Friday, October 5, 2012

State Bank of India to transform 2500 ATMs as Talking ATMs

Dear Colleagues,

Wonderful news for all our blind brethern. State Bank of India - the largest public sector bank in India with established reach in rural India will transform over 2500 Bank ATMs to Voice guided ATMs (Talking ATMs) that will benefit the visually impaired users. Earlier Union Bank of India has launched its talking ATMs.

Here is the news report from Biztech2.com


Supporting RBI’s objective of providing financial accessibility to every citizen in India irrespective of his or her disability, NCR Corporation, the ATM service provider, will transform over 2,500 State Bank of India (SBI) ATMs to Voice-Guided ATMs -- which not only allows access to visually impaired people but also people with physical disabilities through ramps for wheel chair access. SBIs first real ATM for the visually impaired was showcased at Antarchakshu, a sensitisation workshop, organised by Xavier's Research Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

NCR's Talking ATMs are incorporated with unique software and hardware features which ensure that a person with a disability can operate the machine on his own, while maintaining the safety of the transaction. These ATM machines are designed as per Access for All (AFA) standards and comprises of accessible key pads, voice-guidance technology, Braille stickers and multi-lingual capability. Apart from reading aloud screen messages, the machine also provides complete orientation making it easy for the customer to use the machine. An important security feature of this ATM is that it provides the person an option to blank out the screen as a safety mechanism to avoid shoulder surfing by any by-stander trying to access customer data during the transaction.

Nagesh Nayak, Professional Services Practice Manager, NCR said, “We are proud to partner with SBI which is India’s largest banking and financial services company to upgrade their ATMs for the disabled. As a concerned corporate, NCR is constantly reinventing innovation for the Indian market place and this specialised ATM is a clear reflection of it. Indian banks and financial institutions are quickly realising the need to adopt self-service technologies to include the millions of differently-abled people into the financial stream and NCR is committed to helping these institutions by providing technologies that are conceptualised, created, and manufactured in India.”

The NCR Talking ATM uses a text-to-speech engine which allows voicing-out the text on the screen in multiple languages for consumer convenience. Instead to issuing Special Cards for the customers with disabilities since it can become difficult to maintain track of whether the correct card has been issued, SBI has chosen to make its existing ATM network, AFA compliant by simply customising their existing ATM software stack and upgrading the hardware configuration of its ATM fleet.

India has one of the largest visually impaired populations in the world and hence the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its circulars in 2008 and 2009 stated that all banking services including ATM cards need to be offered to customers with disabilities without any discrimination.

At the Antarchasku event, Dr. Sam Taraporevala, Director of XRCVC said, “For the XRCVC it is a very proud moment to witness the roll out of a large number of SBI ATMs. Antarchakshu at JNU New Delhi, has the privilege of hosting one such ATM. The event will go a long way at creating the necessary awareness and sensitisation so necessary to promote financial, educational and employment opportunities.”

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