Looking back before the March 15, 2012 deadline, I can see there are so many things that ADA taught us — some things about ourselves, some about our companies and, intriguingly, much about the differences in ATM brands.
Below, I've described a few of the brands in general terms; I'm curious if you know who I'm talking about!
I wear grey and blue suits and have an affinity for control, but provide a great product
Because everyone was eager for information, upgrades and low-cost solutions for ADA compliance, a lack of openness really showed itself in those who were not part of the program.
This doesn't mean that this brand doesn't stand behind their products and customers, but in today's open technology era, the proprietary nature of hardware and software structure shone brightly. And if you were not savvy or well connected, you were not an option for your end-user customers (or at least, they couldn't be confident that you were!)
Take it easy; I'm light and different, but provide a great product
The thought of the DOJ looking down at you made it a little nerve racking for some who needed to be 100 percent sure that this brand was ADA compliant, could be ADA compliant and could stand the test of time to meet future regulatory needs.
Most of the techs I spoke with were very comfortable about what was needed … if anything (according to Craig Butcher of FSC, a Cucenillo & Associates Co., "voice guidance was a standard on all FI machines since the early 2000s"). Most were very open to share information and eager to help anyone that had questions. Although "different," this brand gave an excellent feeling of standing behind the product and the customer.
Don't use my name against me; I've got you covered and I'm bigger than you realize
There used to be a time when Ford and Chevy dominated the car industry, with all challengers putting out mostly junk. That's not the case today, which is a benefit to all of us, in my opinion. Options, variety and competition make things better and more interesting.
In the ATM world this is also the case, and ADA highlighted some strengths and weaknesses of brands on the cutting edge of technology. Although not a common name (despite being the subsidiary of a multi-billion-dollar company), I found more ATM sellers signing up for this brand than running away from it. This is not the sign of a loser.
Skip Bayless of ESPN would say I have the 'clutch' gene
No one knew everything, or was 100 percent prepared for the volume of machines and parts needed for ADA compliance. And nothing was handled perfectly for every customer. However, one manufacturer really stepped up with a few great new models, innovative marketing and much-improved openness in terms of sharing information with sales and service companies and technicians.
I would describe this as a big step forward under immense pressure, which is a sure sign of the clutch gene. I couldn't keep count of the number of VARs who regularly reviewed needs with me past 9pm. That's clutch!
So, can you name these major ATM brands?
I imagine that many readers had similar observations and experiences to those above while trying to deal with pressures and deadlines for ADA. I hope most were left with the same impression that I got from manufacturers, which was that they all tried, they all stand behind their product, they all are good choices and they all have clear strengths and weaknesses that customers have to consider before making decisions on ATMs!
Corey King works with American Bank Equipment "supporting companies that have boots on the ground." He has extensive experience working with and for ATM sales and service organizations and writes from a parts, machine, compliance and upgrade perspective.