International edition
September 22, 2020

Helen Hedgeland, Octavian International Head of Marketing, at G2E

"Octavian is well placed to work through the downturn"

(Exclusive Yogonet.com from US).- Helen Hedgeland, Octavian International Head of Marketing, talked about the whole range of products that the firm presented at recent G2E Las Vegas. She also commented about the performance of the company and the current international economic crisis, as well as the importance that G2E has for the firm.

W

hich products did Octavian decide to exhibit at the recent G2E Las Vegas show?

Octavian’s primary focus is very much systems, so we highlighted this core expertise by presenting our end-to-end gaming management systems: Octavian e2e GMS and our entry-level Octavian EasyStart system. It represents a breakthrough in cost-effective systems solutions for casino operators. As its name suggests, it offers a low-cost entry point to our world class, end-to-end gaming management systems.

What is different about Octavian EasyStart?

That it requires minimal or no investment in hardware to get started, and there’s no upfront investment needed by the operator in system software – they simply pay a competitive flat-rate monthly fee per table or slot machine.

In contrast to so-called ‘trial in a box’ casino systems, Octavian supports operators with full on-site consultancy and set-up. We help the operator get started quickly and gain an instant return on investment. Then, in line with the operator’s business needs, we help them drive further gains in efficiency and profitability through simple step-by-step deployment of additional system functionality from the full Octavian e2e GMS software set.

Easy step-by-step implementation and the ability to integrate slots accounting without the need for specialized slots hardware and cabling keep hardware costs to an absolute minimum. What’s more, hardware for an initial trial phase of the system can be provided free of charge by Octavian. The hardware remains the property of Octavian but may be purchased by the customer following the trial period. This is a really important point for many operators who want to see exactly how the system can work for their business before committing themselves to investment in any additional hardware.

What other products did you present in Las Vegas?

Alongside our Octavian EasyStart solution we also presented Octavian e2e GMS (End to End Gaming Management Systems). This is our fully automated casino systems solution with online linking of tables and slots. The system includes Octavian ACP, Octavian GateManager, Octavian CashManager and Octavian Business Intelligence Manager – all of which are proven systems based on technologies, expertise and experience built up over many years.

Deployed together they form a complete end-to-end casino management solution. System functionality covers all basic casino procedures – tables, slots, cash desk, registration, reception, security, loyalty, marketing and more – providing operators with maximum flexibility to efficiently manage gaming operations and assets.

We also took the opportunity in Las Vegas to highlight the activities of our OctaLotto division. As before, our solutions in the lottery world are centred on a core systems offering. This is supplemented by expertise in start-up consultancy, games development and equipment supply to form a total lottery solution for license holders that require such an approach.

For example, Octavian is currently playing a major role in the start-up and operation of Lotto Rwanda, working alongside partners such as Tilia Games (which has the exclusive license to operate a national lottery in Rwanda) and Rwandatel, the largest telecommunications provider in Rwanda. Octavian is providing the start-up know-how and systems for Tilia to operate the lottery. Octavian’s role is all-encompassing, as Tilia needed a total turnkey solution customized to specific legal, technological and cultural requirements.

What was the feedback received from visitors and clients on the products showcased?

Feedback from visitors to the Octavian was very positive. People specifically liked the Octavian EasyStart product that was offered as a 60-day free trial at the show. Several customers took advantage of this opportunity, which not only allows them to have the system installed, but also customized to their exact requirements by an on-site Octavian systems consultant. It’s the ideal way for operators to ‘try before they buy’, and with the important added benefit of personalized consultancy on-site.

How important is it for Octavian to be present at the G2E Las Vegas show?

It’s important for us to have a presence, as this show provides an ideal opportunity to catch up with customers from many different areas of the world. At the moment, IGE (formerly ICE) is the most significant event for us as we do not currently operate in the US. However, with our recent OTC listing in the US, G2E Las Vegas takes on added importance as we continue to raise awareness of Octavian with investors and with potential new customers and partners in the global gaming arena.

Getting close to the end of the year, how do you assess 2008?

In 2007, Octavian was affected by the closure of the Russian market. Despite expanding into new markets and introducing measures to minimize the impact of this closure, conditions in the Russian gaming market did affect Octavian, as they did many other companies involved in that market.

In 2008, however, we have seen the measures we put in place coming to fruition. We now have less dependence on a few geographic markets and strong growth across a broader spread of markets and products. This year has also seen significant time and money invested in our lottery systems offering – and we are benefiting from that already through projects such as Lotto Rwanda.

Similarly, in 2008 we have started to reap the rewards of our investment in the new Comma6A Italian AWP market. Following a fairly lengthy development and approval process, dictated by the regulatory body in Italy, the market has re-opened and our fully compliant Comma6A games are installed in most of the new cabinets and achieving market-leading coin-in results. So, to sum up, 2008 has been a year in which strategic decisions we have taken in the past few years have been proved to be correct.

How do you think current international economic crisis will affect the gaming industry in the next year?

At this moment it is difficult to gauge how long this economic downturn will last and what the impact will be. We have already seen a downturn in both Las Vegas and Macau, which has led to some developments being delayed. However, the way suppliers and manufacturers ‘behave’ during this period will inevitably affect the outcome.

It is likely that this period will see a lot of consolidation and may provide a significant opportunity for smaller players who are able to more easily adjust to the requirements of the market. We have already seen that some of the major players are reducing staff numbers as share prices plummet.

But, as stated, how the overall market is affected will depend to a great extent on how these companies ride the storm and how long they can continue to do so. Some companies will have to cut back on R&D, whilst others will take this opportunity to retain existing spending levels or even increase these if possible to come out with more innovative technology and applications to entertain the end players, which will win them significant market share and position them well for when the economy stabilizes and spend returns to previous levels. In our view, it will be survival of the fittest and most innovative.

Does Octavian plan any specific strategy to face the international crisis?

Octavian has recently raised us$ 13 million, which will of course help weather this storm. We have also made sensible and well-informed strategic changes over the last few years to ensure that Octavian is well placed for the future.

We have reduced our dependence on a few individual markets and continued to enter new emerging markets. In recent years we have also invested significant sums of time and money in developing our systems so that they are well suited and flexible to new markets and market areas. Our Octavian systems are end-to-end gaming systems that are not limited to land-based casino operations but can be used to manage a new generation of gaming operations across a wide range of devices and platforms.

We have also shifted our focus from one-time equipment sales to a business model based on participation and recurring revenues. At the same time, we have ensured that our teams continue to develop innovative solutions that meet the needs of our customers. We work extremely closely with our customers to deliver solutions that add value, efficiency and profit opportunity to their particular businesses. Overall, we believe that we are well placed to work through the downturn and come through it as a stronger and more successful company.

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