M Resort chooses Brocade for Reliable Network
Las Vegas resort delivers triple-play services and gaming applications on a new Brocade IP network.
To support 1,600 slot machines in a rugged environment by developing and delivering innovative gaming applications and advanced IP unified communications services (data, voice, wireless, and video) throughout the resort over a highly reliable network on a 24×7 basis.
At the M Resort, a 90-acre Las Vegas casino-resort, new IP services are helping the resort provide VIP amenities that attract new guests and cause loyal customers to keep returning. The bedrock of their business model is service.
Las Vegas has become a world-class tourist destination respected for its gambling fun, amazing food, eye-popping shows, and top-tier shopping that draws the business traveler, convention attendees, and families. To succeed in this dynamic environment, the M Resort is utilizing technology to gain a competitive advantage. Today, IP networking solutions from Brocade® manage the resort's voice services, Internet access over the wireless LAN, video to digital signs, and data on digital slot machines over a single IP network.
Unified Communications Through a Converged IP Network
The M Resort designed its IP network with an emphasis on reliability, flexibility, and scalability. "We're the most converged network in Las Vegas because we put everything on that network," says Robert Willlis, Vice President of Information Technology at M Resort. "We are using technology to help us be more agile and reactive so we can offer guests a richer and more reliable experience."
The high-performance Brocade network supports more than 1200 Voice over IP (VoIP) phones, 400 PCs, 1900 slot machines, guest room mini-bars, digital signage, and more. The network serves customers and guests, as well as employees responsible for payroll and other back-of-the-house operations.
To support the fluid nature of casino-resorts, the network must be a change agent. Every week brings a different visiting convention with unique needs. Games on the casino floor are often replaced by newer more popular versions. In addition, retail booths change stock or move locations. Through it all, the Brocade IP network readily supports any adjustments that the M Resort needs to make.
"When we look at a jack on the wall, we don't designate it for TV, phone, or a gaming device. We can connect anything we want to the network because we're so converged," Willis says.
Reliabile, Highly Available IP Network
The M Resort did not hesitate when choosing Brocade as its IP network provider. The IT team had more than a decade of consistently positive experience working with Brocade IP solutions.
"We bought Brocade because we knew it was reliable," Wills explains. "Having Brocade solutions means we can go home at night and sleep peacefully without wondering if we will get a 3 a.m. network emergency phone call."
At the core of the network, two Brocade NetIron® MLX Series routers support 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). The edge of the network is supported by 24 FastIron® switches that deliver 1 GbE to the bank of slots and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet to the slot machines, desktops, and other end-user devices. The Brocade Mobility wireless controllers and access points provide wireless access in the convention area and hotel tower.
"We made our purchasing decision from an uptime perspective. For us, reliability is paramount. We also get better performance for the cost," Willis notes.
The M Resort is also realizing operational cost savings from its converged IP network. Cabling expenses have been reduced considerably, and IT has not needed to increase employee headcount to support a PBX system.
Scalability for the Future
The design of the converged IP network supports business expansion easily. "We can collapse a part of the network and expand other parts," Willis says. "We can dynamically change or reconfigure our slot floor without having to invest in additional networking gear, cabling, or labor. We could double the size of the network and move to 10 Gigabit Ethernet or beyond."
The Brocade IP network has additional advantages—especially on the casino floor. New content can be multi-cast to the nearly 2000 slot machines in just few minutes. The IP network allows the M Resort to react to the latest gaming trends, too. When a casino game is no longer popular, the M Resort can replace it with a newer, more popular game. Soon, the resort will move to demographic-based gaming patterns based on clientele. When specific groups arrive from California, for example, the IP-enabled floors can be reconfigured with games that appeal to that distinct audience.
The converged IP network opens up many additional marketing opportunities. For instance, the M Resort can push content or advertising to guests via the VoIP platform, and it can promote specific activities or restaurants through the digital signage in the elevator, hallways, and lobby.
"Our converged network is unique," Willis says. "We are one of two casinos in Nevada with IP-enabled slots. Our mini-bars are connected, and we even have an IP-enabled pharmacy dispenser. Our converged network allows us to support the consistent, high-quality services our guests expect."