From learning how to better optimize existing resources to exploring the newest capabilities available in 2024, the U-Learn Technical Training Week delivers unparalleled value to surveillance professionals across the North American Gaming Industry.
It’s 2024 and your casino’s surveillance operation seems to be running just fine. Sure, there’s always room for improvement but for the most part, your team is getting the job done, day in and day out.
So why should you care about U-Learn?
By nature, most people learn precisely the skills and expertise necessary to get “the job” done and nothing more. In many cases, this is sufficient but in such a high-stakes industry such as Casino Gaming, this complacent approach can open the door to disaster when system changes require an enhanced level of technical mastery.
Whether it’s involving single device outages, diverse environmental challenges or system-wide upgrades, there are countless reasons to seek out professional development opportunities for your casino’s surveillance team—and the U-Learn Technical Training Week is second to none.
With greater fluency in the technological systems in place, your team is better positioned to optimize its time spent on Gaming-related activities. Plus, it enhances employee satisfaction across the entire organization as decision makers gain the assurance that on-site personnel are capable of performing a wide range of troubleshooting and configuration tasks.
In fact, one of the most important skill sets that a technician can possess is the ability to adjust a camera to allow operators to better perform specific tasks such as investigating a roulette game, capturing a fast-moving vehicle’s license plate or overcoming new interior lighting changes that may impact visibility across the Gaming Floor.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “How am I ever going to convince anyone in the surveillance department to attend a four-day technical training event?”
The answer is simple: you don’t!
Most operators and IT professionals relish the idea of getting their hands on brand new, cutting-edge technologies and gaining a deeper understanding of how their system works, as a whole. It doesn’t hurt to mention that the U-Learn "course" is hosted at the Unity Surveillance headquarters in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which provides a unique opportunity to see where many of their system’s components are developed.
When is U-Learn and who is eligible to attend?
The U-Learn Technical Training Course is held once a year typically between November and January, depending on the availability of prospective attendees. All Gaming Enterprises (i.e. North/Native American Casinos, Casino Resorts, ect.) who have started to adopt the Unity Surveillance platform are eligible to send one or more members of their surveillance department to the training event.
Eligible attendees by job title:
Each year, the industry-exclusive program brings together forward-thinking professionals from across the North American Gaming Industry, and in recent years, it’s hosted clients from California, Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nevada and multiple Canadian provinces, including Alberta and Ontario.
What sets U-Learn apart from other training programs in the industry?
Unlike many other programs tailored to casino security and surveillance, such as the World Game Protection Conference, U-Learn is a hands-on training program that provides a comprehensive overview of the technical side of the operation with each attendee receiving the highest level of personalized attention throughout each session.
From uncovering the newest hardware and software features available in 2024 to reviewing critical topics such as network and hardware redundancy, the U-Learn Technical Training Course helps clients better understand what it is that sets their system—the Unity Surveillance system—apart from those in other industries.
Led by the President of Unity Surveillance, Jonathan Terauchi, in collaboration with other members of the leadership team at the company, the IT-centric “course” is purposefully limited to twelve attendees or less in order to maintain an intimate setting that allows each participant to ask questions, stay engaged and learn from others in the cohort.
More importantly, it provides a variety of hands-on troubleshooting demonstrations and configuration exercises that helps casinos reduce their reliance on traditional security integrators which have been known to charge astronomical diagnostic and service fees.
What are recent attendees saying about U-Learn?
Despite the course having a technical focus, many gaming professionals beyond those known as “technicians” have extracted unique value from the program.
One recent attendee of the January 2024 U-Learn course is Ron Kirk (Director of Surveillance at PURE Canadian Gaming) who, after working with Unity for over five years, characterized the program as both “eye-opening and amazing.” As a decision maker who doesn't have an extensive background in IT, Kirk considers himself better equipped to communicate with the company when troubleshooting with the assurance that they are all “speaking the same language.”
Additionally, he was able to reconsider how his existing hardware and budgetary resources were being utilized, after learning about the unique, cost-effective ways that Unity Surveillance allows its clients to test and deploy new, cutting-edge technologies — without paying industry-standard markups and fees.
To newer clients, the multi-day training course meant something else, entirely.
For example, Joseph Nemnom (Surveillance Technician) and Eric Ruttan (Surveillance Shift Manager) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Ottawa decided to attend the event, even though their migration to “the Unity system” (i.e. CORE™, StreamView™, Access Control, etc.) is still in its early stages. For Joseph, learning about the configuration tools was most beneficial, given that it will allow his team to accomplish IT-related tasks “faster, easier, and more efficiently so that we can use our time elsewhere.”
In an adjacent role, Eric found that U-Learn provided more than just an overview of technical topics, but an opportunity to connect with the leadership team at Unity. He personally appreciated “getting to see the people behind the equipment, not just the equipment itself.”
For any IT professional, “the equipment” is always front of mind, but with some devices within a system’s architecture being more critical than others, the comprehensive nature of the program allows participants to boost their exposure to a wide range of components and capabilities beyond those that they may frequently interact with or know much about.
Adam Bruechert, who serves as a Surveillance Technician at multiple Ho-Chunk Gaming locations in Wisconsin explains that “you can come here and learn it all from A to Z, if your company is utilizing all of the Unity system.” Similar to many other technicians in the field, Bruechert spends a majority of his time working with the cameras on site. For him, it was particularly useful to learn more about the different server types, including video storage servers, which tend to malfunction less frequently, yet maintain a vital role in any casino’s video surveillance system.
What if I already attended U-Learn before?
Each year, the President of Unity Surveillance recreates the program based on the unique group of attendees that will be present. While there is always something to learn when it comes to security and surveillance in the Gaming Industry, this is especially true for Unity’s clients, given the rate at which the company is continually refining its system to meet the needs of its users.
The program enables both system users and decision makers to ensure that they are getting the most from their platform, particularly with respect to the most up-to-date product alternatives available at the time.
Contrary to many other “sales-first” solutions providers, it isn’t uncommon for Unity to develop entirely new product offerings on a regular basis, sometimes within just a few months, which may not be “marketed” to its broader clientele base, immediately upon development.
Examples of 2024 topics discussed:
One example involves the new serverless license plate recognition camera developed by Unity Surveillance, which eliminates the need to purchase a dedicated server, making the functionality available at a much lower cost than ever before.
Another example involves the new Visitor Management module which was added to the CORE Software Suite in 2023 in a major software update. For clients enrolled in the CORE Foundation program, this new functionality became available at no additional cost, but for many clients, there is no SOP for reaching out about software updates which can result in a delayed adoption rate.
At the end of the day, one of the most important parts of the entire program is the one-on-one interactions that occur between the clients. As technology continues to evolve, so do the regulatory and individual challenges faced by Gaming Enterprises across North America.
By bringing together those tasked with navigating these challenges, U-Learn provides an invaluable opportunity for attendees to connect with others in similar positions and share their unique problems and solutions, which ultimately enhances the protection of their respective players and Gaming establishments.
When will U-Learn be offered again?
As of January 2024, Unity Surveillance is considering hosting a second in-person event sometime between the second and third quarter of 2024. As always, attendance will be limited. To learn more about the U-Learn Technical Training program and “reserve” one or more spots for your team, contact us at email@example.com or (866) 412-8134.