Technical Committee Update

As 2005 comes to a close, the GSA technical committee chairs would like to send a thank you to each member volunteer for their help in bringing GSA one step closer to industry standardization. Having achieved record setting accomplishments and with painstaking attention to detail, GSA's technical committees can boast a year of hard work that has paid off. From committee growth to industry implementation, the path chosen clearly was the correct one. A brief recap of recent committee work has been provided below.

The BOB Committee co-Chairs, Dale Buchholz of WMS Gaming and Jim Morrow of Bally Gaming & Systems, report that in recent months the committee has primarily focused on creating several addenda to the BOB 1.1.22 specification and designing the merger of BOB and SuperSAS. The committee submitted the Configuration Class and Central Determinant Class addenda to the Board of Directors for process review. The addenda was then released to the membership for approval vote. The results are pending and will be announced in the near future. The Software Download addendum is being finalized for submission to the Board for process review.

Additionally, Jim and Dale made note that substantial progress has been made on the merger of BOB and SuperSAS. The merger team has been particularly challenged by several issues with respect to event handling, meter model, application-level acknowledgements, persistent memory, subscriptions, and management of game combinations (theme, paytable, denom). Most issues have been resolved and will be written up, and presented to the committee shortly. In the coming months the merger team, along with the committee, will turn its attention to creating a detailed specification for the merged protocol and the addenda. The committee is also looking to add smart card and tournament functionality to the final specification.

The GDS Committee continues their path forward with the completion of several signfigant items. They have created drafts for the card reader standard, the GDS Page Description Language specification and the Printer communication protocol. They have also been working on two different proposals for a single connector solution for USB+Power. The committee is divided on which proposal to use and will continue to discuss the pros and cons of each while working towards a unified solution.

Future work to be done by the GDS committee includes the release of v1.1 for Coin Acceptor / Note Acceptor / Hopper standards, and the release of the above recently completed standards.

The S2S Committee Chair, Walt Eisele of Bally Gaming & Systems, reports that over the past few months the committee has released 3 errata sheets for the S2S protocol version 1.1. These errata not only corrected omissions and errors in the initial 1.1 release, but also added features to aid in S2S implementations in several markets. The committee also released the Handpay class, which allows a property to authorize jackpot/handpays at a kiosk or similar device. A new method for handling events has also been created, which will be more flexible in an S2S environment. S2S had originally used the BOB status block approach to event reporting, which required the Host system to keep state on EGMs attached to other systems.

Over the course of the next few months the committee hopes to accomplish the following. The release of S2S protocol version 1.2 with the following highlights:

1. The inclusion of the Handpay class.

2. Patron Class changes being completed by Konami.

3. A Generic Client Registration Class being completed by MultiMedia.

4. Inclusion of changes from the BOB committee to keep the protocols aligned in cases where it makes sense to do so.

5. All errata released against the 1.1 version.

The committee will also begin working on the S2S changes that will be required as a result of the BOB/SuperSAS merger currently underway within the BOB technical committee. This task is expected to take a majority of the committee's time over the next few months.

GSA's SAS Committee chair, Mansour Esmaili of Aristocrat Technologies, reports the committee has recently finished additions to the SAS protocol and has agreed to release the new version of the SAS protocol document, version 6.02.

Mansour also noted that in the very near future, the details for the SAS certification will be finalized and the committee will gear up for the certification process. In addition, the committee is in the process of addressing all remaining issues regarding the SAS toolkit.

In recent news, GSA has formed a new technical committee to address Transport related specifications / discussions for the BOB and S2S message protocols. Line Robichaud of GTECH and Jeff Huang of Konami were selected as co-Chairs of this committee.

The Transport committee has been actively working towards obtaining approval for WS-1 compliant versions of the BOB WSDL and S2S WSDL files. The BOB WSDL file has been sent to the membership for its 30 day membership review period. The S2S WSDL file is still being reviewed internally with the hope of having it submitted for membership review in the near future.

As part of its recent activities, the Transport committee has had discussions with Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), an industry organization that facilitates the development of next-generation, customer-centric technologies and an Affiliate member of GSA. The discussions, which are in regards to aligning GSA and HTNG SOAP headers, will be ongoing as the committee determines the best path forward.

Additionally, the committee is in the process of reviewing the BOB Transport and Security over SOAP/HTTPS v1.00 specification with the goal of making it a generic transport layer specification to be used with both BOB and S2S messaging protocols. The committee hopes to have a draft proposal ready soon to be sent for membership review.

The Transport committee has had representation and participation in the BOB/SuperSAS protocol merger workgroup. As a result of these protocol merger discussions, the Transport Committee has been tasked with moving forward with reviewing a draft proposal for a broadcast transport specification, currently being called the Lightweight Protocol Header (LPH). A Certificate Management white paper was also created within the protocol merger workgroup. The Transport Committee has been tasked with reviewing this document to determine how the information should be packaged.

In the future the committee plans to release several white papers / implementer's guides in regards to SOAP and lessons learned when implementing the Transport and Security SOAP/HTTPS specification.

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 February 14 - 16, 2006 and will be located in Las Vegas, NV.

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