Point of sale has moved into a rich new realm, following the convergence of ATMs (automatic teller machines) and Internet technology, but just how rewarding will the experience be for consumers?"Consumers will soon be able to see full-motion video (MPEG) advertising and promotion on ATMs in Australia," according to John Deignan, managing director of Diebold Australia, which has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to supply more than 200 ATMs to service stations and convenience stores across the country.þ"This marks the first major network use of MPEG ATM machines in Australia and the most extensive use of the new information medium across the Asia-Pacific region," Deignan claimed. "This marriage between ATMs and internet technology has been inevitable, signalling the start of the next major evolution in ATM technology."Deignan said that the convenience store terminals will be vastly different to what is currently in the marketplace.þ"The large screen, the small footprint of the machine, and the extensive information and promotion capability make the 1064ix model a valuable new-generation information medium.
Diebold will supply the 1064ix ATMs, which dispense cash and present advertising and marketing messages to consumers, via 15-inch color monitors."According to Deignan, the ATMs can play full motion video, with or without audio, and can present marketing messages on the ATM screen, providing direct contact to the customer. They can also display information from CD-ROMs and can directly display in-house advertising created on high-end computer systems.þ"Value-added services available include the ability to monitor ATM status and activity, remotely update screen images and MPEG files, and diagnose and troubleshoot ATM problems," Deignan said. "The terminals will also have the potential to be Web-enabled in the near future with Diebold's OPTinet software solution."The contract is the result of a strategic alliance between the National Australia Bank (NAB), which will supply the switching and connection services; AAP Communication Services, which owns and operates the ATMs; Diebold, which will supply the terminals and maintenance; and a national service station or convenience store operator.þ"The purchase is a significant step in NAB's expansion program," said Craig McNaughton, NAB's ATM Channel manager. "We are continually increasing the range of functions and service quality available to the customer through our ATM network, and the new technology in these ATMs opens up a new era of ATM communication." Internetedge customer experience consultant Matt Harris, however, doubts whether this will in fact add value to the customer experience.þ"There seems to be some misconceived idea that consumers actually like watching advertising," he said.
"Why else would someone dream up the idea of forcing an ad upon someone attempting to execute an onerous 30-second task?"With all the personal information that banks have on customers, Harris said ads can be targeted at a customer the moment a PIN number is entered.þ"That's okay, as long as it doesn't make the customer's task more difficult or take up more time. Of course, banners on top of the screen can simply be ignored."Adam Levine of Ewards said that while there is no question the use of interactive kiosks, including in the form of ATMs, provides a unique point of presence for e-marketing, the messages need to be targeted if any advertising is to be effective.þ"The real power of these information terminals lies not in the ability to drive generic information or advertising through such channels, but rather to customize and highly target specific products, information and messaging to the current user, who is, in effect, a captive audience.þ"The particular attraction of the ATM type is that access is granted via the use of a key card or pass and PIN number, enabling the user to be identified.þAssuming there is a link back to a credit card facility, dynamic messaging technology could allow for relevant advertising to be pumped down the wire based on that individual's previous purchasing habits as seen in their credit card activity."But Levine warned that the online or direct marketing space needs to be relevant, targeted, personalized, and permission-based.þ"Mass-targeted, generic advertising at these types of kiosks is generally ineffective and often ignored," Levine said. "There is nothing more annoying than trying to see your bank balance or get access to information and being spammed with useless untargeted information."