Tag Archives: Dataveillance

3 advantages of trigger based data monitoring

I was shocked recently when I received my latest cell phone bill to see that my data charges were 10 times my normal average. I do a lot of international traveling and find it a hassle to constantly change SIM cards so I rely on my international roaming. Apparently the reason for the sharp increase was as a result of my switch from BlackBerry to the iPhone which is data hungry.

My first question to the cellular company was why their system did not alert me to the significant increase in data usage? We provide trigger based monitoring across the CHEETEYE casino protection software suite and have just made a significant upgrade to the trigger service, so the benefits of trigger based monitoring were still fresh in mind. “Trigger based monitoring” is a term given to a feature in software that provides users with alerts in the form of an email, text or phone call if a risk has been identified. I know what’s available in today’s world of trigger based monitoring so I’m surprised to still be waiting for an answer from this cellular network giant. Maybe trigger based monitoring will reduce their giant profits?

We’re living in a digital age with access to vast amounts of information. Trigger based monitoring is essential in order to benefit from where we are in history. Below are some benefits identified from a poll on trigger based monitoring for casino protection:

  • Administration automation – surveillance often requires feedback on standard operating procedures (SOP) that have been broken. Once the SOP has been identified and the applicable department notified, trigger based monitoring eliminates the need for surveillance to waste time following up if no feedback has been provided. Lack of feedback in casinos results in policies and procedures not being strictly followed, which leaves them unprotected from the damaging effects of negligence and fraud both by external sources and an organization’s own staff.
  • Proactive observation – Gaming triggers such as potential collusion help surveillance be more proactive in their observation e.g. an alert notifying surveillance of the arrival of a guest involved in possible collusion helps surveillance focus on a “hot area” rather than relying on luck.
  • Solved investigations – Incidents are often left in a “pending state” awaiting further investigation. Being able to alert managers of incidents in a “pending state” can help them follow up on investigators that could be dragging their heals.

Smart phones need smart networks. In the meantime we will focus on developing smart software to help casinos protect with insight.

Smart Surveillance: Learning from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was a great designer. From the Macintosh to the iPad, the products he designed have provided users around the world with a much needed improved technology experience. Design is about solving problems and as we continue our smart surveillance series, it’s time to look at the role of “Information Designer”. From information overload and saturation to break down in trust and skepticism, casinos need information designers to solve the numerous information problems we have at casinos.

How do I become an information designer? Start with what you have and most people have excel, which is a useful information design tool. Get to know excel well by purchasing an easy to read book like “Excel for dummies”. Getting your data into an electronic tool is absolutely essential. Once you have your data in an electronic tool like excel, you can begin to visualize your data. When you visualize information, you start to be able to see the patterns and connections that matter. It allows your readers to focus on what really matters and you provide a solution to this sense of information overload and data glut that we’re all suffering from. Take the following example; a spread sheet of armed forces and defense budgets (courtesy of Information is beautiful) :

At first glance, you might be drawn to the huge US defense budget and formulate the following view in your mind:

Or, you might dig deeper and form more interesting connections with the data. The diagram above can easily depict the US as an aggressive, war-mongering military machine. However, it doesn’t seem fair to not factor in the wealth of a country when assessing its military budget. When you take military budgets as a proportion of each country’s GDP, a very different picture emerges.

The US is suddenly knocked down into 8th place by such nations as Jordan, Burundi and Georgia. Why are these other nations spending so much on their military? Time to dig deeper …

CheetEye information design tools provide users with the ability to extract useful casino data into tools like excel and our own propriety tools, so that users can enter the world of information design. Information designers are in hot demand as they are the problem solvers. Take some small steps and start designing. You could become the most valuable asset at your casino!

Thanks for designing great products Steve Jobs. You’ve left a design legacy!

Doing dataveillance

Traditionally, casinos have been protected by surveillance systems which use cameras to watch activities taking place on a property. However, due to the ever increasing use of electronic systems to control casino processes, there are a lot of fraudulent activities taking place that cannot be seen with the eye. The fraud is taking place at the data level and hence, the surveillance industry has coined the term “dataveillance”. “Dataveillance” is the ability to:

As a beach running addict, I’ll complete this blog from the beach:

Smart Surveillance: The New Mousetrap

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That’s kind of where we are today with casino protection. Table games have increased and placed an ever increasing pressure on surveillance observers. It’s time to break that mold and build a better mousetrap. True Innovation.

Last week we had the privilege of interviewing Willy Allison (President, World Game Protection) and Ron Buono (Executive Director Surveillance, MGM Grand) regarding a concept called “Surveillance Triggers”. “Surveillance Triggers” are software tools that interface with any casino table game player rating/marketing system and constantly “scan” the system for potential irregularities. An alert system is in place that notifies management when players get into the “red zone”.

