Frank Floor Talk: Book Review — The Year in Tech 2024

March 26, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports
March 26, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports

The Year in Tech 2024
By Harvard Business Review Press
2024, 158 pp., $22.95

Story continues below

I can’t say it better than David De Cremer does in the very first line in the Introduction to this “Year in Tech” book: “Businesses that don’t embrace digital technologies are walking a path toward obsolescence.” The individual, standalone chapters cover a broad range of diverse topics from the Metaverse to Supply Chains and Space Exploration to the Dark Web. As the book’s subtitle says, this is “HBR’s latest thinking on the future of business.”

First a word about the book’s parent magazine, the Harvard Business Review. They publish six times a year. If you don’t have a subscription, you should get one. The articles are focused on in-depth business topics that will often make you a better manager. Yes, the magazine is an affiliate of the university’s business school, but acting as a not-for-profit, independent corporation.  Depending on the current promotion, digital and print subscriptions range from $10 to $15/month. It’s a bargain at twice the price.

While you are at it, I consider Wired on the tech side and Bloomberg Businessweek on the news side as two other magazine subscriptions that you shouldn’t miss. If you have time to read some of all three and can listen to a bit of NPR and BBC radio, you can assuredly consider yourself “well informed”.

Returning to the book, it serves a bit of the same purpose, giving you a briefing on 11 different tech trends that are in the news or soon will be. My view is that about a half dozen of these topics could have an impact on casino operations within the next few years.

Chapter 11 about “AI with a Human Face” may solve the irritation we all have from interacting with automated voice-only phone systems that never seem to help with the problem you called about.

Likewise, Chapter 1 on “Neurotech at Work” will make you think (no pun intended). If we ever get the ability to tap into players’ brains to truly understand which games stimulate our guests and which leave them uninspired, a whole new, incredibly productive KPI will come into play.

While I don’t think any operator or manufacturer is yet using augmented reality (AR) in the Slot Tech field, it would be a game changer. Chapter 6 on “How One Airline is Using AR to Improve Operations” is quite impressive. Unfortunately, the folks at Boeing/Alaska Airlines weren’t the airline they profile. Maybe all their doors might have been secured with the four required bolts if they had. Given the complexity and variety of slot devices that casino techs must support today, using AR would be a Godsend.

I can’t recommend every topic. “Why Build in Web 3” left me more confused than before I read the chapter. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been up to speed on the value of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and/or understood the blockchain. I just couldn’t see the value. Maybe that’s old school talking, since NFTs may become an important tool for customer rewards in the future. But for now, I’m still unimpressed. I even checked Wikipedia for a Web3 definition, and it too seemed confusing.

I won’t detail every chapter of this book, but overall this small tech review is a quick read to get you up to speed on some important new topics (maybe skip Chapter 2 until you switch your browser to Web3).

The back cover price is $22.95.  You can find it at most bookstores or direct at HBE Press for that price with free shipping. Amazon has it at $19.29 with a Kindle version at $9.43.