The American Gaming Association recently reported Q1 2021 as its highest grossing quarter ever; a sign of hope the gaming industry desperately needed. Many companies are now looking toward the future, eager to leave the hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic behind. Incredible Technologies (IT) is eager to face 2021 with a strong and capable workforce of over 250 employees. As travel restrictions ease and the industry resumes its fast pace, we are confident in IT’s ability to serve the industry in its evolving state.
As we reflect on the year, here are three lessons we learned that remain as relevant as we now look ahead:
1. Prioritize Employees
On March 17, 2020 Incredible Technologies, like much of the world, shut its doors for an uncertain period. Without hesitation, our leadership team sent everyone home to work remotely, prioritizing health and safety. This was the first of many decisions made in 2020 that exemplified IT’s commitment to employee wellbeing. Since then, we’ve gradually and carefully re-opened areas of our office for essential employees to help keep our customers and players supported. We are proud to share that IT had no Covid-related layoffs or reduction in staff, a testament to our co-owners Elaine Hodgson and Richard Ditton. Our leadership takes the responsibility to employees and their families seriously, which is underscored by the sacrifices that were made to keep everyone employed.
With staff across the country, our HR and Legal teams have been diligent in ensuring employees follow local and federal health and safety guidelines. IT even organized a free on-site vaccination event for all employees and their families. And on May 17 our offices welcomed many employees back (some for the first time in over a year); a small but meaningful step in the return to normalcy.
2. Consistent Development
An immense effort was made to ensure employees could work efficiently and effectively from home in March 2020. In fact, without commutes and daily disruptions, many departments actually increased their productivity! Our development teams were asked to continue to making games from home, without access to the physical cabinets for which they design. Not only did they maintain their challenging workload while home, 2021 game development is on track to exceed 2019 production.
It was important for us to keep our foot on the gas pedal, as it related to software/hardware development, even when it seemed counter-intuitive. When casinos rightfully prioritized safety and cost-saving measures, some elements of the slot floor suffered. Games were turned off and moved to create more space between players, but theme conversions also were few and far between on many floors. Thanks to our Development teams’ work, we are eager to provide the newest and proven themes to operators. Welcoming players back with the latest games in a safe environment remains a priority for both operators and manufacturers.
3. Virtual Communication is Here to Stay
We’ve all got Zoom-fatigue, no doubt about it. But one thing we’ve learned from this year is the value of being able to virtually connect with our customers, and we’re thankful that many adapted to taking meetings virtually! We used to think that if we weren’t physically sitting in the same room, the meeting couldn’t happen. Especially in a year without tradeshows, meeting virtually allowed us to continue to share our vision, new products, and roadmaps with operators all across the country. We even created a new portal on our website called the Incredible Insider, designed specifically to share video updates throughout the year. With tradeshows now officially back on the calendar this year, we are absolutely ready to visit with the rest of the gaming industry in person! But, we also believe there is benefit to being able to have a virtual check-in (once in a while!), and we hope operators remain open to new digital communication tools moving forward.
Article was written by Caitlin Harte, Director of Product Marketing, Incredible Technologies