Sharjah Islamic Bank and CNS Launch First Disabled-Enabled ATM in the Middle East
Sharjah Islamic Bank plans to spread disabilities-enabled ATM machines across the UAE; CNS joins forces with Wincor Nixdorf, world’s second leading IT vendor for branch business of retail banks
CNS, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) foremost technology integrator and managed services firm, and Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB), today announced the launching of the bank’s first disabilities-enabled Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in the Middle East. Located at the entrance to the main Hall of the Al-Thiqa Handicapped Club in Sharjah, the new Wincor Nixdorf ProCash 2150 ATM was especially designed to meet the various needs of people in wheel chairs. Wincor Nixdorf is one of the two leading international vendors of IT solutions for branch business of retail banks.
With space underneath to park a wheelchair and a headphone socket for the visually impaired, the ATM allows people with disabilities to take care of their banking transactions simply and easily using a self-service system. The numeric block is arranged like that of a telephone, with the number ‘1’ located top-left. In keeping with international custom, the number 5 key has a clearly perceptible dot to help the user find his or her way around.
“The ATM machines have served us a double purpose. Not only have we become the first financial institution in the UAE to comply with the United Nation’s ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,’ we have also gained new banking services customers,” said Qassem Al Baloushi, Head of delivery channels from Sharjah Islamic Bank. “Over time we intend to spread this innovative technology to all our branches in the UAE and beyond.”
The ATM also features an external loudspeaker allowing the blind and visually impaired to activate the loudspeaker by pressing any key on the PIN keypad. When the headphone plug is inserted into the socket on the machine, the external speaker is deactivated to ensure the user’s privacy.
According to recent statistics, more than 30 million persons in the Middle East are disabled. Early this year, the United Arab Emirates was one of the first twenty countries to ratify the ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ which stresses on the need to provide protection and equal treatment in terms of public and private sector services.
“At CNS, we strive to exceed our clients’ expectations every time by providing them with the most suitable technology services and solutions based on their long term business objectives,” said Tony Alam, Managing Director of CNS. “In this case, Sharjah Islamic Bank identified a gap in the market where people with disabilities were not being fully absorbed into the financial system. In close cooperation with Wincor Nixdorf, we developed and integrated a plan to incorporate these special-use machines into the bank’s retail business.”
The ATMs are able to conduct all of the usual functions of traditional ATM including cash withdrawal, provision of data about accounts, printable account statements, payment of charitable donations and other payment options.
“We made slight modifications to our standard cash machines to make them suitable for use by the disabled. The number keys are a little larger than other machines and are slightly raised, and the function keys also feature special raised characters for the blind and visually impaired,” said Ugur Kilic, Sales Director Middle East from Wincor Nixdorf. “One of the standard features of all our self-service products is a green illuminated line on the system, indicating the relevant active component, thus making them easier to use by those with sight difficulties. Character size, graphic design and color scheme can all be customized to fit Sharjah Islamic Bank’s branding requirements.”
In addition to SIB, CNS has worked with various UAE-based government entities and banks such as the Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police, Dubai World, Etisalat, du, Dubai Internet City, the UAE Armed Forces, Ministry of Finance and Department of Finance and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affair, among others.
CNS received the 2007 Channel Customer Satisfaction Excellence Certification, the highest distinction for Cisco partners as well as a Certificate of Appreciation as a preferred Sales and Support Partner of the Dubai Police General Department for 2006 and 2007 consecutively.