As 2008 begins the first quarter, GSA's technical committee chairs held elections for the upcoming year. The January Technical Meetings were held in Graz, Austria and were hosted by Atronic. This was our first European meeting and attendance was high. Congratulations to our 2008 Chairs and Vice Chairs which are listed below:
Don Karrer, Penn National Gaming, Chair, Operators Advisory Committee
Mick Constantino, MGM MIRAGE, Vice-Chair, Operators Advisory Committee
Kevin Higgins, IGT, Chair G2S Committee
Dan Milligan, Video Gaming Technologies, Chair S2S Committee
Sony Syamala, Aristrocrat, Vice-Chair S2S Committee
Tony Green, Bally Technologies, Chair Transport Committee
Dale Buchholz, WMS Gaming, Vice-Chair Transport Committee
John Hilbert, FutureLogic, Inc., Chair GDS Committee
Abdul Ali, Aristocrat, Vice-Chair GDS Committee
Ken McNichols, IGT, Chair SAS Committee
Don Karrer of Penn National Gaming, the OAC Committee Chair, reports the first meeting of 2008 was held on February 22nd. In addition to some of the usual gaming operators participating in the meeting was a couple of new GSA members, representing both lotteries and international companies. The group discussed the design and components of a new portion of JIRA which will be used to capture operator related functional requirements. They also adopted a requirements submission and approval process which will immediately be used by all. A small group of operators are now busy entering their requirements in preparation for the next meeting which has been scheduled in early May. The committee also agreed to conduct quarterly meetings for the remainder of 2008.
The G2S Committee Chair, Kevin Higgins of IGT reports that the committee has been continuing work towards the next release of the G2S protocol. During the January face-to-face technical meeting, the committee continued to work on issues posted by members on the v22.214.171.124 draft of the G2S Message Protocol, which has been sent to membership comment. Much of the recent work clarifies some ambiguities in existing and new features, thereby increasing interoperability. The functionality added in this release includes namespace negotiations (which addresses backwards compatibility and extensibility issues), and device configuration (deviceConfig class). The committee has also begun discussions on what features to add to the next version of G2S once the current draft has been released. Committee members have suggested adding employee tracking, regional solutions, tournament, storage management and keyed-credits functionality to the protocol. Additionally, development work has already begun on a proposed tournament class, which will provide an interoperable method of configuring and starting tournaments.
Dan Milligan of Video Gaming Technologies, the S2S Committee Chair, reports the committee has been focused on getting the final 1.3 version of the protocol schema out for member vote. With this version comes the new Progressive, Bonus, Authorization, and G2S Passthrough classes. During the past few months the committee has worked on many issues relating to the new classes to ensure they meet the needs of the committee members. The committee has also worked very diligently to ensure that the PDF document accurately describes the intended usage of the protocol to give users a clear understanding regarding how to implement the protocol features. Moving forward the committee is now investigating the redemption of player points in a standardized way, the use of millicents in the various classes, the need for multicast messages within S2S, and the future alignment of S2S with G2S. Overall progress is good and we continue to see a high level of participation from committee members across all disciplines.
Tony Green of Bally Technologies, Transport Committee Chair, reports the current GSA Point-to-Point Transport and Security Specification (v1.0.3) was approved last summer and has remained stable. The Transport Committee has been reviewing the specification for improvements and clarifications, resulting in recommendations that improve the document without affecting the operation of the transport. Additionally, the Transport Committee has been able focus its efforts toward certification of the Point-to-Point and Multicast protocols, as well as providing practical guidelines for implementers.
The GDS Committee Chair, John Hilbert, FutureLogic, Inc. reports after many months of effort, the GDS Committee has approved new protocols for all peripherals and posted them on the GSA site for all to use. GDS will be working on implementing Unicode. This will work in concert with the G2S Unicode implementation and will move the standards toward a new level of international acceptance.
Ken McNichols of IGT, the SAS Protocol Committee Chair reports the committee adopted new procedures for limiting change to the protocol as we prepare to end development in January 2010. The committee is continuing to improve the protocol test scripts, and to ensure the accuracy of previously published protocol documents.
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 April and will be located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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