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That Magic Touch

The screen is the star in new products for customer service and slots

That Magic Touch

Touch ‘em all.

Baseball’s home-run phrase reflects an all-inclusive gaming term. Touch-screen technology unfurls its magic across numerous industry spectrums. Witness the versatility of slot machines, the instant dining and checkout information from kiosks, the implementation of signage.

For the past five years, gaming has steadily enhanced its touch-screen versatility. Properties find endless ways to use it.

The touch screen is an important input and output device, normally layered on top of an electronic visual display of an information processing system. A user can give input or control the information processing system through multi-touch gestures by touching the screen via stylus (in places like pharmacies) or by using one or more fingers (video games, machines).

The medical field, heavy industry and supermarket chains are major purveyors of it. Gaming takes a prominent place alongside them.

Mobile apps champion touch-screen efficiency. The smartphones, tablets and varied informational appliances drive acceptance of touch screens for portable and functional electronics. Gaming further intersects the touch screen world with ATMs, kiosks, slot machines and room reservations, along with player tracking.

Everybody loves the conveneince. Everybody tailors it differently. And from varied perspectives, everybody touches them all.


Agile with Touch Screen

Agilysys, the Georgia-based hospitality company, uses touch-screen proficiency to enhance gaming products. Its major 2016 innovations included the tablet-driven mobility of InfoGenesis Flex and the business insights of rGuest Analyze, along with rGuest Buy.

In a report compiled for GGB, the company says touch-screen technology has been a significant part of its solutions for many years, in both stationary and mobile solutions. The restaurant reservations, table management and floor management apps all operate via touch screen and the POS (point of sale) solutions are available with mobile and touch-screen technologies built in.

Property management systems include touch-screen remote access monitoring and reporting capabilities. A novel touch-screen technology, rGuest Buy, has been designed as a solution that reimagines the guest experience, according to the report.

This technology has been built from the ground up to serve guests directly with capacitive touch. It’s an attractive, easy-to-use touch-screen kiosk with unparalleled accuracy. Order data is transmitted to back-of-the-house and kitchen operations, where touch technology is used to manage, prepare and dispatch orders, rather than using kitchen printers and manual paper chits.

Most other offerings in this space are little more than a repackaging of older commercial solutions, some with a few inherent problems, the company maintains. The user interface requirements are different, and because flexibility is important in guest-facing solutions, the use of consistent UI technology is essential to create a streamlined and accurate user experience. Security concerns are different as well. Even basics such as location and access to power have different challenges, often more complicated, with older technologies that eventually become guest-facing.

The company’s rGuest Buy is a guest-facing, self-service point-of-sale system that is secure, customizable and exceptionally flexible for food and beverage ordering, preparation and work-flow management.

It was designed to serve guests directly at an enterprise level. Integrated with the award-winning InfoGenesis POS, rGuest Buy brings the most advanced point-of-sale functionality together with the mature and reliable foundation found in InfoGenesis, the reports says.

At its simplest, rGuest Buy offers the ability to sell anytime, anywhere, directly to guests. This can occur at an unattended buffet kiosk solution, or a grab-and-go style hotel sundries solution. However, it’s far more flexible than grab-and-go might suggest.

Customers are deploying this in coffee shops, pools, cabanas and other venues with heavy guest traffic. Various configurations enable cafes, multi-station food courts and similar venues to transform any space into a self-service venue capable of customizing food and beverage orders, placing more of them and processing secure self-checkout payments.

Touch-screen kiosks can also be used—perhaps most effectively—to augment the guest-facing staff. There is significant interest in these hybrid uses, the report indicates. The kiosk helps free staff to pursue higher-value guest engagements.

One product benefit, Agilysys contends, is the experience people already have with touch-screen technology. Guests find the product straightforward to use and customers consider it easy to deploy, configure and launch.

Flexibility is another strong point. From grab-and-go to buffet solutions, to more complex cafe and food court-style environments, rGuest Buy fits seamlessly into any workflow. With kitchen display, printer and scanner accessories, there isn’t much you can’t do with it.

