The article posted below about NCR’s Talking ATMs in India first appeared in the Hindu Business Line. The Law Office of Lainey Feingold, and Linda Dardarian, first engaged with NCR in the mid-1990’s as the Talking ATM initiative was getting underway in the United States. This story about NCR’s Talking (and solar-powered!) ATMs demonstrates yet again that accessibility is an international issue. Accessible technology that starts in one country is bound to make its way around the world. The technology corporations are global, advocacy needs to be too. Blind advocates are not mentioned in the story below, but no doubt they played an important role in efforts to bring independent access to financial services to India.
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NCR Corp to set up 50 ‘talking’ ATMs in passport offices
Ahmedabad (September 7, 2012) – NCR Corporation India, which has a 47.5 per cent share in the country’s ATM business, will install 50 ‘talking’ automated teller machines in various passport offices.
The company recently set up India’s first talking ATM in Ahmedabad for the visually challenged as a Union Bank of India (UBI) initiative, Mr Jaivinder Gill, Managing Director, told Business Line. The bank has mandated NCR to set up 100 such “accessible ATMs”. Of these, 50 will be set up at the bank’s branches and the rest at passport offices.
From a meagre 35 ATMs in 1991, India had 1.04 lakh [104,000] ATMs in July 2012, according to National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI). The number is projected to increase to 2.05 lakh [205,000] by 2015-16. Public and private sector banks are testing out NCR’s various ATM solutions as pilot projects.
Apart from cash dispensing ATMs, NCR also offers specialised models to dispense customised information and non-cash items such as bill payments, tickets and coupon dispensers. “Our SelfServ ATMs help financial institutions to reduce operating costs, improve customer service and increase revenue generation opportunities,” said Mr Gill.
NCR’s SelfServ 32 is India’s first “noenvelope” multifunction intelligent deposit ATM with dedicated cash deposit and recycling functionality. In order to help banks deploy ATMs in remote areas, it also brought out NCR Smart Connections, a GSM-based wireless solution. The issue of power availability in the rural areas was addressed by NCR’s solar power ATMs which allow banking transactions through batteries charged by a solar panel.
Recently, NCR launched NCR SelfServ 22e, which has a smaller footprint, uses lowenergy LED lighting and fixed length receipts to minimise power consumption, carbon footprint and paper waste. NCR Corp also provides multilingual and biometricenabled solutions and customises solutions for each bank. The price of an ATM varies between Rs 3 lakh [appx $6,000.00 US] and Rs 4 lakh [appx $8,000.00 US].
Whilst the hardware of the ATMs remains the same, the software customisations depend on the specific needs. Banks do not need to change their entire fleet of ATMs for installation of new solutions, he added.
If you are interested in Talking ATMs, visit the Talking ATM Category for brief summaries of sixty posts on LFLegal.com about accessible ATMs.