Thin Client Server
A thin client application is a mobile app which depends heavily on some other computer (its server) to fulfill its traditional computational roles. This stands in contrast to a native application where a device application is designed to take on these roles by itself. The exact roles assumed by the server may vary, from providing data persistence, computation or actual information processing on the client’s behalf.
Thin clients applications occur as components of a broader mobile device infrastructure, where many devices (clients) share their computations and / or data with the same server. As such, thin client applications can be viewed as the providing of some computing service via several mobile device user-interfaces. With 359’s mobile platform this allows the client server to provide the lottery or game content while the 359 UMI provides the content and display to the individual mobile devices.
Thin-client computing is also a way of easily maintaining computational services at a reduced total cost of ownership. The 359 platform maintains the display and device relationship while the client server handles the lottery or gaming content. Without the Client Server relationship, the mobile user would have to continually download lottery and gaming application with each game change or device operating system upgrade.
Cloud Architectures are designs of software applications that use Internet-accessible on-demand services. Applications built on Cloud Architectures are built so that the underlying computing infrastructure is used only when it is needed, draw the necessary resources on-demand, perform a specific job, then relinquish the unneeded resources and often dispose them after the job is done. While in operation the application scales up or down elastically based on resource needs.
Cloud Architectures address key difficulties surrounding large-scale data processing:
• In traditional data processing it is difficult to get as many machines as an application needs.
• It is difficult to get the machines when one needs them.
• It is difficult to distribute and co-ordinate a large-scale job on different machines, run processes on them, and provision another machine to recover if one machine fails.
• It is difficult to auto-scale up and down based on dynamic workloads.
• It is difficult to get rid of all those machines when the job is done. Cloud Architectures solve these difficulties as well as providing some clear business benefits such as:
• Almost zero upfront infrastructure investment
• The ability to scale in real-time
• More efficient resource utilization
• Usage-based costing
• Potential for the shrinking of required processing time
Geo-Location, Geo-Fencing and Security
Gaming industry applications present unique requirements to location services. In addition to simply providing fast and accurate locations, these apps must be guarded from a number of techniques whereby the location can be spoofed, allowing gaming from illegal locations.
Baseline technologies for location services include Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Assisted GPS with the use of other wireless technologies such as WiFi and cell tower feedback, and third party carrier based location services. The accuracy of these systems varies directly with their cost of implementation.
GPS system accuracy is generally in the 30 meter range , and requires specialized hardware within the mobile device. For the last decade Google, Mapquest, and other map vendors have been utilizing WiFi nodes with known locations to assist the GPS accuracy, or provide location information when GPS is not available. The accuracy of this information when mixed with GPS can be more accurate than GPS alone, but the error can vary widely from location to location and even from one location fix to the next. In preparation of this white paper, for example the LOC-AID system was queried for the location of a cellular device near several WiFi hot spots and cell towers, and the location error was 0.97 miles.
Newer technology such as the xxx chip from yyyy, claims to be able to locate within centimeters, but again these devices are no better than the aggregate error of the locations of the devices they are using for the location baseline.
Other techniques rely on a combination of inertial guidance and dead reckoning to interpolate the user’s location between GPS fixes. This is primarily more accurate than GPS alone when outdoors, but indoor locations are less accurate.
In gaming applications the location accuracy requirement can be on the order of tens of meters if, for example, gaming is to be limited to a specific building or property. The Stations Casinos, for example, utilize 359’s technology to limit sports betting on the casino grounds. If the allowed location is larger in scale, such as a state or country, the apparent accuracy of the location goes up. For example, in the xxx system, it is rated as 99.99% accurate in detecting the location within a given country, but 95% accurate in detecting a location within a given state. That can translate to tens of miles of inaccuracy, but as long as you’re not right next to the boarder the location is going to be accurate. The Nevada Gaming Commission considered 30meter accuracy sufficient for a property on the order of 400meters across, so a state sized location base of 400Km, a similar accuracy figure would relate as 30Km or 18 miles. In comparison, a location fix of a mile or two in accuracy would be sufficient for a state sized area.
Gaming applications, however, are not concerned solely with the accuracy of the fix. Because of gaming laws and the inherent risk whenever monetary transactions are involved, the location system must also be extremely savvy to potential tampering of the device and/or the geolocation data. As we have shown, the accuracy requirement for a state sized gaming area is low enough that almost any system or approach would be sufficient. Finding a vendor that understands the problems and requirements of the gaming industry, however, is quite another matter.
Gaming Industry Technology
The simplest analogy between standard computer systems and gaming industry location services is the Anti-virus system on your computer. The general PC market is big enough that there are literally hundreds of vendors, all attempting to find and defeat a veritable flood of viruses that come out every day. None of them are perfect, but they provide sufficient protection that the remaining exposure is acceptable.
Similarly, the key to gaming location is not in the location data itself, but in validation that the data is indeed representative of the true location of the device. This process of validation is very much like that of Anti-Virus protection, and the key to successful implementation is to provide this capability at the lowest possible price.
359’s approach to this relies on our decade of experience developing mobile applications and the 359 multi-phone/multi-OS platform. The technique has been proven in our current customer’s operations and approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
359’s methodology uses techniques and technologies very similar to Anti-Virus software. In general, the techniques can be generalized as first, determining whether the device has been rooted or jailbroken. The implementation of these tests varies from OS to OS. Like viruses, the techniques used to root a device leave fingerprints. Also like viruses, new techniques are being developed and the new fingerprints have to be detected and registered. 359 has over 10,000 registered solutions already in the database, which is a wealth of domain knowledge that would be difficult to match starting from scratch. Indeed, the domain knowledge in the 359 database and in the developers who detect and maintain the fingerprint data is probably their most valuable asset.
Once the fingerprint domain information, like the Anti-Virus data on your PC, is applied to the mobile device, it provides a white list/black list that can be used to validate or question the accuracy of the location data coming out of the mobile device OS. Just as not every piece of email arriving at your computer is infected with a virus, the vast majority of mobile devices uses for gaming are perfectly innocent and easily validated. With a rooted or jailbreak device, however, or with an application running in the phone in addition to the gaming application, the location data can be spoofed to make it appear to be in a legal location when it is not. 359’s location validation technology detects these fingerprints and uses them to invalidate the location data.