Third, the product is easy to configure, deploy and manage at scale. It incorporates a flexible hierarchical business mapping capability that permits centralized menu creation and even pushes that information to remote locations. This simplifies the real work of enforcing policy in terms of menu item availability, pricing, taxation and tender types.

At the same time, rGuest Buy can be unwrapped and in service in just 48 hours. Fourth, rGuest Buy delivers a 7-to-1 return on investment in its first year, the report contends. Customers are seeing 60 percent reductions in operational costs and discovering new revenue opportunities from locations that previously had high demand with limited service availability.

The touch-screen kiosk empowers guests to order and pay wherever they are, regardless of how well that area is staffed.


The Dash

Slot manufacturer Konami Gaming’s Concerto Collection of video slots is available with a touch-screen button panel display called TouchDash, which Konami leverages to showcase game theme graphics and animation.

The traditional push buttons with generic inserts are replaced by a high-strength touch-screen display that is custom-designed and programmed to reinforce the game theme’s unique aesthetic and bonus feature events.

With Konami’s Castlevania-themed slots on Concerto Crescent, for instance, the digital button panel backdrop has the appearance of an aged map with symbolic art characteristic of the iconic video game series by Konami’s parent company, Tokyo-based Konami Holdings Corporation. And even base game titles like Hoppin’ Fish are programmed with a unique TouchDash display.

Because Hoppin’ Fish is centered around an adorable white house cat and her mission to collect unsuspecting goldfish from the fish bowl, the game has a plush velvet upholstered button panel display during primary game play and a bubbly underwater animation when she goes fishing during the free games.

“The button panel provides a key point of connection because that is where the players manages their transaction with the machine,” says Steve Walther, senior director, marketing and product management for the company. “Konami is using that space as an extension of the game’s unique appeal with vivid art animation.”


The Versatility of Touch Screen

Housed in state-of-the-art hardware, the DiTronics DFS-500 Kiosk utilizes touch-screen technology to maximize efficiency through exclusive software enhancements for ticket redemption, bill breaking, ATM, cash advance and check cashing transactions.

Proprietary DiTronics software options include Check Express, which allows players to simply swipe their player card and enter a personal identification number to cash checks directly on the DFS-500 Kiosk’s 17-inch color touch-screen monitor. Another option is the Jackpot Pay technology that makes jackpot payouts available on one, several or all of a casino’s ticket redemption kiosks. This enhances customer service by saving time and money while eliminating costly additional equipment, company officials say.


Rolling Out New Winners

International Game Technology continues displaying new methods for touch-screen utilization. The company that produces slot machines and other gaming technology, headquartered in London and with major offices in Rome, Providence, Rhode Island, Reno and Las Vegas, unveiled a plethora of new players at G2E 2016 in Las Vegas.

The 2016 gaming summit was the world debut for IGT’s CrystalCurve Ultra cabinet. The towering hardware solution features a 32-inch curved landscape touch-screen display topped with a 50-inch curved portrait display. Both host pristine visuals via Ultra HD, 4K resolution graphics. The cabinet includes an embedded camera that gives players the opportunity to incorporate their images into game play.

The CrystalCurve Ultra cabinet is also equipped with intelligent lighting and is paired with an ergonomic multimedia sound chair.

IGT also set sail with its CrystalDual+ Stepper cabinet and its new content library. The CrystalDual+ Stepper cabinet combines the mechanical reels from the S3000 cabinet with a 40-inch upper LCD screen, and its top box can be paired with custom facades to make the hardware stand out on a casino floor.

IGT celebrated its 20th anniversary of Wheel of Fortune slots with the introduction of new game themes on a variety of hardware solutions. One of its big new players is the Wheel of Fortune Double Times Pay 3X4X5X 3D game on the AXXIS 3D cabinet. Following the success of the company’s first Wheel of Fortune 3D title, this new game features True 3D technology and utilizes the math and symbol set of the classic Double Times Pay 3X4X5X game.

With the number of touch-screen devices of various sizes and capabilities on the rise—from increasingly complex mobile phones and tablets to steadily increasing gaming applications for both slot machines and funds access—the evolving technology of the touch screen is a vital part of all industry trends.

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.