by Mike Lee
People celebrate when they win, achieve or commemorate something special. In 2017, the ATM industry will pause to reflect on how the automated teller machine has changed the world in fundamental ways during its first half-century.
Next year, the ATM turns 50 and, at the same time, the ATM Industry Association will enjoy its 20th anniversary.
If we don’t celebrate ATMs at such a momentous milestone, it might be seen as a lack of belief or conviction in our product. We cannot expect others, whether consumers, deployers, investors or policymakers, to believe in our technology if we are not ourselves passionate about it.
Conversely, a forceful celebration next year will draw attention to the industry’s faith in itself, in the power and future of the ATM.
This is the aim of all the many activities ATMIA has planned for next year to recognize this 50/20 dual anniversary, from the production of media kits for the press to a museum section at our major industry conferences, where we will offer a walk through the history of the ATM’s evolution and the time in which it came into existence before expanding all over the world.
Three million ATMs in 50 years averages out to 60,000 per year; or 5,000 per month; or roughly 165 per day. That is one productive industry we represent!
Behind this incredible average rate of production lies the positive truth about the growing popularity of the ATM as a pioneering self-service technology: ATMs have allowed cardholders to transcend the limits of space — with convenient access to hundreds of thousands of machines, both at the branch and off-premises — and time — with terminals available 24/7, 365 days a year.
This gain in convenience by transcending the limits of space and time is a remarkable phenomenon of modern banking.
As for ATMIA itself, in 20 years we’ve grown to more than 7,500 individual members, roughly 375 new members for each year of our existence, or just over one a day from the time our association first opened its doors for business. I give thanks daily for this positive and consistent growth made possible by our members.
Accordingly, I invite you in 2017 to wear the badge of our industry with pride. There’s no shadow of doubt that this is exactly what I will be doing, along with all our ATMIA staff and, I trust, our members. One thing’s for sure, our red carpet will be rolled out for you.
See you all at the big 50/20 celebrations. Such a massive milestone will not come around for our industry again anytime soon. Let’s embrace this coming moment as wholeheartedly as we embrace the power of the ATM that brought us all here and that will take us through more generations ahead.