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NRT’s new QuickJack 88 kiosk—aimed at casino operators wanting high-tech cash handling without a high-tech price

Monday, 14 November 2011 10:57
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NRT Technology Corp (NRT) displayed its new QuickJack 88™ kiosk at G2E 2011 in Las Vegas. The company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of self-service cash-handling equipment in the retail and financial industries and is a growing force in the gaming sector. The company supplied its NRT QuickTouch™ kiosks to the Singapore casino market to process the casino levy imposed on Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

Inside Asian Gaming caught up with Art Ayow, VP of Sales – International Gaming, Lotteries & Banking; and Kevin Lam, Regional Account Manager (APAC) to find out more about NRT’s new QuickJack 88 product and its bill-breaking and ticket redemption capabilities.

IAG: What’s different about the QuickJack 88?

Art Ayow: There are a few things that differentiate it from our traditional kiosks. The first one is the cost. It’s going to be very, very price-competitive.

Some people have certainly said to us that they love your products but they have had some resistance on price.

This is to address that market. It is targeted principally for the 400-slot-machines-and-fewer property. But what is nice about this machine is that it provides the operators with all the capabilities that they would have with more of our top-end machines without having to spend the money up front.

So here’s how we do that. Number one, the basic machine is considerably lower in price. The back-office and system management functions are maintained in a hosted fashion. In other words, there’s going to be a thin client* residing within this box.

So, the casino operator doesn’t have to include the cost of a cash handling system licence. They don’t have to include the cost of infrastructure and staffing. They don’t have to manage complex database management systems (DBMS). More importantly, they don’t have to acquire a Microsoft SQL Server licence which could run to US$7,000 to US$15,000 depending on the version and the environment.

This unit also has one fewer cassette [for banknotes]. Typically our machines have five cassettes plus the reject [cassette]. This one has four plus the reject.

But for small environments, it will be more than adequate. It still has the two bill validators.

And another interesting feature is that it has the ticket printing capability already supported. In our legacy systems, we have to retrofit those machines, and then you lose the capability of the fourth coin hopper.

On the subject of thin client technology, it can be a challenge for casino operators in Macau to get database management staff and data analysts because of labour import restrictions.

The QuickJack 88 precisely removes the property’s need for in-house specialists to do the complex DBMS functions and the data manipulation. But you still get all the benefits of the system management and the back-office reporting that you normally would get on our legacy systems.

Can you give us an idea—in the context of the Asian market—what kind of clients you might be targeting? For example, will it be slot clubs in places like the Philippines?

I think you hit it right on the head. This product is specifically targeted to the international market. In places like Australia where there are 200,000 slot machines—190,000 of them in pubs and clubs—we didn’t previously have a product set. Today we do.

NRT already has a good reputation for supplying quality cash handling technology to the banking and finance sectors. If you’re now going to be price-competitive in the gaming market with people who have been previously offering cheaper products, do you think that will tip things in your favour in terms of building market share in the gaming sector?

I think basically there are a number of factors in our favour. One is our reputation and long history of continuing to evolve high-quality products in our markets. Secondly, they’re going to get good value for the dollar; a high return on investment, because we are not compromising the back-office and system management capability at all. It’s just that it resides in a different place.

Obviously the product would have to meet the local jurisdictional guidelines as to what is allowed remotely. However, we feel that in many of the developing countries with evolving casino environments, it’s going to be a very good fit.

What’s the time scale in terms of the time to market?

The physical hardware part of it is ready today. However, we believe that it’s not going to be introduced to the market until around January. So I see this as being a very active product that we’ll be talking about at ICE in London.

We are still developing the software. That’s going to happen for sure by November, but then we also have to get it approved. The key challenge is to have the NRT [back office] infrastructure to support the product. That means more premises, more resources, and more server and database infrastructures. We are working on all of that right now. It takes time. But of course the upside is that our clients for this product are not going to need extra IT people and DBMS specialists to support it. We take up that slack.

Taking on that back office function could also help you in your product development because you’re going to have access to the data on usage patterns.

We see that as a definite side benefit for us. In essence, we are going to be able to look at statistics which before could only be provided based on the client giving it to you. We believe we should be able to analyse those statistics and be able to tell what should be in the next version. Where are the ‘hot buttons’? Are there any weak points? Those kinds of things.

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