uWink (NASDAQ: UWKI.OB) finally completed their deal with InSite Development, a real estate company that rehabilitates and develops properties in the Southern California area, that placed 100 uWink touch screen terminals within InSite’s latest real estate development for seniors, Arbor Court, in Lancaster, CA.
This groundbreaking deal is the first of its kind. It pairs 100 of uWink’s touch screen terminals in a common area where seniors can play and interact with the terminals via group games such as bingo, or solo games that are designed to increase memory and stave off the ravages of the aging process.
Now that these terminals are fully installed, what does this mean for the retirees that live in Arbor Court? Can these types of games really help stave off age related dementia and loss of cognitive functions and memory? And what will this deal portend for future uWink software licensing deals?
New to the uWink story?
uWink is an entertainment and hospitality software development company that develops casual, interactive, social games, in addition to licensing the rights to those games and their proprietary touch-screen ordering and gaming interface to restaurants, entertainment venues and the hospitality industry.
uWink also owns and operates three restaurants under the uWink brand name that utilize this technology.
uWink’s CEO is Nolan Bushnell, who also founded Atari Inc. (OTC: ATAR.PK) and Chuck E. Cheese’s, now known as CEC Entertainment (NYSE: CEC).
Long Awaited Integration at Arbor Court Complete
Organized Recreation and Therapy (E-COURT) designed to stimulate the brain
uWink has teamed up with InSite on this revolutionary approach to social and active gaming that is designed to stave off the ravages of old age, including the early onset of Alzheimer’s, memory loss related to strokes and other mentally debilitating diseases, so that Arbor Court tenants can remain independent and active.
I’m sure when most people think about uWink’s terminals in their three restaurant locations, and the ones now being tested at the Chili’s Too Margarita Grill at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, senior housing/gaming is probably not at the top of their list in terms of potential applications of uWink’s software.
Nonetheless, this just goes to show the potential ubiquity of uWink’s terminals, software and gaming applications, and their usefulness to all industry types and demographic niches within the hospitality industry.
Dubbed “E-COURT” (Experimental Center for Organized Recreation and Therapy), the facility features 100+ touch screen terminals running uWink’s unique multi-player digital entertainment technology.
In fact, uWink cited a couple of studies that showed that these types of games and a group gaming atmosphere, enhances the community aspect of these senior communities, and therefore is more likely to get people involved on a continual basis. (Source: Motivational Effects on Memory: Chance of Winning, Group Structure and Gender, L. Ngaosuvan)
In fact, scientist have proven that certain computer games actually increase cognitive functions in seniors and have found that new brain cells and new pathways can be developed throughout life, regardless of your age. (Source: Journal of Neurology, Nov. 2006)
While other companies have created computer games for individuals, the uWink platform is the first to allow seniors to compete head-to-head playing a suite of senior-adapted digital games, including Bingo, uWink Scene Investigation (a riff on the popular CSI television series) and Picture Perfect (a “find the differences” game).
Game launching and scoring are fully automated through the uWink software allowing for easy game play at any time, and large wall projections, also powered by uWink technology, display the games as well as real-time leader-boards providing a fun and engaging environment for participants.
In addition, the uWink platform will also allow residents to play in excess of 80 individual games and interact with other digital entertainment on the touch screens.
InSite and uWink are currently collaborating on the development of a number of additional senior-specific single and multi-player games to be rolled out in the facility shortly.
So What Does This Mean for uWink’s Future?
The plan is to roll out similar offerings at other locations
uWink and InSite are also collaborating on the development of a low-cost, easy-to-install and operate, wireless 10-screen version of the E-COURT platform that they plan to offer to other senior housing facilities in the near future.
Deals like the one with InSite are different than the deal uWink recently signed with Delaware North to install food ordering and gaming functionality on their terminals in the Chili’s Too Margarita Grill restaurant.
The InSite deal provides revenue on a one-time basis for delivery of the software and installation with little to no ongoing recurring revenue.
The pilot project that uWink is working on for the 10-screen version will have some sort of recurring revenue model attached to it, but it will be far less than the revenue uWink will generate from their offerings to restaurants because of the nature of changing menus and other technology upgrades that these facilities require, that a retirement community that is just using the terminals for games, does not.
Originally, I had reported that the uWink terminals at Arbor Court would be installed in each tenant’s room.
That is not the case. Instead, these 100 terminals will all be placed in a “common” area, or gaming room where those living in Arbor Court can congregate and play group games on a regular basis.
uWink is however open to the idea, and still looking into, adding terminals to each tenant’s apartment designed to help them with ordering food, flagging down a maintenance request, or ordering perscriptions and having them be delivered, under one integrated terminal system.
Obviously, this is a ways out, if it ever happens at all, but this sort of proprietary technology would incurr a much higher recurring revenue than the current terminals that are essentially being only used for gaming.
Regardless, this deal is a step in the right direction for uWink, and will lead them into other businesses and uses for their technology.
InSite deal proves potential ubiquity of uWink concept
I’ve written extensively how uWink is not trying to be a restaurant company, but merely opened their three uWink locations as proving grounds for their technology and to test and perfect their business model.
This deal is just one more link in the chain towards fulfilling that promise, and coupled with their newly announced deal with Chili’s, uWink is starting to gain some serious traction in their business and with it show other potential businesses the power of their platform, and the potential reach and scope of these deals.
I know there are those of you who are skeptical and hesitant when it comes to a company like uWink.
That’s totally understandable in light of their depressed stocks price and lack of profits, but I again urge you to put some capital to work as young companies that are executing and in the beginning stages of their growth cycle are extremely hard to find.
How many chances do you get to put your faith in a company with the power to change the way people do business in the hospitality industry and leverage that technology to change the way people could potentially do business period?
I highly recommend that you take some time, learn more about uWink, what the company is all about, and decide for yourself.
Dismissing the company on account of small revenues and modest licensing deals would be a serious mistake if you are a patient investor with a long term horizon.
New to the uWink story?
- Start: with my initial buy recommendation and company overview here,
- OR: read about uWink’s latest deal to test their terminals at a Chili’s Too Margarita Grill, and possible expansion plans to other Chili’s restaurants here.
- Warning: uWink trades with very high bid/ask spreads. Learn how to protect yourself from getting screwed by the market makers.