Mobitex Technology - Solutions - Case study

Banksys, Belgium

When you need cash for a taxi or to make an unplanned purchase, the last thing you want to see is an out-of-service message on the ATM. In Belgium, however, such messages are becoming less frequent thanks to a new field service application developed by Banksys in cooperation with RAM Mobile Data and software designer Quinsy.

Belgium: Cash more readliy avalible

Banksys is a Belgian company that specializes in the installation and maintenance of cash-dispensing ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) and various kinds of payment terminals for service stations, restaurants and small retail outlets, as well as larger stores. The company is responsible for operating the electronic payment network (Bancontact/Mister Cash) in Belgium and designs and manufactures terminals for the system. Banksys has also developed Proton, a cash card system for smaller purchases that includes cash-issuing terminals. Banksys has some 50,000 customers and is responsible for more than 70,000 terminals nationwide.

The company's more than 80 service technicians thus have many customers to serve in a wide variety of locations. Most of the technicians working with ATM maintenance face guaranteed response times of 2 to 24 hours. This means that they frequently must respond to a service call for an ATM that takes precedence over a scheduled work assignment. Rapid dispatching of service orders is also essential for Banksys' ability to meet its service level commitments to customers.

When Banksys decided to evaluate new alternatives for dispatching and supporting its field service technicians, RAM Mobile Data was a logical partner. The Belgian Mobitex network offers nationwide service with guaranteed capacity, reliability and quality. RAM business partners, such as systems designer Quinsy, were also well equipped to meet Banksys' requirements.

Successful pilot
A pilot project involving five technicians was started at the end of 1997. In February of this year, this number was expanded to 75 technicians, who now use a portable PC with a Mobitex modem and software specially developed by Quinsy. The initial application focuses on dispatching and acknowledgment of work orders.

Technicians are distributed throughout various sectors, including banking, service stations, distribution and third-party maintenance. A dispatch department is responsible for efficient scheduling. For ATMs, for example, a technician is not sent out for every technical fault. A Tandem computer registers all faults in the ATMs managed by Banksys in real time and determines whether the incident requires intervention by a service technician. The system first runs a diagnostic test to determine if a bank card is stuck in the ATM and then transmits the status and location of the machine to the supervision department via the Banksys Network. Staff at this department can access the defective machine and correct most faults remotely.

Some 23,000 calls are processed each month, with only about 15 percent requiring intervention by a technician. In these cases, the supervision department alerts the dispatch department by e-mail, which is forwarded instantaneously over the Banksys Network.

The technician selected by the dispatch department to handle the call receives all relevant information on the portable PC via the Mobitex network from RAM Mobile Data. This information includes the type of machine, customer data, opening hours and the terminal's "case history." When the repair has been completed, the technician enters the number of kilometers traveled, the actual service time, spare parts used, actions performed and any information to be forwarded to the customer.

The speed advantage
"Communication via the Mobitex network is quick and effective, and we are also very satisfied with RAM Mobile Data's efficient service," says Marina Bollens, internal IT manager at Banksys, who adds that the company intends to further develop the application. Desired functions to be added to the system include assigning work orders to technicians automatically, based on such factors as distance to destination and work load.

The technicians are also very pleased with the new application, reports Marina Bollens. "This is the first time that users have contacted us to express their satisfaction with a new system. Speeding up communications is perceived as a major advantage," she says.

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