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From Ethernet to Wireless: Transforming the Casino

Jul 6, 2021 | Blog

This is Part 4 of our 5-part article series, Smart Casinos: Consumer Engagement at the Edge. In Part 3, we looked at how casinos can secure and protect their digital sportsbooks. Here in Part 4, we’re diving into how casinos can transform their operations by moving from ethernet to wireless-based networks. Written by Les Ottolenghi, former CIO at Caesars Entertainment, Smart Casinos spans everything from real-time marketing and digital sportsbooks, to 5G wireless casino networks. With this series, gaming executives will learn how their organizations can digitally transform their operations, maintain a competitive advantage, and grow revenue, all while meeting the changing needs of digital-first patrons.

Ethernet and wired internet technologies have been in use for decades. Since the 1980s, the maximum speed of ethernet has increased dramatically. Yet a simple problem remains: ethernet requires users to connect directly. While wireless networks have also been around for some time, Wi-Fi speeds and 5G technology have become just as fast as ethernet, providing businesses with opportunities for growth and change.

While consumer technology has almost completely moved away from ethernet, many business industries still rely on this outdated form of network connection. Large organizations like casinos are often resistant to change and will soon require a strong push in the direction of wireless to remain modern.

Long-Term Vision

At first glance, the costs of transitioning to a wireless network may seem to outweigh the benefits, so businesses choose to stick with existing, outdated connection methods. However, Ethernet-connected casinos are missing out on valuable marketing and operating opportunities that are only made possible by a secure wireless network. The world is changing fast, and casinos need to change with it if they want to stay profitable and relevant.

Big business tends to share a belief in a classic maxim: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They usually arrive at this conclusion after analyzing the short-term costs of transitioning to an idea like wireless IT infrastructure. Without a long-term vision, the immediate costs will never seem worth it. As everyone else reacts to trends and adopts new practices, these short-sighted companies will be left in the dust.

How Wireless Changes the Game

Until recently, wired ethernet networks provided the quickest internet speeds. However, increasingly fast mobile network speeds have the capability to completely transform a business that chooses to adopt the technology. When a casino makes the transition to a high-speed wireless infrastructure, management can capitalize on marketing and operational advantages that are just not possible in an ethernet-connected business.

At its core, a wireless infrastructure allows for sales and work to be performed anywhere in the building, not just at stationary desks or points of sale. This is a critical point, particularly with the need for contactless (and seamless) digital touchpoints in the wake of the pandemic. With a wireless network in place, customers can order and pay for food and beverages anywhere and anytime. Just as crucially, wireless-connected casino games can be updated and changed with the same freedom, at a moment’s notice. In fact, machines can then even serve multiple purposes — displaying different games or even betting sizes — depending on a customer’s preferences or historical behavior within the casino.

Wireless infrastructure also enables real-time marketing efforts, an idea that has become increasingly important in a world dependent on social media, instant gratification, and personalized digital experiences. Fundamentally, this tactic helps businesses listen and react to the needs of customers in real time; by observing customer preferences and movement patterns, targeted advertising can be produced to satisfy their immediate desires. While real- time marketing strategies like geofencing provide the insights needed to understand customer behaviors, wireless networks allow casinos to implement those insights as actionable strategies.

The world is moving to an interconnected culture based on wireless technologies like the burgeoning 5G network. The future is now: casinos that choose to convert to a wireless IT infrastructure will have a strong competitive advantage in the coming years.

Stay tuned for Part 5 of this series, How the 5G Network Can Benefit Casino Operations, where we examine why 5G is poised to become the backbone of modern casino innovation.

If you’re interested in learning more about how organizations are redefining the consumer gaming experience by embracing connected, mobile-first digital transformation, you can review the June 24th webinar recording here.