Cutting Edge: Casino Technology
The technology sector is, more than any other, the sector which is shaping the growth of America’s playground Las Vegas.
The city has emerged as the home of pioneering technology and the testing ground for much of the innovation that will sweep across sectors as diverse as retail and the public sector over the coming years.
You want to know about RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), biometrics, or digital surveillance? Vegas is the place to be. Technology there is cutting edge and has to be.
One of the main technology challenges is that of CRM – Customer Relationship Management. Hotels that have 3,000 rooms have had to develop systems that make their customers feel less like a number and more like a valued guest. Now from the moment a customer checks into a hotel or registers with a casino's loyalty scheme in Los Vegas, data relating to that individual is used in countless ways.
One company using this technology is Harrah Entertainment which owns a large number of casinos. Tim Stanley CIO of Harrah said: "250,000 customers come through our doors every day and to give each of them the sense of a personalised experience relies heavily upon technology."
Three years ago less than 60% of visitors used our loyalty scheme, now it is well over 80%."
According to Nucleus Research, Harrah's CRM has delivered 389% return on investment, year-on-year. Stanley says effective CRM creates an environment in which customers feel valued and believe they are getting a tailored experience.
Another technology employed by Harrah is RFID which stands for Radio Frequency Identification.
Staff are fitted with tags to ensure, among other things, that customers get served drinks within a set time frame. This, Tim Stanley says RFID has not been without its problems – most notably some opposition among the staff themselves. Anyone slacking on the job will be exposed straightaway.
Harrah sees biometrics, which refers to technologies that measure and analyse human physical and behavioural characteristics for authentication purposes, as only valid for back of house unlike Caesars Palace.
This technology is being used to replace key cards for guests in its luxury Augustus Tower.
Face recognition technology has been employed in Las Vegas for many years. Thousands of images are analysed daily in the casinos’ surveillance rooms to locate cheaters, scam artists and professional card counters who flock to the city.
So the next time you are betting your last few dollars in Las Vegas remember that your every move is being monitored and your tastes are being assessed and that soon this type of technology is going to be employed around the world.