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OKI and the Changing Times

Part 15: Development of the ATM Series and Its Ensuing Evolution and Revolution

Soon after delivering online cash dispensers to Fuji Bank in 1970, OKI succeeded in developing the world's first cash recycling ATM (Automated Teller Machine), thereby establishing its ATM business as a major business pillar. In 2009, OKI announced a new cash recycling ATM capable of handling banknotes from multiple countries. As a leading manufacturer of ATMs, OKI subsequently expanded its ATM sales across the world, from Asia to Europe.

Third-generation online systems and ATMs

AT-100 series ATM, the world's first
to offer a cash recycling function

The online systems used by financial institutions evolved during the 1980s, advancing to the third generation of products. The new systems offered revamped features and functions to help consolidate management information and bolster the sales and revenue management functions of information systems. Previously, the information systems departments of financial institutions had played the leading role in systems design. Starting with third-generation systems, vendors assumed responsibility for system design. This change compelled OKI not just to supply hardware, but to maximize its ability to suggest and propose systems to its clients to meet their sophisticated requirements. OKI did this by distributing and strengthening the functions of its terminal controllers and by incorporating the latest network architectures.

OKI continued to promote innovation and original developments in the domain of ATMs, the products that played such a pivotal role in streamlining bank operations. The AT-100 series was one symbolic achievement resulting from these development activities. This ATM was equipped with a cash recycling function to use deposited bills as funds for withdrawal. Soon after its introduction in 1982, this ATM series gained a color display and various new functions, including fund transfer and envelope-handling functions. In 1986, OKI developed the AT-200, a model that added the capacity to provide fund transfer transaction service, handle coins and issue bankbooks, among other new functions. Through such developments, OKI helped drive the evolution of multifunctional ATMs.

Capturing the leading market share with always-available ATMs

Acclaim for the AT-300
series as new-generation ATMs

What later became known as the bubble economy began expanding in Japan in December 1986. The growing economy compelled companies to improve working conditions to recruit new employees. This included the adoption of the five-day workweek by the corporate world, including financial institutions. These trends, in turn, sparked demand for extended access to ATMs and the following ATM functions: nonstop operational capabilities, improved security, improved user interfaces, and expandability. Introduced in 1992, the AT-300 met all these demands.

OKI met these four needs and improved the ATM's cash-handling capabilities by developing a cash replenishment/collection feature capable of operating reliably and without interruption. It introduced a no-touch cash management system to improve the user interface and to tighten security. The cash replenishment/collection function automatically replenished funds for withdrawal when cash in the machine began running low. It also collected surplus funds when deposited cash began to accumulate without affecting convenience for the patron using the ATM. OKI also pursued the development of a "cash-in-drawer" management function, an automatic scanning function that controlled the total number of banknotes held in the machine and the number of banknotes of each denomination, as well as the development of an automatic counting function, a function that provided an up-to-date count of the number of banknotes of each denomination stored in the ATM in real-time.

ATMs through the AT-200 series represented the first generation of cash recycling ATMs. The AT-300 series marked an entirely new generation of ATMs offering notable improvements in operational efficiency, compact dimensions, and processing speeds. The AT-300 was well-received and created major market impact, winning many new customers for OKI. OKI's ATMs enjoyed rapidly expanding market share and went on to become one of OKI's major business pillars.

Building worldwide trust in ATM market places

The ATM-Recycler G7 cash
recycling ATM for overseas markets

With the advent of the 21st century, OKI began focusing on expanding its ATM sales in Asian markets, including the Chinese and Korean markets, seeking to build on its achievements as a leading ATM manufacturer. In 2009, OKI introduced a revolutionary ATM designed for the global market. Named the ATM-Recycler G7, the new cash recycling ATM handled banknotes from various countries differing in size, typefaces, and security features with aplomb.

In 2010, the ATM-Recycler G7 passed the test mandated by Article 6 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1338 set forth by the European Central Bank. The Article lays down a framework of the European Central Bank for detecting and removing counterfeit notes, tracing counterfeit users, and isolating damaged banknotes unsuitable for circulation to ensure the quality and reliability of Euro banknotes circulating in countries inside the euro zone. Central banks of all nations in the euro zone apply this standard test to all vendors who manufacture banknote processing systems to confirm compliance with the standards set under the framework. Passing this test marked global acknowledgment of the quality and performance of OKI's ATMs.

In 2011, an upgrade introduced by OKI quadrupled the number of banknote types handled by the ATM-Recycler G7 from 32 banknote types to 128. Other new functions included coin withdrawals, the capacity to read and write contactless IC cards, and barcode reading functions. With the goal of becoming the leading ATM manufacturer not just in Japan but worldwide, OKI continues to tackle new challenges in its ATM business.

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