Technical Committee Update

After a successful Global Gaming Expo, GSA’s technical committees move forward into 2007 after putting an extr aordinary year behind them. GSA’s committees, Architectural Oversight (AOC), Game to System (G2S), SYSTEM TO SYSTEM™ (S2S), Gaming Device Standards (GDS), Transport (TRS), SAS and the Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC) now begin work on the GSA certification effort.

The AOC is charged with the task of setting the overall direction of the Technical Committees. The committee is led by Chair, Bruce Rowe of GTech. The AOC has been busy working on the committee charters.

The G2S Committee chair, Russ Ristine of Radical Blue Gaming, Inc. reports that the G2S Committee has achieved another major milestone as the G2S protocol went out for membership review on November 20th – the final last step needed before the new protocol is released to the world! Several of the member companies have been busily at work trying their hand at implementing the new protocol as was seen in a number of demonstrations that were conducted at the recent Global Gaming Expo. The committee has been hard at work on an erratum that contains a number of tweaks, corrections, and clarifications, and expects to release the errata as G2S version 1.0.1 in mid-January. They advise that this is the version that folks should use for their actual development, as it will be the version upon which protocol certification will be based. The Certification Workgroup is making good progress, having defined a number of “profiles” that provide an outline of which commands each type of device is expected to produce. We look forward to the actual certification process unfolding in the upcoming months!

Walt Eisele of Bally Technologies, the S2S Committee chair reports that the final version of S2S 1.2 has been released to the public.  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 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 shortly.

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 widespread 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.

Line Robichaud of GTECH, and chair of the Transport Committee, reports that the GSA Transport Committee has released draft v0.7 of the GSA Point-to-Point SOAP/HTTPS Transport and Security Specification for membership comment.  The committee has been busy addressing the comments that have been reported so far.  The comment period ends in late December.  The committee plans to send the next draft of the transport specification for board process review and membership vote shortly after the comment period ends.

The GDS Committee chair, Abdul Ali of Aristocrat Technologies reports that the committee is meeting again with new direction from the GSA Board of Directors. The committee will have its next meeting in 2007

Mansour Esmaili of Aristocrat Technologies, the SAS Protocol Committee chair reports the committee is continuing to refine both the SAS protocol and the SAS Certification process.  The Committee is adding new capability to support System Based Games and new jurisdictional requirements as well as adjusting the Certification process account for the new capability and to adapt to new issues found in the field.

The committee will correct any errors (in tests and test scripts) arising from these tests to meet the criteria. The SAS FAQ is available for the members to review.

Finally, GSA’s RAC committee continues to bring its message on the benefits of implementing industry standards to the Regulator community. Chair Steve Kastner of IGT has been 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 major face-to-face meetings are scheduled for February and will be located in Hollywood, Florida.

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