Technical Committee Update

As GSA races into 2005, work is continuing on the release of development suites (toolkits) for use by implementers of GSA standards. GSA has formed a new committee to provide oversight of GSA standards development, the Architectural Oversight Committee (AOC). GSA's other committees; Best of Breed (BOB), SYSTEM TO SYSTEM™ (S2S), Gaming Device Standards (GDS), SAS, and the Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC) continue to move rapidly on their 2005 project schedules.

GSA's new committee, the AOC, is charged with the task of setting the overall direction of the Technical Committees in accordance with their Charters, and is responsible for creating and maintaining a work in progress reporting system for the Board of Directors. This report includes a definition of work objectives, deliverables for each objective with timelines, and progress to date versus time lines for each deliverable. The committee is currently led by GSA President, Peter DeRaedt, although the Board expects to appoint a full-time Chair in the near future.

Dale Buchholz of WMS Gaming, and co-Chair of the BOB Committee, reports that the group has been spending the bulk of its time working to release the BOB v1.1 Specification. The specification has been formally reviewed and is in the final editorial stage before release for membership vote. The specification should be released for vote by the end of March with approval expected by the end of April. The GSA BOB Simulators (Development Suites) will be upgraded to reflect BOB v1.1.

In addition to this key work, a Configuration Class draft specification has been created and will be released to the membership for comment. This specification defines additional capability needed to fully automate the configuration of Electronic Gaming Machines (EGM's). The technology is applicable to Class III, Lottery and Class II environments.

The BOB Committee continues to work on enhancements in the areas of compression (binary XML), alternative transports (point-to-point and multipoint serial), Lottery, Central Determination, and Game Download.

The S2S Committee Chair, Dave Nehra of Mandalay Resort Group reports that the committee has completed its review of member comments on the SYSTEM TO SYSTEM™ Message Protocol Standard v1.1 and is in the process of completing the edits to the document.

The S2S Committee continues to work in close collaboration with the BOB Committee and took the BOB Committee's recommendation to incorporate changes coming out of its membership review process into the S2S Standard. The end result is that the S2S Committee has decided to incorporate additional BOB functionality into S2S. S2S is very excited about this added functionality for v1.1. They anticipate sending the document out for final approval by the membership at the end of March.

Other news from the committee includes an implementation case study! The S2S Protocol will be installed in the field on March 28th at the Seminole Hard Rock; and the protocol will be used by SDG, Rocket Gaming and IGT. This is a great moment for not only for the Seminoles and S2S, but for GSA and the gaming industry as a whole. Moving forward, and as mentioned in the winter letter, S2S will look to add functionality to the schema for classes like Lottery, Jackpots Events and the like for v1.2. The committee looks forward to starting the S2S v1.2 discussions starting in mid-March.

Abdul Ali of Aristocrat Technologies, and Chair of the GDS Committee, reports that the committee is busy addressing issues like the USB Diagnostic Suite 1.0, and the Touch Screen Protocol. In addition, they are updating the Coin and Note Acceptor Protocols, and tackling the GDS connector issue head-on.

Future work plans include an initial draft of a new Printer Standard and adding 'code download extension' functionality to the Note, Hopper and Coin Acceptor Standards.

GSA's SAS Committee chair, Chad Ryan of WMS Gaming, reports that the committee is currently working with consultants on the development of a new version of the SAS Toolkit to be released in the coming months. The new version of the SAS Development Suite will address bugs and issues reported by toolkit users, include updates that support the Wager Category and Bill Hopper Protocol addendums adopted by the committee late last year, and address several issues that will make the toolkit more user friendly.

The committee is also updating the Interoperability Requirements Specification to include the Wager Category and Bill Hopper addendums as well as reorganizing Section 7 to separate AFT In-house Transfers from AFT Debit Transfers. This change will allow GSA members to certify gaming machines as compliant to AFT In-house Transfers without being required to support AFT Debit Transfers which is not yet a widely used feature. The new version of the toolkit will also have Section 7 reorganized to reflect this modification within the Interoperability Requirements Specification.

Finally, GSA's RAC committee continues to bring its message on the benefits of implementing industry standards to the Regulator community. Chair Mark Pace of WMS Gaming has been 'on the road' with GSA President, Peter DeRaedt, communicating this message quite effectively. Look for a complete update on Mark's activities in the April issue of Casino Enterprise Management!

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 major face-to-face meetings are scheduled for May 17 through the 20th and will be located in Las Vegas, NV. If you're not a member of GSA - Join now!

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