IoT Making ATM Safe

By Pramoud Rao, Managing Director, Zicom Electronic Security Systems

Pramoud Rao, Managing Director, Zicom Electronic Security Systems

Headquartered in Mumbai, Zicom Electronic Security Systems is the leading provider of Electronic Security Surveillance in India. With years of expertise and experience, the entity has developed a range of premier products designed with the precision of quality and reliability. 

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were introduced to the Indian banking industry in the early 1990s initiated by foreign banks and few private banks towards overcome absence of strong branch network for reaching out to the customers at a lower number and transaction costs and offering hassle free services. Since then, innovations in ATM technology have come a long way and customer receptiveness has also increased manifold. Development of ATM networks is not only leveraged for lowering the transaction costs, but also as an effective marketing channel resource. Banks across India have started the process of setting up ATMs enabled with biometric technology to tap the potential of rural markets. ATMs are now seen to be more than mere cash dispensing machines. Customers use ATMs to recharge their mobile phone pre-paid connections, pay their utility bills, even mutual fund transactions. Catering to the rural population, these machines have enabled them to interact with the machine in their local language and on a graphical user interface. The rural customer has seemed to accept this new medium. This has the potential to further widen the scope of ATM usage in the interior parts of the country.

According to the latest data released by RBI, India has total ATMs have increased by 7.62 percent in the last year from 1,87,571 units in July 2015 to 2,01,861 units  in July 2016. India’s ATM operating landscape remains fairly complex with multiple parameters to be addressed namely Power Consumption, Housekeeping, sustainability of ATM functionality and Cash replenishment with complete end-to-end settlement cycles tracking. However, the most challenging amongst the above is setting up risk mitigation measures against ATM’s security issues. Crime related to theft of ATMs machines or money from them, from customers who withdrew cash from ATMs or are forced to do so are on rise. As per the July 2016 data released by RBI, total number of ATM transaction through debit and credit card in July 2016 increased by 14.81 percent to 752 million from 656 million in July 2015. Total amount transacted in July 2016 stood at Rs. 21, 94,573 million. Volume wise to the number of ATM deployed by both Private and Public banks across the country has increased by 8.54 percent, to 2, 00,157 ATMs in July 2016 from 1,84,405 ATMs in July 2015. The growth in deployment of ATM is led by private sector bank with approximately 10 percent ATM increase in Urban and Rural area.

With assets at stake, banks are compiled not only to invest in a robust ATM Surveillance Service Solution but also partner with an experience expert that can facilitate towards accommodating upcoming challenges either in current solution or has potential to upgrade the surveillance system anticipating threat level at regular intervals. The thread does not restrict to monetary loss but also gets extended to loss of customers or security guards life. Most private banks prefer to outsource their surveillance service to companies that offer managed E-Surveillance for ATM facilitating banks to focus on their core work.  A managed surveillance service provider monitors multiple sites from a single command center, delivering actionable reports for security & operational optimization.  A state-of-the-art ATM e-surveillance security system includes 24x7 remote monitoring of alarms, adequate networking capability, system upgradation checkup on daily basis, audit trails of alarms for cogent investigations and proper maintenance as per the SLA. In addition, an effective ATM surveillance service facilitate identify / alert concern authority about ATM machine been broken down or runs out of cash. This information helps banks take corrective actions on time to deliver a seamless service assuring safety for its employees and customers.

As the challenges towards maintaining ATMs spur up both security and cost aspect for banks with time, technology evolution accommodating existing concern is the only way out. Going forward, Internet of Things (IoT) can play a vital role towards automating and controlling ATMs remotely. IoT operated automation is executed by a package developed in-house, which is a sensor network bunched with software that alerts a central location about glitches related to card reader malfunctions, stuck receipts, low cash reserves and high degree of power wastage. The data streaming through sensors facilitates banks to cut costs across the board by saving power, curbing pilferage, managing incidents such as stuck debit cards, and even remotely controlling the ATM to shut it whenever the security alarm goes off. Few of the prominent usage of IoT in maintaining ATM located at distant location can be precisely termed as follows:

•    Power Savings: If the temperature inside the ATM room goes below the specified limit, then the AC can be switched off.
•    Enhance Customer Service: If the ATM reports of low cash reserves, an alert can be sent to the manager in charge to ensure that enough cash is placed in the ATM. This will largely improve customer service as it is frustrating for customers to walk away without cash from ATMs.
•    Negate Pilferage: Pressure sensor reporting in case of anyone breaking open the ATM is set up. An alert message can be sent to the nearest police station and the manager in charge, and the alarm can be switch on. The camera captures the video snippet / picture of the intruder, which can be sent to the concerned person for further scrutiny.
•    Effective Measures: Batteries can be serviced based on the reports from the battery sensor. This would help in keeping the ATM in operational condition 24/7. Information from the smoke detector automatically switches off the power supply and sends alerts to concerned person. 

With intense competition, ATMs are the most effective means for banks to expand its reach and it shall be matter of time when Cash deposit, Passbook statement and other basic banking work will be moved offsite from onsite location. Banks therefore would look forward to effective automation towards not only securing a remote ATMs and but sustaining intense competition.

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