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Harrah's, Microsoft develop 'virtual concierge'

The product is an adaptation of a "surface computer"

Harrah’s Entertainment and Microsoft, Inc., are developing table-top computer designed with a touch-screen surface to be used as a “virtual concierge.” The partners will debut a prototype of the product at this month’s Global Gaming Expo.

    Future technology may allow a virtual visit to Harrah’s Entertainment’s seven Las Vegas Strip properties from the concierge desk at any one of them, or to purchase tickets to a show at one Harrah’s property at the concierge desk of another.

     The product is an adaptation of a “surface computer,” a device priced from $5,000 to $10,000 that can be used by multiple people at once, and can be adapted to recognize objects-like the Total Rewards player’s club card.

    “We have a vision of where we want to take this technology so it will be pervasive in unique situations,” Microsoft Senior Marketing Director Mark Bolger told the website Yogonet.com. “Harrah’s certainly has a strong tradition of being visionary as it relates to the use of technology.”

    Harrah’s and Microsoft began working on the technology early in 2006. In addition to its deal with Harrah’s, Microsoft is partnering with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, T-Mobile USA and slot-maker International Game Technology on applications of surface-computer technology. IGT plans to privately show some of the concepts it has been exploring with Microsoft at the G2E show.

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