabletops, operating through printed and toughened glass overlays”.

Feel the quality

Size and touch capability aren’t the only

important factors in assessing screens’ contribution to the casino experience, points out Inspired Gaming Group’s Lucy Buckley: “We believe it’s no longer just about touchscreens – the quality of the screen is the most crucial part of a player’s gaming experience. A year in the making, we’re really excited about our new Storm cabinet, with its high- definition [HD] TV quality and adjustable live feed. It’s already a success in the UK’s largest bookmaker, William Hill, and we are bringing HD gaming VLT technology to the Italian gaming market for the first time through our deal with Sisal.” (See our report in this issue on the most recent Enada exhibition for more on this deal.) Martin Lucas, MD of Inspired’s

licensed betting office (LBO) division, adds: “The Storm cabinet is truly revolutionary with its wide screen and

HD capability. With Storm we are creating a new standard for HD gaming on the high street and a new benchmark for player enjoyment and machine income.” Image quality is, of course, also key when it

comes to non-gaming applications like digital signage. At this May’s Screen Media Expo Europe in London, for example, Display Technology will debut a 43-inch ultra-wide screen in a 4:1 ratio, which can be used in portrait or landscape format. A 178-degree viewing angle – very close to the theoretical maximum of 180 degrees – combined with 1920x480 resolution means that the on-screen action should be seen clearly by everyone in a crowd gathered around the unit. The quality bar is constantly being raised.

Panasonic, one of the few major display vendors remaining committed to plasma technology while most others – firms like BenQ, Hitachi, Samsung and Sharp – have cast their lot with LCD, has recently launched its 20 Series with 42- and 50- inch models (more are due later in the year). These plasma screens use the firm’s NeoPDP

technology, delivering more brightness for less power, while Panasonic’s built-in Nanodrift system is a technique for preventing “image retention” – the familiar curse of screens that show the same image for much of the time and

end up with it permanently etched into the display, its outline appearing even when other material should be on-screen. Nanodrift works by constantly and very subtly – invisibly to viewers – changing the displayed image so that it doesn’t have a chance to burn in. Says Enrique Robledo, Panasonic’s Display

Marketing Manager in Europe: “The 20 series meets the industry demand for high-definition screens that are flexible and light”. The astonishingly high contrast ratio of up to 5,000,000:1 (that’s the ratio of the brightest bright to the darkest dark) and high-quality colour will make them suitable for signage-type applications in bright environments such as lobbies, and Panasonic’s point that the screens are also large enough for “life-size upper-body viewing” suggests they could find a use in table- gaming applications where live dealers are brought to the players via a display.

Always right

Whether screen-based systems are being

deployed to enhance the gaming experience, to handle transactions that would have previously required a member of staff, or simply to give information to customers, the ultimate measure of their success is: do they benefit the casino visitor and thus give the venue a competitive edge over its rivals? Some casino companies, like MGM Mirage –

which uses screens in many of its properties to help customers understand the sometimes confusing array of entertainment and food/beverage options on offer – and Harrah’s, which has put interactive displays at the heart of its customer relationship management (CRM) programme and is now rolling them out to all 40 properties after successful pilots, believe they’ve found a formula that works. As Lynn Mayes, Director of Digital Media for

Harrah’s Corporate, said in a recent interview: “Specific to our company is the use of real- time, interactive customer relationship marketing. The interactive LCD displays installed at six of our properties allow customers to access their player rewards account information, order beverages and redeem offers received in the mail. “Additionally, as customers achieve certain

thresholds of play, rewards are issued to them instantly. This concept of real-time interactive customer relationship marketing at the slot machine as a means of rewarding our customers who give us more of their time and dollar is a high priority in 2010.” So, however high-tech the use of screens in

the gaming sector becomes, and even if patrons grow to expect those little rectangles of artificial light in every corner of the property, it seems it still boils down to an old principle of business – please the customer. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46
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