Technical Committee Update

GSA has deemed 2005 the "Year of Implementation" and thanks to the hard work and diligence of the many volunteer's who make up GSA's technical committee's this statement is becoming a reality. The 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.

Dale Buchholz of WMS Gaming, and co-Chair of the BOB Committee, reports that BOB version 1.1 has been approved and released to the public. The committee continues to support its evolution and has made substantial progress in the areas of remote configuration and software download. The configuration class has just gone through a 30-day comment period and the final specification is being prepared for Member vote with acceptance expected sometime in early July.

Just recently, BOB held a Software Download Summit as part of the May GSA Technical Committee meetings. It was well attended and presentations were given by Progressive Gaming, Multimedia Games, Cyberview, GTECH and IGT. There was broad discussion concerning direction and an action item was taken to create a draft proposal. The expectation is that BOB will have a fairly concrete definition of software download by G2E this year. Both these efforts complement the BOB 1.1 specification and together with the earlier technology provide a rich message set for building important services to support today's casino operations and the server-based gaming of the future.

In addition to this key work, the BOB 1.1 version of the EGM and Host simulators has been released for acceptance testing. The review period closes in the middle of June and the final accepted version of the simulators should be available shortly thereafter. The simulators have been very useful as a teaching tool during the BOB "Under the Hood" 2-day tutorials. They bring the protocol to life and provide an excellent way to test a person's understanding or a company's implementation.

The BOB Committee has also pushed forward on defining protocol extensions for Lottery and Class II gaming. The work on Central Determinant is progressing nicely and the committee should have a draft proposal in mid June that will go out for committee review. There is also work on multi-drop transport for the Lottery environment. This would allow BOB to run in a polled multipoint network instead of over Ethernet.

The S2S Committee Chair, Walt Eisele of Bally Gaming & Systems reports that the committee completed work on the S2S protocol version 1.1 in early May, which the GSA membership approved for release. This was coupled with the first S2S installations in the field. Currently the S2S protocol is in use in Alabama and Florida at Class II Casino properties.

The S2S Committee has work underway on extensions and enhancements to the protocol to better support Video Lottery (VLT), Central Determination and Class II functionality. A new message class to support the handpay jackpots has also been introduced. This will allow the automated pay of a hand pay jackpot by an attendant or at a kiosk supporting such functionality. The committee is also considering options for S2S simulators/test tools to help support implementation and certification of the standard.

The GDS Committee reports they have been quite busy the past several months. They have created an errata for the Note Acceptor standard, as well as one for the Coin Acceptor and Hopper standards. In addition, the Touch Screen standard has been submitted to the GSA membership for review and the Printer Communication protocol has moved to the committee comment stage. Other work being done by the GDS committee includes working to define a suitable connector for the various devices and working to produce a draft card reader communication protocol.

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.

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.

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 August 16th through the 19th and will be located in Chicago, IL.

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