If you're in the hospitality or foodservice business and not offering entertainment — or vice versa — you might want to reconsider.
Consumers want to be entertained no matter where they are nowadays. And as they become more comfortable with interactive technology, the industries are starting to merge.
Ed Janera of Chumash Casino in Santa Yuez, California, right, learns about the “rGuest Buy” kiosk from Shuja Rahman at the Agilysys booth.
The 2017 Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas last week showcased emerging technologies in the rapidly expanding $240 billion gaming industry, changes that speak to the increasing integration of entertainment, hospitality and foodservice.
One take away from the show was that many of these new technologies will be delivered by self-serve kiosks. Exhibits on the show floor included a large number loyalty redemption kiosks, cash management kiosks, card dispensing kiosks and kiosk software.
The four-day expo introduced what it dubbed the "Integrated Resort of the Future," an experiential space dedicated to showcasing and promoting thought leadership across next-generation technologies and services revolutionizing the gaming resort industry.
Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO, opened the second day keynote with a moment of silence and gratitude for first responders, medical professionals and acts of heroism in light of the mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas the night before the expo began last week.
When it became time to get back to business, presentations focused on ways to leverage technology to improve the consumer experience, marketing, entertainment, security and more. (See keynote presentation by Stephen King, president and CEO of Dave & Buster's.)
Sessions highlight interactivity
Several speakers pointed to Alexa, an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, as one of the more promising interactive technologies for hospitality and entertainment.
Laura Fernandez, director of travel, tourism and casinos at Casinos at Pandora, said devices like Alexa are becoming a prominent means of entertainment and service to consumers. She encouraged her listeners to consider accessibility and personalization when marketing to consumers.
David Brebner, CEO of Umajin, a platform for creating digital solutions, explained in another session how 2D and 3D "digital agents" can offer personalized support, using both voice and touch, on a customer's smartphone or on a physical kiosk. The digital agents facilitate processes like searching, informing, booking and purchasing.
Virtual and augmented reality were also the subject of many discussions during the expo.
VR and AR loom large
Marcus Yoder, vice president of business development at Gamblit Gaming, led a presentation with Brian Montano, senior client services manager at BMM Testlabs, and Mateo Monteverdi, senior vice president of global product at International Gaming Technologies PLC, on how virtual reality and augmented reality will bring a new group of consumers looking for experiences they couldn't previously find. They agreed that smaller, shorter and less expensive experiences will be the most successful.
Chris Bonini, vice president of interactive products at IGT, cited the importance of attracting millennials and increasing the commitment to unified loyalty programs.
Seminars also addressed ways to improve cybersecurity, a rising threat to all businesses, as demonstrated by the recent Equifax breach.
Several attendees interviewed by Kiosk Marketplace cited the challenge the gaming industry faces in integrating the software for money handling, redemption and loyalty rewards equipment. The problem is particularly acute in the casino industry where gaming equipment manufacturers have long relied on proprietary software.
The show demonstrated that interactive technologies are playing a bigger role the gaming industry, along with the hospitality and foodservice industries.
Elliot Maras Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.