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August 23, 2014

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Interactive signs at Aria will lead to biggest jackpots

Aria Opening

CityCenter President and CEO, Bobby Baldwin, bottom center, speaks during the opening of Aria at CityCenter in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009. Launch slideshow »

The multimedia team at the Aria is working to develop interactive display signs that will enable gamblers to find progressive slot machines with the biggest jackpots on the casino floor.

The way-finding technology would integrate the progressive slots’ metering technology with existing interactive maps located throughout the 2½-month-old resort complex.

“In the future, we could build the progressive slot signs into a wayfinder, where people can determine which slot machine has the highest jackpot and then go to that machine to play,” said Adam Feldman, senior project manager of MGM Mirage Multimedia.

One of Feldman’s colleagues, Dirk Mahabir, a hardware analyst for the company, said one of Aria’s sister properties, Luxor, already is experimenting with the concept the old-fashioned way – with cardboard signs.

“They’re just running the numbers and then putting a sign up on one of the machines every day,” Mahabir said.

The use of interactive maps is just one of dozens of digital sign applications in place at Aria, considered to be one of the most technologically advanced resorts in the world.

About 100 delegates attending this week’s Digital Signage Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center spent the morning before the show’s Wednesday opening touring CityCenter and the Hard Rock Café on the Strip to see their digital display technology at work. About 4,000 people will be in Las Vegas through Thursday for the two-day show.

MGM Mirage’s small multimedia team – there are 11 in the department serving all 10 Las Vegas resort properties – is based in an office at Bellagio. But the team can operate scripts on the approximately 1,000 video screens throughout the company from a laptop computer.

Feldman said the mergers that made MGM Mirage the company it is today, absorbing Mirage Resorts in 2000 and the Mandalay Resort Group in 2004, blended eight different platforms for digital signage. Today, the company works primarily with Four Winds Interactive, Denver, to produce videos and images on screens companywide.

Content is provided on screens as small as the 8.5-inch monitors on blackjack tables to 47-by-26-foot resort marquees. The average screen is about 40-46 inches, he said.

Screens are hard-wired with copper connections for reliability and wireless technology isn’t used because of the potential for interference.

An elaborate scheduling software program enables the company to rotate content, mostly advertisements for restaurants and entertainment, on the various screens. The company can promote special events and activities with video loops and programmable scripts and programmers have the ability to easily remove an ad if, for example, a promoted show is sold out.

The 8.5-inch video screens on blackjack tables are color coded to match the chip color for the limit at that table. Advertisements and promotions are rotated through the screen. The tech team is working on a program to scroll sports scores onto the screen so that if blackjack players have a sports wager they can monitor the progress of the game.

If limits change on a game during the course of the day, existing information can be overridden from a computer keyboard in the table game pit.

Touch screens are located throughout Aria. In the resort’s convention center, screens enable users to locate a meeting or seminar with one tap of the screen.

Restaurants have displays that show menus and prices. Some screens offer the option of viewing menus and prices at other restaurants if there’s a big crowd.

The multimedia team is looking to expand functionality of screens in the future, enabling guests to access information on a restaurant while they are in the casino and vice versa.

Tour participants also spent an hour exploring the technology at the 5-month-old Las Vegas Hard Rock Café just up the street from CityCenter.

Hard Rock general manager Greg Thomas showed off the 18-by-4-foot Rock Wall interactive feature on the second floor of the 42,000-square-foot café. The property also has Microsoft Surface computerized tabletop displays and interactive screens at booths that help sell Hard Rock merchandise.

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