Tech Briefs: White Paper Sees Limits On ATMs

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Financial institutions will be able to far better leverage their ATM networks by moving to a distributed ATM software architecture, according to a white paper published by Level Four here, a provider of open-standards-based ATM testing and development software.

Distributed ATM architecture software is inexpensive and allows institutions to exploit untapped marketing opportunities, the white paper suggests.

The company said that the business and technology model behind the ATM network has remained virtually unchanged for the last 25 years, explaining the lack of functionality that is available in today's ATM networks. "Today's ATM systems are universally architected using a simplistic 'two box' model in which the ATM operates either as a dumb terminal connected to an intelligent host banking application, or as an intelligent client machine connected to a slave host server," the paper states. "Either way, inherent design inflexibilities in the implementation of these 'two box' architectural approaches have come to define the manner in which the ATM and bank communicate."

According to Nigel Walsh, executive chairman at Level Four, "The current two box architectures mean that each unit has to be updated individually and in synchronization to change the service. This makes any customization of the ATM, be it aesthetically as regards the display, or more fundamentally the services it provides, an extremely complex, time consuming and expensive proposition. But as banks focus on extracting revenue from untapped resources, the humble ATM is about to enter a new era of fundamental change."

Level Four's white paper explores how recently introduced open standards are encouraging increased competitiveness in the ATM marketplace as banks seek alternative suppliers for their ATM software. For info: www.levelfour.com. (c) 2005 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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