ATM Migration Strategy Crossroads: Windows 10 or Next Gen Architecture or Both?

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Microsoft has announced an end-of-life date for its Windows 7 operating system. By January 14, 2020, technical assistance and automatic updates that help protect ATMs running Windows 7 will no longer be available, forcing financial institutions (FIs) and many independent ATM deployers (IADs) to spend a great deal of money to upgrade hardware and software. There is even a sunset date for WinCE coming up in 2023, so IADs running WinCE operating systems on their ATMs will also need to rethink their future migration strategies. The migration to Windows 10, coming just six years after the migration to Windows 7, seems to lack a clear business case for many in the industry.

Technical expert, Eric de Putter, of Payments Redesign, estimates in a research paper commissioned by the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) that the total cost of upgrades associated with the next migration could exceed $5 billion USD globally.

Analyzing Roadblocks to ATM Industry Growth & Innovation

Both FIs and IADs are increasingly frustrated by recurring operating system upgrades, reduced support for central processing units (CPUs) for ATMs and software stack complexity which can limit innovation. In addition, rapidly changing ATM economics, such as fewer cash withdrawals per ATM in some mature markets, demand cost-effective software solutions that allow for adding more functionality at the ATM for consumers. Migration costs hamper investment in much-needed innovation.

These seemingly endless migration and upgrade cycles are not sustainable. A new software paradigm is urgently needed for the ATM industry.

Moving the ATM Forward

In response to industry feedback, last year ATMIA organized The Consortium for Next Gen ATMs, an alliance made up of more than 180 organizations worldwide, covering all sectors of the ATM value chain, to help define the vendor-agnostic architecture for an API App model of next generation ATMs. The next gen ATM model will enable the industry to break out of these migration cycles. In addition, ATMIA is looking to define an industry approach to the Linux solution for the next migration which is to run Windows 10 on a virtualized Linux environment.

This is both a very challenging and a very exciting time for ATM deployers. Moving to a vendor-agnostic next gen architecture is the way to go for our industry. However, the problem of the 2020 migration will need to be resolved and the Linux virtualization solution is being fully explored by key stakeholders as I write this blog.

Our goal is to try to save ATM operators money on hardware replacement costs and to push the industry towards becoming vendor-agnostic. The new architecture also creates opportunities for innovation and for the introduction of additional functionality at the ATM. It will provide the industry with a new level of flexible; enabling ATMs to link to mobile phones to get cash and a wide range of value-added services for consumers.

Fortunately, time has conspired to bring about two massive industry projects within the same time frame. The first implementations of next generation ATM architecture are expected as early as 2019. Each migration considered on its own has massive implications for the industry, but to find an optimal path forward, the Windows 10 migration and Next Gen ATM architecture must be examined together.

To help FIs and IADs decide which operating system is best suited to their long-term goals and their bottom line, ATMIA in conjunction with award-winning payments consultant Eric de Putter, has produced a new white paper, Dual Migration to Windows 10 and Next Gen ATM Architecture. The paper, available to ATMIA members for just $150 USD and non-members for $300, analyzes the convergence of these two industry-wide migrations and assesses the potential of combining both into one strategy.

To purchase the paper, click here.

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