How 125 ATM industry players plan to make Windows 10 your last Microsoft upgrade
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"I'm just tired of being at the mercy of Microsoft and not being able to have those next functions and transactions I would want on our ATMs."
This must have been a familiar feeling for every ATM operator in the room attending the Wednesday roundtable discussion at this year's ATMIA conference.
The speaker was William Arnold, vice president of ATM operations at Iberiabank. His words drew nods from fellow panelists participating in a discussion of the ATMIA Consortium for Next-gen ATM Networks.
After migrating their ATM fleets from Windows XP to Windows 7 in 2014, deployers are now facing the chore of upgrading again — this time to Windows 10 IoT — by January 2020.
Windows 10 boasts improved security and increased functionality — both great for the ATM industry. No one is questioning that it's a good product.
But neither is anyone excited about the prospect of living through another round of road mapping, scheduling, assessing, upgrading, testing, tweaking, retesting and customer hand-holding involved in the introduction of a new operating system. And then there's the cost.
There's also the alternative — lying awake at night wondering when your unsupported ATM fleet is going to experience a devastating logical attack on its outdated OS — which isn't wonderful, either.
A blueprint for change
Arnold's choice of the word "tired" is appropriate. The six-year cycle of Microsoft upgrades (OS 10 support will end in 2026) is as draining for ATM operators as a recurring case of the flu.
Enter the ATMIA Consortium for Next-gen ATM Networks, a collection of more than 125 influential industry organizations — including financial institutions, IADs and ISOs, payment card networks, ATM manufacturers, service and support providers, software developers and others — united around a single belief: There has to be a better way.
Even head-to-head competitors (Diebold Nixdorf Inc., Hitachi-Omron Terminal Solutions Corp., Nautilus Hyosung America Inc. and NCR Corp. are all members), have joined the project, recognizing the mutual benefits of working together in this case.
Consortium members believe that by pooling their expertise to create a shared, future-proof operating standard they can not only provide security, consistency and reliability across the industry, but also create room for customization and differentiation within it.
Also, they realize it's the only way off the Microsoft merry-go-round.
And, they say, it's the best way to ensure the continued relevance of the ATM.
"Part of the problem is that the standards … and the ATM protocols we have today are decades old — decades old — and they're holding back innovation and functionality for the ATM channel," said Joe Militello, vice president of engineering at Nautilus Hyosung. "The reason we got involved was to try to transition to a more modern platform."
The way forward
The consortium's Standards and Technical Committee describes the task this way:
To facilitate the evolution of a standard for global interoperability of the next generation ATM ecosystem, as outlined in ATMIA’s blueprint for an API App model for ATMs, in order to ensure the ATM can fully participate in the digital banking transformation, without restricting innovation or competitive differentiation, and without placing undue financial burdens on adherents of the standard, while addressing technical issues or obstacles through research, analysis and consensus.
The standard becomes the root system — a platform that manufacturers, software developers, service providers and deployers themselves can build on, creating "apps" that enable just about any type of transaction.
As the future of financial services and banking continues to evolve, apps will be able to, also. And deployers will be implement them new apps without having to migrate to a new platform. In short, as Militello put it, a solution to the endless cycle of costly upgrades.
As of early February, consortium members had signed off on a formal architectural diagram for an API App model for ATMs.
The next step will be to identify points where standards will need to be set to ensure interoperability across the global ATM industry.
It's a daunting task but, as Diebold Nixdorf Chief Technical Officer Ashvin Mathew pointed out, an essential one for the ATM industry to take on.
"Because innovation isn't stopping. The question Is, if we don't innovate, what happens?," he said. "Because there is always going to be someone, the barbarian at the gate, waiting to storm the citadel and innovate if we don't innovate. So, in some ways it's self-serving for all of us."
The roundtable discussion at ATMIA US 2018 was moderated by Peter Kulik, Global ATM, Citibank N.A. Panelists included William Arnold, Vice President of ATM Operations, IberiaBank Corp.; Aravinda Korala, CEO, KAL ATM Software; Michael Gillpatrick, Vice President of ATM Product, MasterCard Inc.; Ashvin Mathew, Chief Technical Officer, Diebold Nixdorf Inc.; Joe Militello, Vice President of Engineering, Nautilus Hyosung Inc.; and Brenda Pino, Vice President of Physical Channels Operations, BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally. She is now the editor of ATMmarketplace.com and WorldofMoney.comwww