Bright future for ATMs

Bright future for ATMs

NCR is taking steps to make the most of the summer sun by demonstrating how an ATM could run on current from batteries powered by a solar panel.

As temperatures continue to soar across Europe, research carried out by NCR and Dundee University shows how ATMs could soak up the sun to provide cash to beach-loving pleasure seekers as well as to users in more remote corners of the globe.

NCR says that machines based on solar power could be utilised in conjunction with mobile communication technology (such as GSM or GPRS) in areas where there are power supply problems or where there are no land-line communications and dial-up infrastructure in place.

Mark Grossi, chief technology officer for NCR's financial solutions division, says: "I can think of a number of situations where such technology could be used. It could even be the answer to cash at the beach for more remote resorts with high levels of seasonal usage."

Solar panels are easy to set up and would enable an ATM to operate for long periods without battery changes, he says.

"The system can work anywhere where there's daylight. Using just two batteries, one will run the ATM while the other is being recharged using solar power," says Grossi.

The amount of sunlight required will depend on usage.

Says Grossi: "In sunny parts of the world, however, even with high usage, continuous operation is possible."

Testing took place in Dundee in March to determine the levels of light required to operate a wireless ATM in less sunny locales. Even here, the tests showed that generating solar power was possible, though a bigger panel would be needed to get the same performance as in the more sunny regions of the world.

The solar power trials are an extension of research carried out using NCR's Handy Amounts in Remote Places (HARP) battery-operated wireless concept ATM. Designed originally as an event ATM, Harp could be installed for use at a football match or on a boat, says the vendor.

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