The world today is in the throes of a smartphone revolution. Mobile apps is the new buzzword and no industry is immune from it including the casino and lottery gaming. They are replacing the traditional terminals and POS systems and everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon. The allure is simple- easy to use, easily available, customizable and cost savings are a big plus. Skills sets are easy to hire and new services can be added more easily. Connect it with a Bluetooth printer and you are all set. Why wouldn’t anybody prefer it? There are a few good reasons…
Phones are traditionally made for the average consumer, doing some average office work like spreadsheets, docs, mails etc. and a host of general productive tools. Android is a general OS written for a smartphone allowing it to run a host of programs or apps on it. These phones are not specifically designed for a particular industry or to handle heavy duty workload required for a specific task like gaming softwares and allied tasks. Simple economics also dictates why it won’t be possible to manufacture or order specific grade and standard Android devices for the casino industry- not enough quantity.
A consumer centric phone is manufactured with a life expectancy of 2 years post which the consumer is expected to change or upgrade the device. This is in line with the current fast paced, quick turning world of ever changing trends that we live in. It’s a fact that is known to manufacturers and consumers and everyone else in between. In the casino industry, these devices are used by multiple people and for 24 hours thereby approximately doubling the workload of these devices and thereby reducing the life expectancy further.
Android devices perform well during their expected life expectancy and for the range of tasks expected out of them. Push their limits, and they will breakdown. Which means business interruptions and loss of revenues. The after sales service is also obviously not focused on the business needs. Handheld device manufacturers operate in a niche and with a specialisation giving them an edge in the manufacturing of these products. They can focus on the after sales services providing with a speedy and quick resolution ensuring that the casino does not lose any money. Also, these are rugged devices that come with a 3 year warranty for product replacement and 5 years for parts.
Security and Functionalities
Casinos are some of the heaviest spenders on security with reasons that number into the millions.The movable POS in a casino, be it an Android phone or a handheld device has to take care of a huge number of cash and banking transactions. This means that they are part of the lifeline of a casino business and their security has to be top notch. Android security, granted not at an amatuer level, is still not industrial grade like handheld devices. That’s a million dollar reason to prefer a handheld over an Android, any day of the week and twice on a Sunday.
In terms of other functionalities like fingerprint scanner, RFID chip reader etc. are peripherals in an Android system and needs to be installed separately but are an in-built package in an handheld device.
Not really cheaper
The biggest reason of all. Are Android devices really cheaper? If we revise a bit, their replacement is more often, breakdowns are more frequent, other functionalities are extra; so are they really cheap? Also, remember that the cost of a separate Bluetooth printer needs to be factored in. Total up all of these costs and the initial outlay of an Android device is the same as a handheld one which comes bundled with all of the above mentioned features, including an on device printer.
As lawyers are apt to say, nothing proves a point or a case than a precedent. Once upon a time not too far away, a solution provider provided mobile solutions to a client in SE Asia. Jumping on the Android bandwagon, mobile solutions are promoted as their key feature. Coupled with low prices, the attractive quotient jumps through the roof. But as the saying goes, if something is too good to be true, it usually isn’t. The failure rates within a year are so high that the operator had to bear implementation losses of $250k in addition to replacement cost, credential loss, time loss, employee training cost etc. Needless to say, the mobile system was discontinued and the operator walked away with a very costly experience.
If the Android phones are like the trophy wife; flashy and guaranteed to draw eyes, handheld devices are the plain, honest, simple and loyal wives; not trendy and pretty, but always there for you. Translated in business terms, although seemingly cheap and affordable, the Android devices will bleed you while they can and their shine dulls but the handheld devices will deliver more and last longer and will eventually cost lesser.