Ask the man, who introduced to India its first automated teller (ATM) machine, about ATM security in the country, he has only one thing to say: The security is still stuck in the past.
Sunil Udupa, CMD of Securens System Pvt Ltd, a market leader in e-surveillance and burglary prevention services for ATMs, said that today ATM e-surveillance technology had progressed to the 5th generation, but almost 90 per cent of the 1.50 lakh ATMs in the country still rely on security guards to prevent robberies.
The recent spate of burglaries in ATM kiosk shows that this kind of security is not only unreliable, but also ineffective. According to Udupa, the easiest way to prevent a robbery is to convey to a robber that he has been detected.
“A burglar commits the crime because he knows he is undetected,” said Udupa. While guards may pre-empt that, burglars can easily overpower the single guard in the kiosk. The answer to this, according to Udupa, is integrating all measures that have been taken before.
“e-surveillance has come a long way since its inception, the first four generations employed everything from sirens, alarm panels coupled with telephone calls, a host of sensors and a central monitoring system,” said Udupa, “But only recently have all these elements been integrated into one single system - the 5th generation of electronic security.”
The active deterrence technology provided by the company integrates vibration, thermal and removal sensors with CCTV cameras. The result is that no one burglar has managed to circumvent all security measures. “The circumvention of one security measure is immediately noticed by the central monitoring centre and a quick response team is detached immediately. But most cases are prevented by burglars being informed that they have been detected through the two-way radio,” said Udupa.
The 2000-plus ATMs surveyed by the company is a small fraction of the whole, the number of burglaries prevented is total. “We see about 5 - 15 attempted robberies a month. And not one has succeeded,” he said.
With banks slowly recognising the effectiveness of this platform, the company is expecting a steady expansion and is already in talks for securing additional capital. Currently, almost 80 per cent of Securens’ client-banks are from the private sector with interest from public sector banks steadily increasing