As ATM network operators add more complex payments functions, technology providers such as Fiserv and NCR are tweaking the underlying technology to better monitor the machines remotely.

Fiserv, for example, has upgraded its Device Manager ATM management suite with a nod toward more granular tracking to perform updates and fixes.

"We're moving from more of a hardware monitoring environment to a software-based monitoring environment," says David Johnson, senior product manager for self service solutions at Fiserv. "We need to be able to ensure transactions are occurring and the ATMs are connected through the entire lifecycle of the transaction."

ATM management is becoming more difficult because banks require the machines to handle more tasks as part of multi-channel strategies that include mobile, phone and other points of contact. This requires ATMs to be updated to accommodate transactions that may begin in other channels. At Wells Fargo, for example, links to card accounts and personalized consumer information about card relationships are being included in its larger ATM upgrade—which includes ATMs build by NCR, Wincor and Diebold.

Fiserv's refresh includes simplified deployment and training for service desk representatives, incident tracking that notifies staff when expected resolution timeframes are not met, analytics to report performance with data-driven metrics such as device availability, and mobile performance dashboards. Fiserv's new ATM workflow is coupled with analytics that determine how upgrades and maintenance fit with a network operator's resources. "Problems and fixes can be routed to separate management teams that optimize how you handle and react to problems," Johnson says.

NCR's Aptra Vision has been enhanced to monitor and analyze performance of Windows 7 ATMs. Given the importance of payments to emerging ATM strategy, glitches carry greater risks.

"Where the bottlenecks occur are with transaction processing. If you can determine the volume that's occurring at a certain ATM ... you can have a more comprehensive view of what's going on, and you can better maximize the cash resources for the network," says Robert Tramontano, head of financial marketing for NCR.

NCR' s monitoring program, APTRA Vision, is designed to accommodate status codes and messages from existing and future ATM technology through configuration changes, rather than requiring new features to be added, says Tramontano. "We have been able to add support for teller cash recyclers and will also be able to support new and evolving assisted self-service systems currently being introduced for branch locations," he says.

Since some versions of Windows 7 allow for hard disk encryption—the software and inventory tracking elements of APTRA Vision need to be configured to accommodate that, Tramontano says, noting those updates would not require a substantive change to the product itself. "[The program's] inventory management capability can help in auditing an ATM network to assess readiness for Windows 7 deployment," he says.

NCR and Fiserv did not provide users of the technology for interviews by deadline. NCR recently signed a deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi to provide end to end transaction monitoring in partnership with Inetco systems.

Rival ATM maker Diebold did not make an executive available for an interview. Its technology includes OpteView Resolve, which provides a dashboard view of the performance of each terminal in an ATM network. It monitors, records and stores data, and generates reports providing measurement for all tasks, allowing online management of problems and processes—as well as analysis tools for process improvement. The dashboards provide access to trouble ticket summaries, ATM availability reports and transaction data such as self-service volume, capacity, demand and behavioral analysis. 

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