Technical Committee Update

As we head into the final stretch of 2006 there is plenty to talk about. GSA's technical committees have reached many pivotal decisions and have produced amazing results. From updated versions of current standards to entirely new protocols, GSA's technical committees can proudly say the have accomplished the near impossible. Thanks to countless hours of hard work, these dedicated members have brought the gaming industry together.

The G2S Committee chair, Adrian Marcu of IGT reports that the G2S Committee has recently achieved a major milestone by finalizing the new G2S protocol and in August voted for the protocol to be submitted to the GSA Board of Directors for process review and final Membership vote. Upon completion of the Membership voting process, the G2S standard will be released to the public as Version 1.0 for general implementation. In parallel a Certification Workgroup was created to address certification requirements for the G2S protocol implementations on both Machine and System side. This process is ongoing.

Walt Eisele of Bally Technologies, the S2S Committee chair reports that the final version of S2S 1.2 has been released to the public from GSA. It has been a lengthy process to get this version of the protocol finalized and released but the benefit to the industry is substantial. This release provides a unified and stable version of S2S with many enhancements and fixes to the 1.1 version of the protocol. The committee also agreed to have the S2S XML schemas evaluated by Radical Blue Gaming to ensure consistency and minimize the number of potential issues a developer might encounter while implementing the standard. The committee is finalizing the recommended changes and hopes to have the final schemas available by the end of October.

The S2S Committee has formed a Certification Workgroup to begin the challenging process of defining the criteria that will be used to certify implementations of the S2S protocol. S2S provides unique challenges to the certification process given the broad nature of what the protocol makes possible. The early focus has been on defining particular business areas that S2S could support and what portions of the protocol would be required to make those business functions possible. This will be a dynamic process that will challenge the group to create certification profiles that make sense from a business perspective and ensure inter-operability from a technical standpoint.

With the final release of version 1.2, the committee's focus will turn towards new features and functions for S2S. Some areas of focus will include features to support effective G2S implementations, improved progressive support and other improvements to aid in the wide-spread adoption of S2S. The committee has changed its focus from the immediate alignment of S2S and G2S to providing support for G2S as referenced above. This is a change in direction as the original plan had called for the immediate integration of S2S and G2S in areas that made sense (i.e. Voucher, Meters etc). Given the amount of effort put into the 1.2 version, it made more sense to allow that version to be propagated and provide a uniform base from which to further evolve the protocol in the future.

Mansour Esmaili of Aristocrat Technologies, the SAS Protocol Committee chair reports that the GSA SAS Committee is putting the final touch-ups on the SAS FAQ document and expects for it to be available shortly. The committee has finalized a new version of the SAS Toolkit, which will be used as the basis for establishing SAS interoperability.

Line Robichaud of GTECH and chair of the Transport Committee reports that on June 24th, the committee released and the membership approved the Multicast Transport Protocol Specification. The Multicast Transport Protocol v1.0.7 package was released in late September as errata to this specification.

The GSA Multicast Transport Protocol defines a transport mechanism for efficiently sending GSA XML-based Messaging Protocol messages (i.e. G2S or S2S messages) to multiple receivers at the same time over an IP Network. UDP configured using IGMPv2.0 (Internet Group Management Protocol) is used as the base network and transport layers for the Multicast Transport Protocol. The G2S and S2S Messaging protocols identify which messages can be multicasted using this transport specification.

The errata addresses several issues reported by the membership. It also includes an XML schema for the external configuration data required by the Multicast Transport Protocol.

A WS-1 compliant WSDL for G2S is with the BOD for process review. Following process review this will be sent out for full membership vote.

The Transport Committee has decided to combine the GSA Point-to-Point SOAP/HTTPS Transport Specification and the Certificate Management Specification drafts into one specification called the GSA Point-to-Point SOAP/HTTPS Transport and Security Specification. This specification has been approved by the Transport Committee and has been voted forward for Membership review and comment. This is the final review process before the Membership votes the standard into official existence and it is released to the public. The committee expects to complete this process late in the fourth quarter of 2006 or early in the first quarter of 2007.

The GSA Point-to-Point SOAP/HTTPS Transport and Security Specification defines a transport mechanism for sending GSA Messaging Protocol messages (i.e. G2S or S2S messages) between two endpoints - host systems and/or gaming devices. This specification uses the W3C standard SOAP/HTTP to transport messages over an IP Network. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is used for authentication and securing the communication. The Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP) and the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) provide the basis for the certificate management functions. DHCP is used for providing dynamic IP addressing, gateway locations, DNS servers and vendor specific information. End points supporting the GSA Point-to-Point SOAP/HTTP Transport and Security Specification must also support Domain Name System (DNS) and Network Time Protocol (NTP).

The next activity the Transport Committee is setting its sights on is compliance certification and testing. This effort will lead to defining the requirements that need to be met in order to obtain GSA Certification for the GSA Transport specifications.

Keep up-to-date on all the activities of the GSA Technical Committees by attending meetings if you're a member.

A full meeting schedule can be found HERE.

The next face-to-face meetings are scheduled for December 5-7, 2006 and will be located in Las Vegas, NV.

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