Intersection of AI and automation OPTX focus in 2024

January 18, 2024 8:09 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
January 18, 2024 8:09 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States

OPTX launched three new products in 2023, setting the stage for this year’s focus on the merger of artificial intelligence and automation.

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“What we did in 2023 helps build the foundation of where we’re headed,” said Brian Uran, OPTX’s vice president of product and client success.

OPTX is a platform that ingests data from the disparate systems within a casino and transforms it into operational functionality in the areas of slots, marketing, and player development.

OPTX’s Slot Dispatch product manages many different events happening on the slot floor at any given time. The mobile-friendly solution allows team members and managers to oversee the slot floor, communicate in real time, and include slot-tech operations.

“Slot Dispatch allows our properties to exceed their slot service goals and not just in response and completion times. By attaching it to the rest of the OPTX platform with a single login, it allows operators to harness the properties of OPTX and deliver meaningful customer service beyond filing jackpots or correcting machine tilts,” Uran said. “And they do it all on a single app in the palm of their hand.”

Enterprise is designed specifically for the nuances of multi-property operators.

“At the beginning, we had a lot of single-property customers, which was great. As we expanded, we started to get these enterprises that have two, three, four, five, six, and seven properties in their portfolio,” Uran said. “They wanted to look at each individual property on its own and how players play and machines perform at each, but also an aggregate look across all of their properties. No longer are they bound to a single property’s data when making operational decisions. They can maximize their core business across their entire portfolio.”

The 2023 launch that “really unlocks where we’re headed in the future is OPTX SYNC,” Uran said. SYNC pushes information that starts in OPTX to various complementary systems — gaming, concierge mobile app, kiosk, or website.

“It’s our service that takes information out of OPTX, like a host issuing a comp or a database-marketing team putting together a campaign for 100,000 players to give them free offers,” Uran said. “It takes all of that information and pushes it into the various systems. No longer do our SYNC customers have to spend hours and hours taking the output of OPTX and loading it into these different systems. We do it all for them and that’s really the key for where we’re heading in 2024: the intersection of artificial intelligence and full end-to-end-automation. We view that as the North Star in our thinking about every decision that we make for what goes into the product.”

AI can stand on its own on the player side, Uran said. Many in the industry, including himself, have for years tried to figure out the right offer for the right player, the time to deliver it, and through what channel, whether text message, email, mail, or phone call.

“The idea is that by doing that, we should be able to maximize the wallet share,” Uran said. “Either we’re getting an extra trip out of those customers or increasing their spending per trip. There’s even some nuance if we know a player is an influencer among their peers. We want to make sure they stay happy, so they keep bringing their friends back. All of those things are possible through the AI model our data-science team is building.”

Imagine having the right offer for all the right players at the right time and delivering it seamlessly without any intervention by an employee, Uran said. OPTX is evaluating an entire database 24 hours a day to optimize the player journey.

“Then you evaluate the results. We have the input, the delivery mechanism, and the offer. On the back end, we monitor the results of all of these recommendations. Our models learn and the cycle continues and gets better over time.”

On the product side, OPTX can predict changes to game performance with AI models, Uran said. They can make the recommendations in real time and automate the assignment of the tasks to perform the optimization to a tech manager.

According to Uran, slot teams across the OPTX portfolio are asking for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in capital to get new products on their floors and the question is how to optimize their floors with the right mix of games to maximize revenues.

“That’s another set of models our AI team is working on to deliver floor optimization, new game recommendations, and recommendations for games declining in performance. But they might not have a capital budget, so here are some tweaks to make to the game, some configuration changes. It’s all being delivered through AI, a huge benefit to our AI customers.”

Because OPTX has both player and slot data, “we can take it a step further,” Uran said. “A lot of times, you make changes to a game, move a game, or remove a game and players get upset. Now, imagine automatically sending a notification to those players who were playing the game that it’s moving or changing, and in the same notice informing them of incoming games we think they would enjoy based on their behavior.”

AI isn’t a replacement for humans. Rather, “it unlocks operators to think strategically about their business and operators will get all of the control they want,” Uran said. That may mean they have approval steps for sending out offers for example. Other operators can set up rules for full end-to-end automation and monitor or modify them as time goes on.

“In both cases, the prize asset of these operators is their staff,” Uran said. “Their staff will be key to harnessing the power of OPTX. We can help them understand their business better through these AI insights, take over the mundane tasks of loading the offers and scheduling emails, and allow them to spend more time on how to move the needle with information and they didn’t used to have. That’s where we’re headed in 2024 — how we’re going to help our customers and the industry move forward.”

Uran said what sets OPTX apart is that it provides information and lets companies operationalize it. It’s one thing to know something about your business, but it’s how you take action on it that will drive home the success of a client.

“Ease of use, best-in-class client success, customer support, cutting-edge models, and full end-to-end automation, that’s what we’re planting our flag – the combination of all of those things. That’s where we’re heading in 2024.”