Focus on QCI: Operators rushing to the QCI Platform to gain customer insights

September 2, 2022 12:00 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
September 2, 2022 12:00 PM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

Quick Custom Intelligence expects to deploy its all-encompassing data management software in about 25 additional large North American casino resorts by the end of this year.

That will bring its roster of large casinos to 100, representing facilities that generate roughly a fourth of the gross gaming revenue in the United States, said Andrew Cardno, QCI co-founder and chief technology officer. QCI also has hundreds of deployments at smaller North American operations and casinos of varying sizes in Asia, Australia, and other markets; and the company is less than 3 years old.

Cardno said the rapid growth is a testament to the recognition of the QCI team’s vast experience in data warehousing, the science/art of compiling and analyzing business data almost instantly to identify opportunities for businesses to grow.

“We’re not new to this,” said Cardno, who has led private research teams in visualization/development for over 20 years, holds more than 60 patents, and has co-written five books on applied analytics. Dr. Ralph Thomas, co-founder and CEO, is a gaming industry veteran who has implemented analytics for numerous gaming companies and built business intelligence tools for multibillion-dollar casinos. QCI has about 50 employees, and Cardno estimated that collectively they have helped build half of the gaming industry’s analytic systems.

The company recently unveiled Version 5.1 of the QCI Platform, which includes the Enterprise Edition and was designed with large corporate organizations in mind. Cardno said it features a wide variety of configurable alerts, such as a high-value player inserting a card into a slot or a

machine error requiring attention.

“In this world of labor shortages, [Enterprise] is able to automate a lot of the roles that in the past you would have someone looking for,” Cardno said. Enterprise also integrates with the SendGrid email marketing system.

QCI base installations take a week or less; Cardno explained that the QCI Platform connects to an operator’s existing data streams rather than to individual slots or other devices. QCI updates its software about every eight weeks, he said. All clients have the same software, but each can customize how the features are used.

He said the gaming industry was a leader in compiling business intelligence, noting that Harrah’s built a data warehouse in the 1990s. Casino data comes from various systems – player tracking, hotel, food and beverage, and slot management, for example – and typically is siloed within each one.

These siloed systems were designed for transaction processing, Cardno clarified, not for analytics or “real-time operational empowerment.” He explained that the QCI Platform uses AI algorithms and complex mathematical calculations to crunch the data, then presents its findings in an easy-to-use format. One client has identified 45,000 customer segments based on “all manner” of resort activity, he said, and QCI can suggest marketing to all of them through data from existing systems. A different operator might market to only 20 customer segments, and QCI provides the data and marketing possibilities to those as well.

“Our job is not to say you should do your marketing like this,” Cardno added. “Our job is to provide the tooling to allow marketing automation.”

Another aspect of the Enterprise Edition is what Cardno called “an exercise in data fanaticism”: a simulated casino virtually indistinguishable from an actual casino operation. It’s based on the activities of 500,000 people, 4,000 gaming machines, and three hotels. Players insert cards into machines, check into a hotel, and redeem comps and free play; hosts get alerts and interact with customers, while marketing emails are sent out, and average daily theoretical win is calculated dynamically.

“This is a massive amount of data activity that happens daily in every casino,” Cardno said. He noted that the simulated casino is so realistic that some clients have used it to train executives on the QCI Platform before it could be installed at their facilities. It will be on display in the QCI booth (#2046) at October’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Simply put, business intelligence is “empowerment,” said Cardno. “A modern gaming executive needs not just data but tooling to help them interact. That’s where we sit.”