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ATMIA US Conference - Day 2

16 February 2017

ATMIA US Conference - Day 2

James Eaglen,
Product Manager - CTS,

ATMIA kicked off in earnest today with a packed conference hall and 20 sessions including a 50th Anniversary Panel and a keynote address that focused on how business should be “Doing the Little Things” better.

First up, a quick pit stop at the breakfast reception for a cup of coffee and some pastries – an essential start to the day. After a few warm introductions and presentations, the 50th Anniversary Panel looked at the history of the market and what we can learn from it today. Panellists included the former CEO of card network SHAZAM, the former Vice Chairman of ATM manufacturer Diebold, EVP of Co-Op Financial Services and a former SVP of Bank of America.

The discussion touched on a range of topics, but the theme remained the same – in the past the best decisions were made by listening to customers and asking “does our new product or service actually help the customer?”. If it doesn’t, it will not add value, so why then are we doing it?

Following the panel, we had the keynote address from the former NFL Player and Coach, Herman Edwards. This was less about the ATM industry but more about how any business can execute its vision. Irrespective of the industry or who is speaking, it is always good to hear a new perspective on how we can all do the little things better in order to reach our goals.

A number of the afternoon sessions ran concurrently so, as always, choosing which sessions to attend was one of the harder choices of the day. One topic did peak my interest so I attended the session on how cash can still be relevant in a “Cashless Society”. Chris Chandler from independent ATM deployer, Access Cash, talked about how our industry, and all cash supported industries,  can work together to highlight the usefulness of cash in today’s society – Chris made it clear that in developed markets cash usage is still growing and is still the most powerful form of currency in the world.

On a similar vein, my next port of call was a talk from Cardtronics’ Chief Marketing Officer on the role cash still has to play in our lives. This took a completely different tack to Chris Chandler’s session, as it focused on the customer and took into account two recent customer studies. What struck me from this is that customers don’t think about cash vs card, they just use whatever they feel comfortable with at the specific time.

From both of these talks it is clear that the data is there but the challenge is getting the message out and improving  consumer awareness so that the message of “cash is dead” doesn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Lunch and a walk around the exhibition hall beckoned. Following lunch, the sessions started to focus on technology and innovation. First up, a fresh perspective from China with a review of the Chinese ATM market from ATM hardware manufacturer GRG. The data from GRG showed that irrespective of where you are based, everyone is facing the same critical challenges with changing customer consumption habits. E-payments and m-payments are increasing and becoming integrated into daily life but GRG are trying to fight back with things like biometric cardless cash withdrawals.

One of the most interesting discussions of the day came next with Petr Kulik from Citibank talking about Next Gen ATM networks. The idea that we can build the network on cloud-based technology and use new mobile interfaces and apps could completely change the nature of ATM operations. What is clear from Peter Kulik is that from IADs to banks to ATM processers, we could be seeing a new era of transactions, and companies need to start investing now if they wish to stay ahead of the curve.

My final stop of the day took a higher level look at the payments industry. Sam Ditzion, CEO from the Tremont Capital Group, discussed the shift from paper payments to electronic payments and what the industry can expect next. Sam highlighted that change can be slow and predications by “experts” are often wrong. For instance, while the immediate thought is that new technologies are  encouraging the use of electronic payments instead of cash payments, they are in fact mostly creating additional electronic transactions rather than taking away from the existing cash based ones. The example used in the real world was Uber who increased the number of journeys customers take and therefore new transactions are being generated. These new transactions have not had an impact on cash usage.

From an ATM perspective this means that the volume of withdrawals should be maintained even when new payment technologies are introduced.

Now it is time for the evening drinks reception, so I will sign off but look out for an update tomorrow on what happens on Day 3.

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