t JCM's stand, the firm exhibited an advanced prototype of its new 'Project 8' concept. What can you tell us about it? Which are its main features?
We displayed a new bill validator concept for table games. It is a first of its kind product in the market featuring speeds of 8 bills per second, 200 note bulk note feeder, a visible escrow and high volume cashbox. This unit also features the highest level of counterfeit detection. While clearly a prototype, this unit met with significant customer interest at the show. We came a lot closer to hitting the mark than we anticipated and we have assimilated the feedback to tweak the unit.
What other products did the company showcase at recent G2E Asia edition?
JCM featured it's iVIZION bill validator as well which we believe is the industry standard. It features a sub 3 second note to note processing speed, CIS sensors, Intelligent Cashbox (ICB) amongst the host of technologies. This product has been deployed in the field and we are proud to say it is leading the way for JCM. Our sales team is having significant critical success with this product. We also showed our second generation Sentry, aptly named Sentry II. This unit features a 2 color display for displaying information dynamically.
Table games are very popular in Asia. Does this characteristic bring more oportunities for JCM?
Having our headquarters in Japan, Asia is very important for us not just from a proximity standpoint but also from a market development standpoint. Current data suggests this area has the highest growth potential. However, Asia is a very unique market and simply localizing products will not lead to the commercial success JCM is used to. JCM has pursued validators at the tables for many years. In all honesty, the results have met with limited success. However, the feedback gathered with immeasurable. Since I started spending a great deal of time in Asia, I decided that the best approach was not to evolve a product for table games, but to start with a clean sheet of paper and envision what the best solution was. Hence this current version. Table games as such are very different in their operational, technical and user requirements so we had to take those into account. The key for us in this prototype stage was collaborating with companies like Gaming Partners International (GPI) who have significant expertise in creating table games furniture and who understand the ergonomics of the table. We were proud to display their custom one off table along with our product designed especially for the validator. One thing I focused on in the development process was the player experience. Being a player myself, I decided to start with analyzing the cash process at the tables. Once I laid this out, the solution was obvious. However, it involved a lot of technology to realize this.
How did you see the show this year? Which is the final balance you can make about JCM's presence in G2E Asia this year?
The show was successful by all accounts. Having a dominant position in Macau with our bill validator business means we have a high standard to maintain, and we did just that. We had a lot of interest in our slot machine bill validators as well as table unit.
How do you see Macau's market? Which other countries in the region offer positive business options for the gaming industry?
There is no doubt Macau is growing. I am personally bullish on Macau and Asia as a whole. The amount wagered in Macau is staggering. We also see opportunities in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. along with the emergence of Cambodia, Vietnam and many other countries. To be successful here, we must not only hear what the casino operators are saying, but we must also put ourselves in the shoes of the player. After all, it is the player who decides where he or she will spend their money.
As a Japanese company with headquarters in Tokyo, how do you analize the Japanese gaming market? Do you consider there are real chnces for the opening of casinos in the near future?
In the short term (1-3 years) we do not see casinos opening in Japan. However, we are hopeful that Japan can avail of the benefits of casinos in the mid term.