Artificial intelligence (AI) holds the potential to transform the betting and gaming industry, and will likely take a leading role in data processing and player segmentation in the years to come. Technamin Founder and CEO Suren Khachatryan claims his company will be at the forefront of AI developments and is ready right now to embrace the myriad opportunities it presents.
Speaking to SBC News ahead of ICE London, Khachatryan also questions whether AI and machine learning can ever replace the ‘human touch’ before giving his views on why innovative technologies are key to driving player engagement and retention.
SBC: Artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in the gaming industry. Is this the case at Technamin?
SK: The role of AI has become more pronounced over the years, not just in our industry but in every other sphere imaginable. And I think that’s natural. At Technamin, we certainly plan to integrate more of it into our products as we grow.
We are currently using AI to offer more customised experiences to players through segmentation, as well as to uphold responsible gaming standards and create safe environments. There’s so much we can do with these technologies when it comes to making igaming a more efficient industry. As a company, we are certainly advocates for artificial intelligence and machine learning.
SBC: Can we ever really replace the ‘human touch’?
SK: This is certainly one of the biggest debates surrounding AI and much like other similar debates, there is no definitive answer. I personally believe that regardless of all the advancements and developments in artificial intelligence, the human touch will never be fully replaced. Not in our lifetime at least.
It is certainly inevitable that AI will take over certain processes, decreasing the role of humans. After all, we can see a lot of manual jobs that are now being taken care of by machines. But to completely take over everything? I really doubt that.
Human beings are distinct because of our empathy and deep understanding of each others’ emotions, and the intelligence which binds us and is, at its very core, unique to humans. A machine has not yet been made that can replicate this aspect. And thus, it is very unlikely that human interaction will be replaced. That remains to be seen, however. And I think that all of us, while fully leveraging the advantages of AI, should be mindful of how it progresses and how we progress along with it.
SBC: Going forward, what role do you think AI will play in the igaming industry? How can we maximise its potential?
SK: I think that AI will facilitate a lot of processes across the board. In terms of casino, for example, machine learning technologies can analyse player behaviour and history to get a complete profile of each player’s preferences, thus assisting with player segmentation.
Once that segmentation is achieved, more customised experiences can be offered to the player, which will positively influence player retention and acquisition. It will also help assess risky behaviour and activate relevant responsible gaming functionalities.
Imagine having thousands of players whom you must assess. Doing that manually would require a lot of human resources and AI can take care of that quite easily. Another area in which these technologies can impact significantly is fraud detection.
Algorithms have a big role to play in this, and this will make igaming a safer industry in the coming years. It’s harder to cheat an intelligent machine, even though that machine is built by a human!
SBC: In your opinion, is the igaming industry stuck in a rut when it comes to innovation? Have we become accustomed to a certain way of doing things?
SK: I wouldn’t say that the industry is stuck in a rut, as we are seeing a lot of innovation from different companies. However, it is perhaps harder for businesses with established infrastructures to make the move to the online sector and adopt newer technologies. They already have a system in place which they know is a surefire solution to their needs and changing those systems to be more adaptive to technologies such as AI might not be as swift and simple.
Start-ups like Technamin, on the other hand, fully embrace these state-of-the-art solutions from the get-go, making them more flexible to advancements in AI, machine learning, and technology as a whole. I do think that as these technologies progress along with our industry, more and more businesses will welcome these changes and completely remodel themselves accordingly.
SBC: How important is innovative technologies when it comes to driving player engagement and retention? And what more do we need to do to be considered a truly innovative industry?
SK: It plays a key role, in my opinion. As mentioned above, our goal is to help brands engage as many players as possible. And as the number of those players rise, which is great, operators will be faced with a set of challenges that need to be addressed. Retention of long-time fans and engagement of new players are some of said challenges.
Technologies can help with player analysis, which businesses can use to offer more customised experiences to each player. This can range anywhere from offering players their favourite sports or teams on a leaderboard, to their preferable games, and even bonus campaigns.
For igaming to be considered a truly innovative industry, I think we’d need to offer more personalised experiences, in environments where the players feel safe and comfortable.
SBC: Looking at the sector as a whole, we have seen a considerable shift from retail to online. What do you think have been the key driving forces behind this?
SK: Well, the pandemic certainly played its part. Once the physical locations began to shut down, more land-based casinos realised that having an online presence would be inevitable. The lockdowns were certainly a driving force. Then again, I do believe that advancements in technology as a whole would have pushed everyone toward the online marketplace.
The pandemic accelerated the process without a doubt, but I think it would have occurred naturally nevertheless. More people are discovering gaming on handheld devices, more technologies such as VR are being built to replicate real-life scenarios and situations for people, and of course cryptocurrencies, NTFs, the metaverse and Web3 are all happening in the online sphere, which makes me think that the shift from retail to online would have taken place regardless of a global pandemic.
SBC: What new opportunities has this shift presented for Technamin?
SK: More player demographics shifting to the online sphere means that operators are in a rush to either cater to the rising demand, establish themselves online, and in some cases both. Technamin has the resources which can make that happen.
Because we began as a start-up during such turbulent times, we have a different mindset when it comes to adapting to these new challenges. We operate on a completely cloud-based set-up and our solutions work with microservice architecture design.
Our set-ups are also fully redundant and auto-scaling, and we keep all data in always-on databases. This means that we have virtually no issue with high loads and system upgrades, which we can carry out at lightning-fast speeds. For operators looking to launch their online websites, this is a big plus and gives us a unique advantage in the igaming industry.
SBC: Finally, what can we expect from Technamin in the coming months?
SK: We are always striving to become a better, more refined version of Technamin and that is a never-ending journey for us. At the moment, we are excited to showcase our products and services at ICE London 2022, where you can find us at stand S1-228.
Once we return from ICE, our growing team will continue working on even more efficient solutions by fusing their collective knowledge with the latest technologies on the market. Progress is non-stop, and there is always room for growth! Technamin is on a roll, and we can’t wait for the adventures that are ahead for our company, and the igaming industry in general.