NCR is also addressing the need for ATMs for people with disabilities.

“For too long, we’ve been fixed on how an ATM looks or how it is used,” said Tim Wiggins, at the NCR Canada unveiling of a brilliantly red egg-shaped automated teller machine. The ATM had no screen, keyboard or card but instead responded to consumers entering their PIN on a mobile handset, then pointing the handset at the ATM to withdraw cash. But the sleek, rounded ATM on a pedestal is more than a departure from the traditional look and feel of an ATM.

“Why do ATMs have to look like a great big grey box,” asked Wiggins, the senior marketing manager for NCR’s Self-Service Strategic Solutions. “I see no reason why you couldn’t have one shaped like a Starbucks mug or a Texaco star,” he added, suggesting that companies may in future brand their own ATMs.

Bringing mobile technology and ATMs together to lower costs of delivering transaction capabilities to convenience-seeking customers is a cracking good idea, according to NCR Canada Ltd. The concept ATM displayed at the NCR Toronto head office in July used infrared to receive transaction and security details from a personal digital assistant (PDA) device, but Bluetooth can also be used. The ATM processes the transaction, dispenses the cash and forwards an electronic receipt to the mobile device. The user’s new account balance is automatically updated.

NCR named their concept ATM Freedom and claims it opens up the possibility of a range of services ATMs could deliver via wireless handheld devices. In addition to dispensing cash, the secure ATM channel could be used to dispense tickets, information, electronic books, music and so on.

NCR developed the software and interface between the mobile device and ATM, and also designed the ATM at NCR’s Advanced Concept Lab in Dundee, Scotland. Wiggins predicts that the wireless technology will be used at existing ATMs before we’ll see the likes of Freedom on the street.

The absence of screens and keyboards lowers the cost of maintaining ATMs, said NCR, as well as makes them more rugged for boisterous users at sporting arenas and other venues.

Royal Bank and NCR study disability options

NCR is also addressing the need for ATMs to accommodate people with disabilities. The company reports that:

— 1.4 billion banking consumers worldwide are illiterate;

— 380 million consumers worldwide are 65 years of age and over;

— 600 million consumers worldwide have vision, hearing, mobility, speech or cognitive impairment; and

— 15.5 per cent of Canadians report some form of disability.

This past June, NCR partnered with Royal Bank to conduct a focus group to assess so-called “@ccessible @tm” design for ATM users who are blind or have partial sight, deaf or have partial hearing, or are in wheelchairs or have limited ability to move around. Individuals with physical challenges were invited to the Toronto NCR head office to comment on a range of @ccessible @tm design features proposed by NCR.

Those features included a special multi-visual display to meet the needs of the blind, colour blind, those with tunnel vision, etc. Air outlets guided the visually impaired through their transactions. Large, over-sized buttons were designed to make it easier for those whose dexterity is low. An additional keyboard served wheelchair users. Text was converted to speech for audio receipts to the visually impaired.

NCR notes that the information gathered on user preferences will be incorporated into the design of future accessible ATMs.

Royal Bank beta tests new CRM software

By IT World Canada staff

Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation, has launched Teradata Value Analyzer 2.0 software, which runs on the Teradata data warehouse engine. The CRM software for financial institutions is described as precisely measuring the profitability of each retail and commercial banking customer. It provides fast answers to critical questions to guide the implementation of marketing and customer service initiatives, according to a Teradata news release.

“Providing our customers with the right products and services at the right time is a key contributor to our business success,” commented Kevin Purkiss in the news release. Purkiss is senior manager, Customer Analytics, Royal Bank of Canada. “Understanding and measuring client profitability becomes even more important as we design our marketing programs.”

The Value Analyzer behavioural-based approach starts with actual client transactions for every account, then establishes the measurement using revenue, expense, risk and capital provisions. When the calculation engine runs, it links costs and revenues to every transaction at the account,client, product and channel, across the organization. The resulting information can be used to support strategic decisions.

To boost speed, calculations are completed inside the Teradata data warehouse engine, rather than moving large amounts of data in and out of the data warehouse as it is processed. The single integrated database allows for a review of all data, not just a potentially misleading sample. From these complex calculations, a profitability report is created that can be used as the basis for differential pricing of banking products and services.

“Making the link between customer profitability and shareholder value is critical,” announced Michelle Houareau, Teradata marketing director. “Value Analyzer collects information that can be used to align marketing campaigns with customers’ life styles, empower the sales force with relevant product offers, predict client attrition or risk of loan default, encourage customers to use various channels to access services, and forecast client product purchases.”