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Monday, September 3, 2012

‘50 Best Business Ideas that Changed the World’ - Ed: Ian Wallis

ATM

"From the 1980s on, ATMs and their manufacture became big business, and the industry is currently dominated by American companies, from IBM to NCR. The ATM market is global and continues to grow across various regions, from Asia/Pacific to Europe and Latin America. But it is the impact of the ATM, rather than the machine itself, that is the big idea business-wise.'

"ATMs were the first big step towards large-scale automation in the services industry. The success of the cash machines signalled to businesses everywhere just how much more efficient it was to have customers serve themselves. With the introduction of ATMs, the requirement for bank tellers to work business hours was suddenly eliminated, and the way was cleared for other services to follow suit. Nowadays, one can pay bills, take out small loans and transfer credit, all at a street-level ATM kiosk.'

"A recent trial in the UK has even found BT converting disused telephone booths into cash machines. And the idea of using one technology to house another is increasingly being mirrored by the ATM itself. The cashpoint has moved on from being a simple paper money dispenser to becoming a truly multi-faceted machine, with a broad range of functions. These days, partnerships are being forged between financial institutions and mobile phone operators, lottery providers and postal companies. On a visit to the cashpoint, customers can use ATMs to purchase mobile phone credit, to donate to charities and even to buy train and lottery tickets. One cash machine in London even dispenses gold bullion. The ATM is increasingly being used by advertisers as well, displaying marketing messages on the terminals."

(pp. 121-2, '50 Best Business Ideas that Changed the World' - Ed: Ian Wallis - Jaico

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