Types of triggers include:

  1. Being alerted to wins outside of 3 standard deviations for a players trip
  2. Did a players average wager increase since past trips?
  3. Are the majority of the players rating being conducted by the same floor supervisor?
  4. Comparing play to other ratings which were occurring on the same game, same time
  5. Average bet on winning plays vs average bets on losing plays
  6. Comparing maximum bet to credit limit
  7. When a player has exceeded a (user defined) win threshold for a trip

(We will elaborate on each trigger as the “smart surveillance” series continues)

Willy’s top 3 triggers:

  1. When a player has exceeded a (user defined) win threshold for a trip
  2. Are the majority of the players rating being conducted by the same floor supervisor?
  3. Being alerted to wins outside of 3 standard deviations for a players trip

Ron’s top 3 triggers:

  1. Being alerted to wins outside of 3 standard deviations for a players trip
  2. Did a players average wager increase since past trips?
  3. Comparing play to other ratings which were occurring on the same game, same time

What would your top 3 triggers be?

City of Surveillance Cracks

After the London riots, the UK surveillance society must be questioning the effectiveness of surveillance systems in London, often known as the “City of Surveillance”. Author Iain Sinclair describes London as a ‘ring-fenced ghetto, city of surveillance, privately policed estate.’ However, Ross Anderson of Cambridge university in response to the recent London riots states in the Economist, “If you want the surveillance society to become a reality, you’re going to have to increase budgets by an order of magnitude.”

Maybe it’s time to turn to the “casino surveillance society” for answers? Is throwing more money at traditional surveillance the answer or is it not time to become smart as Theron Thompson from the Scarlet Raven Group advocates in his article, “Surveillance Technology: Moving from the Catwalk to Smart Technology”. Casinos around the world are using smart software to direct their daily surveillance activities instead of aimlessly scanning. The casino surveillance society are solving real problems; there’s no need for them to “become a reality”.

I’ll be writing a series of posts titled “Smart Surveillance” which will include tips, case studies and interviews on using smart software to direct surveillance activities. If you have any requests or questions which you would like answered during this series, please email me at “Smart Surveillance”.

Be smart city of London!

Surveillance extinction – Time to evolve

Gavin Michael, global managing director for R&D and alliances at Accenture, was recently quoted saying “we are evolving into a world where quantity, processing speeds and distribution of data will make us see the world through a data lens”.

Surveillance departments that do not evolve towards “data lenses” face extinction by becoming irrelevant. Casino surveillance will always be heavily reliant on the traditional camera lens but even that has become another source to the new lens on the block; the data lens. In the world of surveillance and casino protection, the data lens is referred to as dataveillance. Here are 3 steps to get you onto the evolving path:

  • Get to know your data sources

Getting to know the various data sources in your casino requires you to develop a great relationship with your IT manager and put your detective hat on. Data floods into a casino on a daily basis and it’s the job of surveillance to tap into those vast resources of insight.

  • Setup an electronic recording portal

Surveillance managers and directors should be on an endless quest to remove paper trails. Without an intelligent electronic recording system it’s highly unlikely that your dataveillance endeavors will succeed.

  • Integrate

Once you’ve identified data sources of interest and you have an electronic recording portal in place, work with your IT department or software vendor to integrate your portal with those data sources so that you can begin extracting the insight. Various tools are available to analyze the relationships that exist between the various data sources. CheetEye was originally know as ICOS (Integrated Casino Operation System) because we knew from the beginning that a stand-alone system would be of no use in the world of dataveillance.

Traditional casino protection is dead. Happy evolving!

Our Surveillance Dream

A keynote address must have keys and that’s what I’m looking forward to sharing at my upcoming keynotes. Mark Zuckerburg had a dream of connecting people with the right people all over the world and he’s been very successful at it. We had a dream 5 years ago of helping surveillance departments connect their data to protect with insight and we’ve helped many succeed.

We have not stopped dreaming and as a result, the CheetEye has matured and he’s running faster! My keynotes will be revealing the insides of the latest version of CheetEye, codenamed “SurveillanceBook” – the mother of all surveillance connectors! Don’t stop dreaming for your for your surveillance department!

The most successful surveillance manager in 2011

According to research done by Fast Company magazine, “Coke are metering their water use with such precision. They’re doing it because they want to use less water, because they think they may soon have no choice, and because they’ve discovered that simply measuring water use quickly leads to managing it better.” They’re applying dataveillance to their business, not because it’s a nice to have but out of necessity.

It’s not only Coca Cola that are measuring their data and managing things better. Successful companies like IBM, GE and Wal-Mart are doing the same. “Every day I wake up and ask, ‘how can I flow data better, manage data better, analyse data better?” says Rollin Ford, the CIO of Wal-Mart. Successful executives like Mr Ford acknowledge that there is an “industrial revolution of data” taking place and it’s the first thing on their minds when they wake up. The Economist this time last year reported that “The data-centred economy is just nascent”. What’s been on your mind for the past 12 months? Is it going to make you the most successful surveillance manager this year?

The sexy surveillance department

Stephanie Swan, a marketing student, mentions that dataveillance is having massive advantages for brands.

Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, predicts that the job of statistician will become the “sexiest” around. Data, he explains, are widely available; what is scarce is the ability to extract wisdom from them.

Raise the profile of your surveillance department beyond a necessary cost to company; enter the world of dataveillance and become the sexiest department in your company. Be sexy this year!