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Not just cash dispensers

It’s been a good year for ATM manufacturer NCR in India. This February, the company won an order for 3,000 ATMs from the State Bank of India (SBI). That was the single-largest order by any Indian bank.

By T.V. Mahalingam | Print Edition: October 7, 2007

It’s been a good year for ATM manufacturer NCR in India. This February, the company won an order for 3,000 ATMs from the State Bank of India (SBI). That was the single-largest order by any Indian bank.

Neither NCR nor SBI will discuss the numbers. Industry experts, however, believe that NCR’s market share in the Indian ATM market is around 55 per cent. The mammoth SBI order was followed up with another “huge one” from Canara Bank, says Malcolm Collins, Senior Vice President of NCR’s Financial Solutions Division.

Collins does not reveal numbers, but lets on that the Canara Bank order is the “second-largest deal in India.” NCR is also pilot-testing half a dozen biometric ATMs for Canara Bank in rural and semi-urban areas. In fact, customising ATM technology for rural India has been an area of great focus for the company.

“When we talk about rural India, we are talking about 500 to 700 million people from diverse backgrounds. One size does not fit all. Inclusion is a key focus in India,” says Collins. To implement its vision of inclusion, NCR is working with partners like IIT-Bombay on the research front. In addition, NCR’s ASAN ATM machine, designed specifically for the Indian market with rugged features, has been doing well in the market.

Since its introduction in early 2004, more than 500 units have been installed across the country. NCR has also tied up with an Australian wireless technology company to take ATM networks to rural parts of the country using GSM networks. Considering that there are only 23 ATMs per million people in India, whereas China has 55 per million, it is little wonder that NCR counts India among its most promising markets.

The company is also using India as a base for its manufacturing activities. “Our cash-dispensing mechanism and cheque processing module on NCR ATM machines are manufactured in our plant at Pondicherry,” says Collins. But NCR’s plans for India lie beyond just ATM’s and the financial services vertical.

The company wants to make inroads into emerging verticals like retail and aviation in India. NCR is currently implementing point of sale machines for Argos (a UK-based retailer that has entered India through a franchisee agreement with Shoppers’ Stop and Hypercity Retail India). On the anvil is a deal with a major aviation player in the industry.

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