Friday, January 26, 2018

Las Vegas once again and yes, it is the annual ATMIA event – will you be watching what happens?

The installation of a RING doorbell made it a lot easier to see who’s at the door. When it comes to detecting movement across an industry, wouldn’t it be nice to have a RING for NonStop!

As we slowly put the holiday season behind us, with all the gifts unwrapped  as is so often the case at times like this, one gift stood out for us more than any other. Maybe it was the surprise the gift generated or simply the relevance of it – either way, we ended up being very thankful for the gift. This time, it turned out to be the gift from our daughter – a RING digital doorbell. On her visit to our new home she was surprised to see our door did not have a glass panel or even a peep hole so there was no way we could tell who was at the door. We have now had the RING installed and we loaded the app to both of our smartphones and we simply don’t know how we lived without the RING!

Like many of you, we suspect, we overdid it this year with our online shopping. It was just so easy to do and for us, the timing was such that for all sakes and purposes, it was simply an extension of what we had been doing for the past couple of months buying furniture and furnishings for our new home. Whether it was a new rug for the living room, a box full of vital supplies to be loaded to our pantry or even a set of tires, they all arrived on our doorstep and in many ways, online shopping became our new addiction. It was just so easy to shop from our kitchen and the inventory we perused appeared infinite to us. As for the RING device, no matter where we are, we can see who was at the door and, more importantly, what special delivery awaits us on the other side of the door. 

In a matter of just a few days we will be heading back down to Las Vegas. At this time of year, we will not be taking the company command center as the weather across the Rockies isn’t something you want to tackle in an RV. Even as we still harbor memories from the last time we drove the RV to Las Vegas and lived through a monumental mechanical melt-down that left the RV crippled for more than a month, this time we are hoping for a much better outcome. The reason for our return to Las Vegas is the upcoming ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) US Conference. This will the fifth time in six years that I have made it to the event that has taken us as far afield as Orlando and New Orleans. However, when the topic is ATMs and cash, there is not a place more appropriate for talking about these topics than Las Vegas where cash has always been king! 

Just recently Margo and I were at a venue where our room door key was all we needed to take into the Casino. Just insert the card key into the slot machine, select an amount, and yes, bingo! You were up and running. As the venue had already tied the key to a credit card, as is the case at most venues these days, completing the transaction was all too easy to do. No cash, no wallet, no problem! Your door key will be the only key you need! Cruise ships too have embraced this model t make it a lot easier to spend cash. I am not expecting to have the same option at the hotel we have selected for this conference as it doesn’t have a Casino, but I can see a time coming when all impediments to spending cash in Vegas will be completely eliminated. This feature however may be lost on those attending the conference, but no matter, cash will continue to dominate the agenda and for a very good reason. For many Americans no matter their social standing or where they reside, cash is king!

For the NonStop community it isn’t cash that is king but rather, transactions! No matter the preferred interface, whether it’s being seated in front of a laptop, walking and talking via a smartphone or standing across a counter from a real person, there is no end to the way we carry out transactions and behind all of these transactions, there is almost always going to be a NonStop system. What are the facts these days when it comes to transactions? If you access an ATM then some 70+ percent of all ATM transactions go through at least one NonStop system. If you are standing at a POS then the percentage only drops slightly, to about 60+ percent. Texting on a mobile phone – when it comes to North America, once again, your transaction will hit at least one NonStop system on its way to completion. These are not insignificant data points - remember, too, these NonStop systems have been part of hybrid IT deployments long before cloud computing arrived!

Some readers may see this as a stretch, but from the time we decided to deploy intelligent front-end computers in our data centers we stepped up to running a heterogeneous, hybrid, IT infrastructure. Whether there were IBM, Burroughs or Univac mainframes behind these NonStop systems ATM and POS networks were more readily terminated at a NonStop than any other processor and for good reason. Fault tolerance was just then becoming appreciated, and there was little argument to be made against having a system running 24 x 7 in support of your user access points open 24 x 7. However, so much has changed since that time and yet, there are the NonStop systems still terminating the ATM and POS networks.

The upcoming ATMIA US Conference will see several members of the NonStop vendor community displaying their wares. A quick glance at the exhibition guide tells me that I can expect to see ESQ and Paragon as well as familiar names like Visa and MasterCard together with Pulse and First Data. And yet, among the latest ATM offerings being displayed and the discussions on network security and monitoring, you will hear very little spoken about NonStop even as we all know – it’s NonStop that the majority of financial institutions depend upon. Unless you have a RING app on your smartphone, how can you be expected to see what’s on the other side of almost everything being showcased? After so many years of boosting the significance of commodity solutions, there still are so many transactions passing through NonStop that the absence of any reference to NonStop is rather stunning!

The RING device not only gives us a visual update as to who may be at the door but it also notifies us whenever it detects movement. RING device alerts us when someone is walking up to the door and with as many of us as there were this year worried about the number of “porch pirates” helping themselves to our freshly delivered packages, this has proved to be a god-send. And so it is with the ATMIA US Conference as I look for movement behind the scenes. NonStop today has come a long way since it first entered the scene and even as it has grown in capability in lockstep with the growth in transaction volume and richness, you really do need something special to detect any movement in the market awareness of NonStop.

Hopefully, though, as more and more members of the NonStop community participate in events like this upcoming ATMIA US Conference, we will see an increase in the number of conversations, presentations, forums, etc. where NonStop is featured. As we continue to become even more comfortable shopping online and even more dependent on the infrastructure in support of our transactions, the fault tolerance provided by NonStop systems and the solutions they support will be drawn closer to the spotlight. We may not know of every topic that will be covered and even as we know that there isn’t the equivalent of a RING to alert us whenever something special is delivered, when it comes to the tightly knit ATM community, I have to believe that as cash continues to be king, NonStop will continue to be there, behind the scenes, making sure we can always get our hands on the cash. Whenever that need arises, of course! Ka-ching!

2 comments:

Sajan Jose said...

Richard,

NonStop is like Oxygen for the financial community(banks, stock exchanges, etc.).
You cannot feel it or see it.
No one acknowledges the importance of it, but very well know that nothing survives without it.

Regards,
Sajan Jose(RTV Fan/Avid Reader)

Richard Buckle said...

Great observation - love it! Thanks, R