NCR launches Kalpana, an Android, cloud ATM

NCR is trying to reinvent the ATM and make it more secure with a mix of Android, thin-client techniques and the cloud.

NCR's Android based ATM, Kalpana.

NCR on Wednesday rolled out Kalpana, an Android and cloud platform that aims to rewrite the way ATMs operate.

ATMs, which run on a bevy of platforms but largely Windows, typically operate as glorified PCs. NCR estimates that 75 percent of the globe's ATMs run on Windows XP or older platforms. But these ATMs can be vulnerable to various attacks. Skimming-related fraud was more than $2 billion in 2014, according to ATM Industry Association.

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NCR's approach is to run ATM operations remotely through a thin client initially using Android. NCR's pitch is that the cloud/Android approach will be more secure, enable banks to rapidly deploy new services and cut costs. NCR's new ATMs can also adopt new versions of Android.

Cardtronics, a large ATM operator, is piloting NCR's platform.

If the thin-client pitch doesn't work, NCR is courting financial institutions with cost savings. NCR argues that Kalpana can cut the total cost of ownership by up to 40 percent because administration costs will be lower. NCR said that Kalpana can cut total cost of ownership to $540,000 from $800,000 per each 100 ATMs.

NCR said customers will run the ATM operations on their computing infrastructure, but can easily deploy security updates and remotely manage everything from support to power management. All requirements and updates are handled at the server level.

The main savings via Kalpana is that financial institutions won't have to send people out to service and manage ATMs individually.

Meanwhile, Kalpana is serving as part of NCR's software-based strategy. The company said Kalpana can deliver services to thin clients or Windows-based ATMs whether they are NCR-branded or not.

Nevertheless, it's clear NCR wants to move its thin-client based ATMs. NCR's thin-client, dubbed the Cx110, aims to stand out with a curved interface and thin-bezel as well as integrated biometrics and camera.

The end game for NCR is to create an environment where ATMs are as nimble as mobile devices when it comes to delivering new services and features.