The Official Newsletter of GSA - Winter 2007

Technical Committee Update

As 2007 comes to a close, GSA’s technical committee chairs would like to thank all the volunteers for their efforts and amazing accomplishments this year. The December Technical Meetings were held in Kansas City, Missouri and were hosted by Ameristar Casinos. The meeting attendance rate was high and a lot of work was completed.

Don Karrer of Penn National Gaming, the OAC Committee Chair, reports the new committee is off to an exciting start. During the recent G2E show in Las Vegas, various members of the committee participated in multiple panel discussions covering a variety of topics pertaining to the GSA protocols and gaming operations. Don Karrer and Peter DeRaedt met with several prospective members who represented state lotteries and gaming companies from around the world. The committee is actively involved in the process of creating a future functional requirements list in preparation for their next meeting which will be scheduled in the first quarter of 2008.

The G2S Committee Chair, Line Robichaud of GTECH reports that the committee has been working toward the next release of the G2S protocol. During the December face-to-face technical meeting, the committee voted to send draft v1.0.4.3 of the G2S Message Protocol to membership comment. This release includes namespace negotiations (which were added to address the backwards compatibility and extensibility issues), remote device configuration (deviceConfig class), and many improvements (including document clarifications and issue resolutions) to the existing features of the protocol. The committee has also started discussions on what features to add to the next version of G2S once the one being worked on is released. The following functionality was suggested to be investigated further: employee tracking, regional solutions, tournament, storage management and keyed-credits.

Walt Eisele of Bally Technologies, the S2S Committee Chair, reports the S2S committee has been very focused on the delivery of S2S version 1.3. This version has several enhancements and new classes added to the protocol specification. Progressive, Bonus, Authorization, and G2S Passthrough have all been added as new classes. Significant enhancements have been made to the Patron and Comp classes as well. All message classes now have examples to further help implementers become proficient with the protocol and how it is used. On a very positive note, technical committee participation has been at an all time high with many member companies working long and hard to make this version a tremendous asset to the industry. The emphasis and impact of S2S continues to grow across the gaming industry providing a standards based approach to adding value to a broad range of products. One additional change that required a concerted effort was the comparison of the XML schema to the PDF protocol document. This resulted in numerous corrections with the end result being a completely accurate document and schema to further aid implementations of the standard. The committee hopes to have the draft version ready for membership vote by the end of the year.

Tony Green of Bally Technologies, Transport Committee Chair, reports the Committee has made progress in developing a certification strategy and has identified the certification criteria related to physical connectors, DHCP, and NTP protocols. Correctly establishing the certification criteria is essential to facilitating interoperability between vendors; however, it must also avoid becoming a barrier to implementation or innovation.

The Transport Committee has received some requests for enhanced protocols and recommendations for best transport practices. Most recently, a workgroup has been chartered to make recommendations for applying port-based network access control. These requests are evaluated by the committee with consideration for enhancing the transport specification and providing a standardized transport for the G2S and S2S application protocols.

The GDS Committee Chair, John Hilbert, FutureLogic, Inc. reports the GDS is almost complete with the updating all of its protocols, with a target of new releases in February or March, 2008. This quarter the GDS committee continues to be focused on the normal implementation challenges that arise with any new protocol. A considerable amount of effort is put forth to give all of the protocols a consistent look and feel.

The committee has completed updating the GDS toolkit to support the more current protocol documents. The toolkit is now complete, including a Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) driver and is available to GSA Members and non-Members. Additionally, the tool kit source code is available to all GSA Member companies.

The GDS committee is continuing to work with other members and non-members to encourage the adoption of the GDS standards.

Ken McNichols of IGT, the SAS Protocol Committee Chair reports the committee continues to manage end of life for the SAS protocol, and maintain the toolkit for testing and certification.

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 January and will be located in Graz, Austria.

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