The crowd was a bit low-key and the mood a bit unsure, but by most accounts, the BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo this year in Orlando, Fla., was a success.
Some 1,700 attendees made it out for the event, along with 300 company exhibits — an obvious attendance and exhibiting decrease but one that many trade shows and conferences have been feeling for the last several months, especially in the banking market.
For BAI, the economy's blow may not have been so adverse. Known throughout the industry as the biggest ATM show of the year, Retail Delivery is one that companies like NCR Corp., Wincor Nixdorf AG and Diebold Inc. cannot afford to miss. For others, attendance might not be quite so mandatory. But if some of the companies who dabble in or focus on the ATM space chose not to make it out this time, it wasn't obvious from the show floor. Most of the usual suspects, from a hardware and software perspective, had a presence, albeit, perhaps smaller than it has been in the past.
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So the lag wasn't so draining as some suspected prior to the show. In fact, most of the exhibitors ATM Marketplace spoke with said their booths were packed on Wednesday, and that those who stopped by to chat were top-level decision makers — which is not typical at shows such as RD.
Mobile steals the spotlight
"Mobile banking will grow significantly over the next three to five years," said Eben Esterhuyse, senior product manager for Postilion Payments Software. "We see mobile as something that will explode, so we're watching it closely."
Esterhusye says, from Postilion's view, a mobile service has to be provided to a financial institution as part of a larger solution. A similar approach is being taken by others, namely those who come from a manufacturing background. NCR, Wincor Nixdorf and Diebold all displayed mobile solutions in their booths, though each had its own twist.
At NCR, mobile banking is falling under the company's larger corporate vision to bring all self-service channels together and brand them with the NCR self-service touch.
NCR's Brian Bailey says mobile banking, like e-services and other automated solutions that have come to the forefront since NCR's 2007 spinoff of Teradata, will be a big part of NCR's banking and retail solutions in the future.
"We're striving to understand the requirements for banking and what the banking customer wants and needs," Bailey said. "And our definition of self-service is changing to meet that changing need."
The Aptra Mobile Banking solution is hosted from NCR's service center and therefore does not require a downloadable application on the phone.
At Wincor Nixdorf, a mobile money-remittance solution was the focus — one that requires two codes or PINs (one that is automatically sent to the recipient via SMS and one that is given from the sender to the recipient) for transaction authentication. And because the transaction is initiated online, on a phone, etc., it is a multichannel solution, says Wincor Nixdorf's Michael Engel.
"It incorporates many channels, and it all runs on ProClassic/Enterprise, so it's an integrated solution," Engel said.
At the Diebold booth, mobile banking ran alongside rapid automated-deposit processing and teller-automation solutions. Through a partnership with ClairMail, which was announced at the show, Diebold is offering mobile banking as part of its servicing package.
The two-way mobile platform, which can be deployed on-premise or as a managed service overseen by Diebold, provides FI customers with the ability to access accounts, pay bills and conduct other electronic banking transactions all from their mobile phones.
"For Diebold, the mobile channel is an extension of the self-service channel," said Diebold's Keith Lewis. "The mobile device is a self-service device, and that's the way we're viewing it and offering it as part of our overall solution."
Getting back to the experience
For the first time in recent memory, exhibitors were keen to marry banking and retail offerings.
In its SelfServ Horizons room, NCR was quick to note and highlight the connection between the two industries with its Microsoft Surface display, which was demoed with applications for restaurants and FIs. When asked why bankers might be interested in a restaurant application, Mark Grossi, NCR's vice president of advanced development, said anywhere a payment transaction takes place, bankers are interested.
And that statement held true at more than one booth this time around. INETCO and Stratus Technologies, which announced their reseller partnership at the conference, expect retailers to gain as much value and insight from banking-oriented monitoring solutions — such as Insight — as FIs do.
Postilion takes a similar approach, in that all of its solutions, such as Active/Active for ATM driving, are Web-based and could bring the same transactional benefits to parallel industries, such as retail.
But what it really is all about is the customer experience — giving users the experience they want, regardless of whether that experience occurs at the retail checkout lane or at the FI branch, NCR's Bailey says.
"We're focusing a lot on the customer experience," he said "We want to get things right the first time, and that's something that our customers are interested in, too."