The ATM turns 40 in June of this year, and to celebrate, a Cheshire company is rolling out a new kind of ATM that's more than just a cash dispenser, but does it do too much?
The new "Max Box" ATMs feature two screens and include a digital shop and games. So, they're a bit like a really big Nintendo DS... that spits out cash. Awesome, right? Felix Group, the makers of the Max Box, seem to think so:
"With the MAX BOX you can do more than just withdraw cash. You can instantly print digital photos, order flowers for next day delivery, play interactive Sudoku, top up you mobile and download ringtones, games and other mobile content.
The MAX BOX also has a digital jukebox facility that carries a staggering three million digital tracks - including every UK top 40 hit since charts began. In addition the kiosk streams third party advertising, runs sales promotions and can turn any host venue into a free Wi-Fi hotspot."
These Max Boxes will be appearing in retail and leisure areas around the UK, but will people really use them? Mobile top-ups aren't a new thing on ATMs, but a jukebox? Sudoku? Now, this hack isn't sure about every one else, but he certainly doesn't like standing around waiting for notorious "balance checkers" to finish their extended visit to the ATM while the queue grows ever longer, let alone waiting on some berk working out where to put the '9' in that infernal game that makes everything think they're intelligent.
And if history is anything to go by, the ATM is a delicate machine to be fiddling with. There was a time, so folklore tells, when the ATM would dispense its cash prior to returning the owner's card, leading to a wave of abandoned cards. Of course, now, you have to wait for what you want. So is adding a swathe of new features such a good idea?
WiFi's always nice, provided it's not connected to the money side of the machine... oh that would be hilarious, wouldn't it? A jukebox would be cool in bars too, provided it was accessible separate from the ATM part.
The HEXUS stance: Felix better watch what it does with the trusty old ATM, but if they're careful, the Max Box might take over the world.
Felix Group's press release.