The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) met for the 20thtime last week in Orlando, FL. If you have never been to this event and are in the ATM industry, you are missing network connections with around 1,200 industry professionals, including international delegates from at least 25 different countries.
Keynote speaker Chris Bertish from Operation Smile kicked things off with a stirring account of his journey across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted and alone on his own raft. His goal was to raise awareness for Operation Smile, an organization focused on helping children with cleft lips or cleft palates. He encouraged all attendees to “Dream it. See it. Believe It. Achieve it.”
This conference is a great time to carry forward everyone’s goals and also to collaborate with many of the industry leaders and learn how we need to evolve and adapt to existing trends and growing technologies within the industry. The theme of this year’s conference was “ATMs and Apps: The New World of Customer Experience” and focused on the industry’s Next-Gen ATMs initiative and the world of exciting new capabilities in the self-service channel.
OptConnect has exhibited at this show for nearly a decade, and the OptConnect business started from the need of ATM Owner/Operators to gain easier connectivity at events, the need to displace expensive or unreliable DSL or POTS lines, and the growing need to outsource connectivity requirements to a trusted partner.
The ATM industry has greatly evolved to utilize the latest technologies and OptConnect’s President and CEO, Chris Baird took some time to speak in one of the breakout sessions to educate industry professionals on an essential topic of “Planning & Preparing for the 3G to 4G Transition.”
Baird spoke extensively about the improvements of cellular connectivity over the last few decades and what the future holds with the introduction of 5G and beyond. He also talked about what the improvements in cellular networks mean for ATM operators who are currently connecting their devices on 3G networks that are being phased out to make room for 5G.
While the advances are exciting, operators are going to have to deal with upgrading hardware and the associated costs and time associated to make sure they keep their ATMs operating without interruption to their service. Thankfully for all of our OpEx customers, these upgrades are included in their service and they never have to worry about additional out of pocket expenses to upgrade hardware as Carriers make improvements.
Baird closed his session with some important updates that as carriers get closer to releasing 5G, they will be required to utilize small cell technology and repurpose their existing spectrum (2G/3G bands will need to be repurposed to expand 5G abilities). All carriers will also need small cell antennas distributed on street lights, sides, and tops of buildings, etc. and a much more expansive network will then exist once carriers execute on the 5G network build-out.
Several other sessions and panel discussions brought many thoughts such as cryptocurrency offerings for ATM operators, compliance, and NFC or contactless integration for ATM’s. In short, there was sure to be something for everyone at this conference, and OptConnect is proud to sponsor and collaborate with many great partners in the industry to ensure the best resources and tools are available for the ATM Industry as a whole.
To cap off a great show, OptConnect was proud to sponsor an incredible event Wednesday evening with Cash Connect, Loomis, and ATMequipment.com as joint sponsors. The group boarded a double-decker bus and made the short drive over to Disney Springs for a private dining experience at one of the area’s best Italian restaurants followed by dessert at one of the most popular ice cream shops in Orlando, Ghirardelli.
After that, the capstone of the event was most definitely an experience for everyone at The VOID where guests stepped literally out of this world into a fully-interactive Star Wars hyper-virtual reality experience.
If you haven’t attended this event in the past, reach out to us to find out how to be more involved, and we look forward to seeing everyone at ATMIA 2020 in Houston, TX!