|Industry||Research & Development|
|Founded||Stamford, Connecticut, U.S. (1994)|
|Founder(s)||Jay S. Walker|
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.|
Walker Digital is a privately held American research and development lab based in Stamford, Connecticut. It was founded in 1994 by Jay S. Walker, who also holds the position of chairman as of 2011. The company specializes in creating applications and business solutions that work with large-scale networks such as cell phones and the Internet. Walker Digital and its principals partner with Fortune 500 firms such as Time Warner and International Game Technology to bring its inventions to market. It also licenses other companies to do so.
Walker Digital LLC is the parent company of Walker Digital Management, Walker Digital Lottery, Walker Digital Gaming and Walker Digital Table Systems. In 2011 several Walker Digital executives purchased TEDMED, the annual conference on the future of health and medicine.
Inventions and Business Launches
In 2003 Walker Digital devised an Internet–based surveillance system called U.S. HomeGuard. The basic concept was to hire 1 million work-at-home employees who would log in over the Internet to provide constant surveillance of image feeds from some 47,000 security cameras. These webcams would be installed nationwide at security-sensitive sites including border crossings, water reservoirs, chemical plants, nuclear power generators, airports, etc. Observers would report any suspicious activity to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security within 30 seconds. Wired magazine called the idea "intriguing".
The Atlantic reported that Walker Digital invested several million dollars developing a prototype, offering the sell the system to the U.S. government for $1. Estimating that a test would cost $40 million, Walker said he was prepared to raise private funds for this purpose. On the recommendation of then-Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), Walker held numerous meetings with White House and DHS officials but the U.S. declined to go forward with the project.
Partnership with IGT
In 2006 Walker Digital entered into a strategic partnership with International Game Technology (IGT), the world’s largest manufacturer of casino games. He worked with IGT to develop innovative concepts and technologies for dozens of networked slot machines and other gaming devices, initially under a comprehensive license agreement.
The first result of the partnership was Guaranteed Play, a new method for casino game players to purchase game play. Customers receive a fixed number of slot machine spins or blackjack hands, known as a "session" of play, at a discounted price, by paying in advance. Guaranteed Play has enjoyed a limited but successful introduction at such casinos as the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 2010 Walker Digital sold approximately 100 patents to IGT, concluding the partnership.
Perfect Pay Baccarat
In 2009 Walker Digital subsidiary Walker Digital Gaming (now known as Walker Digital Table Systems ) introduced the Perfect Pay baccarat table and Smart Table Network, supporting Elite Baccarat. Industry business journals reported that Perfect Pay utilizes RFID technology to track baccarat wagers, hand outcomes, payouts and player ratings in real time while eliminating losses from dealer mis-pays, counterfeit chips and other problems.
Perfect Pay and Elite Baccarat both won Gold Awards from Casino Journal at the 2009 Gaming Technology Summit.
Patent lawsuits and disputes
The practice of acquiring patents merely to license them is controversial in the software industry. Companies that have this business model are pejoratively referred to as patent trolls. Walker Digital has been accused of acquiring patents for the purpose of filing lawsuits against alleged infringers and, accordingly, has been labeled by some as a "patent assertion entity" and by others as a patent troll.
In January 2001, the State of Connecticut Attorney General filed suit against Walker Digital. Faced with mounting financial losses, Jay Walker fired 106 of his 125 employees, violating Federal employment law requiring 60 days notice when laying off more than 33% of the workforce. On September 4, 2002, Walker Digital settles for $275,000 to be split amongst the laid off employees.
On April 11, 2011 Walker Digital filed 15 lawsuits against more than 100 defendants including Amazon, Google and Microsoft for unauthorized use of its intellectual properties.
- Walkerdigital.com About Us page
- Scanlon, Jesse (11/6/2003). "Fighting Terror with Webcams". Wired.
- Rauch, Jonathan (April 4, 2001). "How the Government Let Down Its Guard". The Atlantic.
- Ryan, Oliver (6/2/2006). "Live From the Mexican Border". money.cnn.com.
- "About IGT". igt.com. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "IGT Booth Represents ‘The Right Vision – Right Now and for the Future’ at 2007 Global Gaming Expo". igt.com. 2007-10-29.
- "Walker Digital Table Systems web site".
- Perfect Pay from Walker Digital Gaming, www.elitebacc.com
- "Perfect Timing: Walker Digital’s Perfect Pay Baccarat is a game changer for casinos without changing the game". Inside Asian Gaming. 8/11/2010.
- Green, Marian (5/1/2010). "Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products of 2009". Casino Journal.
- "List of Patent Cases Involving Walker Digital". Docket Alarm, Inc. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "United States District Court". 5/12/2011.
- "Civil Minutes - General". United States District Court. 1/3/2011.
- Mullin, Joe (2010-12-01). "Priceline Founder Jay Walker Now Files Patent Suits For A Living". Paid Content.
- Saba, Jennifer (4-12-2011). "Company behind Priceline sues Internet heavies". Reuters.