IoT Unlocks the Hidden Value of ATM for Smart City


In the current climate, businesses, products, and services must become digitalized to survive. This is no different for the banking industry.

In 2017, there were more than 1,000 bank branch closures across the U.K., partly due to the lack of innovation happening in store and a lack of demand from customers. Additionally, there is a possibility that up to 30,000 cashpoints are expected to disappear from our high streets due to Link’s plans to reduce its interchange rates and the current reduced profitability of ATMs.

The banking industry needs to find ways to innovate the services it provides and ensure that it does not lose customers to dedicated online banking applications. This requires a completely new way of thinking about cashpoints, branch offices, and the services it offers.

Banks are no longer looking at ATMs as single-function machines, but as one component of the smart city revolution and a one-stop shop for a multitude of banking and other services.

Some pioneering financial institutions are beginning to recognize that changes in the digital landscape create new possibilities for ATMs and the role they can play in society. They are looking at how IoT can increase the productivity and services of cashpoints to become much more than just a cash dispenser that performs only basic financial transactions.

One example of this is NCR’s bank in a box which claims to be able to perform up to 80 percent of the tasks that a bank branch can perform. As well as depositing cash and checks, these machines can also issue new cards and enable 24/7 customer service, providing a connected alternative to the traditional model. Working together with mobile apps, the bank in a box can also set up transactions and requests in advance to speed up the customer experience.

There are also plans for iPhone ATMs with touchscreens and facial recognition abilities that turn the outdated machine into something resembling a tablet or smartphone. By taking a selfie at the ATM, you are verified by your bank and given access to the account. Not a debit or credit card will be in sight as the ATMs will use AI and other emerging technology to increase ease of use and meet the needs of the tech-minded consumer.

By connecting ATMs to the internet, there are a number of services which can be provided that both maximize uptime, broaden service offerings, and increase profitability. For example, in the future consumers will be able to do anything from paying their bills to booking holidays and concert tickets, directly via the cashpoint.

While these innovations are set to revolutionize the way cashpoints are used, it is critical to put processes in place that ensure the viability of the technology.

A number of financial institutions are currently using remote access technology to enable engineers to access an ATM from a centralized control center. This can dramatically reduce the need for expensive call-outs and lengthy downtime when fixing technical problems.

The same technology can be used to implement mass system updates that reduce the downtime of ATMs while also ensuring ATMs can be kept up-to-date with the latest technology and meet evolving consumer needs. With engineers able to remotely log in and update multiple ATMs concurrently, new features can be rolled out much more cost efficiently.

But the rise of digitalized ATMs brings news risks. The machines are more at risk of data breaches, jackpotting being a prime example of how ATMs can be attacked. The ability to regularly and easily update ATMs through remote access software safeguards the machines against the threat of data breaches.

By being connected, ATMs also have the ability to become a customer service application. Interactive services such as call or video systems can be incorporated to allow service agents to assist customers at a remote ATM. Banks can engage step-by-step with the customer to guide them through transactions or queries through video, audio, and on-screen annotations. This helps banks both retain the older customer demographic that values human interaction while also playing into the need to revolutionize the way complex, high value, services can be successfully delivered to the customer.

By embracing this next generation digital wave, financial institutions can not only ensure they remain relevant, but can actually play an expanded role in the new digital city landscape.

About the author: Matt Grant is business development director at RealVNC.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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