With more than 400,000 point-of-sale devices in 100 countries—200,000 in the U.S. alone—IGT operates one of the world’s most sophisticated real-time gaming networks that must deliver exceptional levels of reliability, availability, and performance. At their simplest levels, these systems join a host and a terminal over a wired or wireless network. A customer walks up to the terminal, makes a real-time wager through the terminal that is immediately recorded in the remote host system, and receives a paper ticket confirming the entry–all in one or two seconds. During peak periods, IGT systems can process thousands of transactions per second.
“Many of our customers are government agencies and regulators that demand the highest levels of performance,” said Leonard Gugliemi, vice president of global communications for IGT. “We’re held to a very high service-level agreement–and rightly so. After all, if the system is down, the customer can’t play and the government agency loses money. That’s unacceptable. So the communications network between the terminal and the host is a critical piece of our solution.”
Recently, IGT secured two contracts to supply lottery infrastructure in Mexico and South Africa – 10,000 point-of-sale devices in each country. Adding to the challenge, the contracts called for very rapid deployments. “Given the locales and the schedules, we knew that wireless connectivity made the most sense,” said Gugliemi. “We have long relied on Digi products in numerous installations around the world, and we knew their wireless would be a great fit for these implementations.”
IGT selected the Digi TransPort cellular router for a robust communications solution with true enterprise class routing, security and stateful inspection firewall and integrated VPN. The TransPort cellular router provides IGT with an integrated Wi-Fi access point (with multi SSID) / client, USB, serial and single-port Ethernet switch, as well as a variety of configuration options including multiple serial ports (async or sync), GPS or I/O telemetry modules. This is ideal for PCI-compliant applications including advanced security, logging and firewall features. With Digi Remote Manager, IGT is able to take full advantage of easy setup, configuration and maintenance of its large installations of Digi TransPort devices.
According to Gugliemi, Digi shines in customer evaluations. “Our customers – these state and local governments – put our proposals through intensive evaluations, and the communications link is an important decision criterion. Nine times out of 10, the communications portion of our solution driven by Digi earns the highest marks from our buyers. We’ve pioneered many of the techniques and technologies that are now standard in the lottery industry, and our customers recognize that. They know that we can deliver innovation.”
The ability to deploy a wireless solution brought significant advantages to IGT. “The beauty of the TransPort product is that we can deploy terminals rapidly in almost any location,” he said. “We have much more control over the deployment – we’re not beholden to a telephone company to install a phone line before we can get the terminal up and running. We work closely with Digi’s engineering teams to develop pre-configured solutions that get shipped directly to our thousands of sites, so the installation process is very simple. That’s critical, because it helps us get our customer up and running as fast as possible and meet our tight commitments.”
In some sites in Mexico, IGT was deploying terminals in remote locations and in extreme conditions. “A preconfigured wireless router that our team can just plug in – and have it work immediately – that removes a lot of complexity from our process. Digi gives us a huge advantage with simplicity and reliability, because the TransPort routers just work.”
It’s a similar story in South Africa, where IGT deployed 10,000 POS lottery in a tight timefram. “Parts of South Africa simply don’t have a great deal of infrastructure or resources,” he explained, “but you’re trying to deploy a sophisticated system. And if you need something – an extra part, a spare, a replacement - you can’t just go to a store and buy it. With Digi, it’s all turnkey. All of the TransPort devices come pre-assembled and pre-configured, which is enormously helpful in these remote locations.
“Digi has been a tremendous partner for IGT through engineer-to-engineer relationships, and have been a key reason for our success in these challenging deployments.”