Calibre One Case Study

NT Keno

About NT Keno

Licensed and operated by Mindil Beach Casino Resort (formerly SKYCITY Darwin), NT Keno is a numbers game played in almost 70 venues across the Northern Territory. Mindil Beach Casino Resort, the operator of NT Keno, is one of Delaware North’s portfolio of unique gaming and resort properties. NT Keno is billed as the Territory’s biggest game with over $45 million won by players in 2018, and 2019 is positive for Territorians NT Keno players with one person winning over $2 million.

A game of NT Keno is played less than every three minutes for up to 20 hours a day, where 20 numbers from 1 to 80 are randomly drawn for each game. This makes reliable data connectivity essential for the ongoing operation of the game, with any network downtime leading to direct revenue loss. However, with its current network provider planning to discontinue broadband Internet services in the Northern Territory, NT Keno needed a new network and service provider to deliver connectivity to all its sites, including a number of regional and very remote locations.

NT Keno increases game reliability and reduces telco costs by switching to a cloud-managed network

Challenge

Based in Darwin and operating across ~70 sites in the Northern Territory, NT Keno was running its gaming business on an old network with limited ground support. Frequent outages, high costs and lack of visibility were features. NT Keno was faced with two key challenges: needing to find a new telecommunications service provider; and implementing and supporting a new network across a geographically dispersed set of sites, many in regional and remote parts of the Territory.

Solution

Calibre One’s project services and consulting to optimise NT Keno’s telecommunications services and costs.

Services Provided

  • A mix of Telstra & NBN fixed, wireless and mobile services
  • Cisco Meraki SD-WAN cloud-managed networking technologies
  • A three-year network support contract

Benefits

  • Reliable, visible and secure network to ensure ongoing gaming operations
  • Substantial savings per annum in telecommunications and networking costs
  • Flexibility to easily add, change or remove sites or services
  • Providing the network platform for further technology innovation and business growth
Calibre One deploys new cloud-managed network for NT Keno, delivering reliable, high-performance data services and significant annual cost savings

Calibre One’s Proposal

NT Keno was operating a traditional MPLS network with a mix of ADSL, NBN and satellite services with mobile failovers where available. The network was being delivered at a high, fixed price cost with little flexibility to add or reconfigure services. There was no direct local support from Darwin which often meant considerable delays before services could be restored to affected sites. Furthermore, NT Keno had very little visibility or control on network operational status and performance.

Calibre One proposed that a new wide area network could be deployed consistently and securely to all ~70 sites regardless of the type of internet connection available. The solution, based on Telstra Internet broadband services with 4G backup and Cisco Meraki networking technology, would be supported by a three-year Calibre One managed services contract to ensure ongoing operation of the network and quick identification and resolution of any issues.

“Hands on” Approach Key to Deployment Success

The overall deployment took approximately 12 months to complete, which was in part dependent on the scheduled availability of NBN services to sites, restricted opening hours at a number of venues and the remoteness of some locations. “To give you an idea of how challenging this deployment is, we operate in some very remote locations. For example, Heartbreak is a nine-hour drive from Darwin where for about three hours of the trip the only reception is via satellite phone and Alyangula on Groote Eyland and Nhulunbuy are both a two-hour flight away,” said Sivaram Mahalingam, IT Business Solutions Specialist, Mindil Beach Casino Resort. “Calibre One’s project management was instrumental in the success of the overall deployment. From the leadership team down, Calibre One was very hands on in helping resolve any issues during deployment and cutover. They not only had to work in challenging locations, there were also difficulties in finding local technical resources on the ground and a number of connection delays had to be escalated with the service provider.”

“We had really good advice from Calibre One on the most effective service and cost model in moving to Telstra.”

Sivaram Mahalingam
IT Business Solutions Specialist
Mindil Beach Casino Resort

“We have been impressed by Calibre One’s professionalism, knowledge and understanding of our business requirements. NT Keno reaches the most remote areas in the territory, and we feel confident both in the support Calibre One is providing and in the future technology directions we take.”

Sivaram Mahalingam
IT Business Solutions Specialist
Mindil Beach Casino Resort

Enhanced Performance, Significantly Reduced Cost

The new network environment gives NT Keno more stable and secure connectivity throughout the Territory. With a Cisco Meraki solution in place, NT Keno now has a consistent set of networking technologies across all ~70 sites, auto provisioning site-to-site VPN, and full cloudbased management and visibility on all devices and traffic on the network. Router configurations and firewall rules and policies are standardised and can be remotely configured, with these changes automatically propagated to all devices on the network. Any new sites or network devices can be deployed, autoconfigured and securely connected within minutes which would have taken weeks with the old infrastructure. Now, if a site experiences a connectivity issue, a simple reboot usually fixes the problem automatically. With NT Keno’s previous network, a connection issue at one of its sites would often take a couple of weeks to be resolved.

Cisco Meraki’s SD-WAN technology also optimises the available Internet connections, which has allowed NT Keno to implement consumer broadband services where appropriate, while still maintaining the level of performance and support required for the network.

The result is substantial savings on NT Keno’s annual telecommunications and networking costs while protecting NT Keno’s revenue stream with much more reliable connectivity. Calibre One had also negotiated technology funding from Telstra which has covered most of the hardware costs for the new network. “We had really good advice from Calibre One on the most effective service and cost model in moving to Telstra,” said Mahalingam.

Future Plans: Further Optimisation

With a great network platform in place, NT Keno is now looking to optimise and consolidate more of its ICT services, including voice and video. 

“We have been impressed by Calibre One’s professionalism, knowledge and understanding of our business requirements. NT Keno reaches the most remote areas in the Territory, and we feel confident both in the support Calibre One is providing and in the future technology directions we take,” said Natasha Harvey-Baron, Executive Manager, NT Keno.

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