Running a Las Vegas resort and casino is like running a small city. As Vice President of IT at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Eric Saint-Marc is responsible for keeping traffic and maintenance of that city running as smoothly as possible. But his added responsibilities go further than any city council member of your typical city municipality.
The Palms property includes over 1,200 rooms and suites across three towers, a 95,000 square foot casino, a 2,500-seat concert theater, a recording studio, a Michelin-starred restaurant and more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space.
And at the core of the Palms operations is a Cisco network that essentially runs this “city” and the business.
When you consider all the elements of the Palms that Saint-Marc and his staff need to manage, it can seem like a tall order for a network to handle.
Not only does Saint-Marc use the network to employ a private cloud to manage critical systems, such as the Palms’ gaming systems and email, but also to manage the Palms’ point of sale system for all purchases on the property, which includes over 1,200 gaming machines throughout the resort and casino, totaling 5,000 devices in all.
“IT is a business enabler, allowing our business to grow while preparing for new technologies and guest services,” said Saint-Marc. “On a regular day, we can have 4,500 customers conducting 30,000 transactions in a constantly changing environment, so the network has to be flexible to accommodate these changes.”
Over the years, the role of the network at the Palms has gone through several phases, beginning with the ability to provide basic WiFi connectivity for guests in their rooms. However, the rise of smartphones and mobile apps has required the network to move beyond basic access to provide personalized, targeted content and promotions for guests during their stay.
So when the Palms recently underwent a multi-million dollar transformation of the entire property, they did so with the resort and casino guests in mind, looking for ways to engage with guests on the property that would enhance the overall experience.
Saint-Marc’s vision is to build “services of the future” that leverages mobile technology to personalize the guest experience that knows a consumer’s tendencies so they can provide benefits such as special comps, coupons and other deals as they move around the resort and casino.
And when they began plans for this network transformation to support these new demands, Eric and the Palms looked to Cisco. Presently, the Palms network is exclusively Cisco switching, with Nexus and UCS servers in the data center and Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) and access points throughout the property, in addition to voicemail and collaboration technologies.
At a press and analyst reception at the Palms during the Interop Las Vegas show, Saint-Marc unveiled his vision, which included the latest phase by including new Cisco IP phones for the entire property.
“The network is a platform for innovation,” said Saint-Marc. “Cisco has taken us forward by providing this innovation platform that provides presumptive outcomes when engaging with our guests. We want to provide a personalized experience for guests when they arrive on the property through notifications based on their preferences, and the network makes this happen.”