If we look back, it all started more than six years ago. A major bank needed a solution to bring the control of peripheral devices to a quasi-standardized platform. Cost and risk minimization were the budgetary requirements; flexibility, security, and hardware independence were the technical requirements for this job. The first peripheral we worked on was the automated cash drawer (known as AKT) which was to be hardware-independent and separately controllable from the teller's switch.
This interesting task raised the question of whether we should develop a product that meets the customer's requirements and be usable with other customers and applications or a custom solution for according to a AKT specification still to be determined by the customer and the equipment manufacturers. The decision was made in favour of the product variant which would both meet the AKT specifications and offer features for controlling additional peripherals such as printers, scanners, EC cash devices, etc.
The focus remained on the primary application of cash handling, but other applications became conceivable. Besides the typical transactions such as deposits and withdrawals, status requests and administrative functions are also highly relevant in other applications.
This gave birth to the Web Device Controller (WDC). What sets this product apart from existing device controllers? The name says it all: Web DC—for the first time, a device is not detected by an application, rather as a service based on open communication standards.
As reported in a previous newsletter, WDC supports the objective of simplifying the consistent use of service-oriented architecture (SOA).
Functions and Features
Concept and Design
Concepts of future applications that use the input/output of information, deploy equipment are serviced by WDC. Device-specific skills are no longer necessary—access and results are designed and processed at the business function level.
Infrastructure and Integration
WDC allows devices to be integrated into your infrastructure with just one network connection. Additional components are not required. Configuration management allows WDC integration to be customised to your needs and equipment.
Rollout and Operation
The entire operating cycle is supported, including commissioning, configuration changes, software updates and monitoring. WDC provides the necessary information and mechanisms to the current standard tools for software distribution and monitoring.
Safe and Protected
Security is an essential operational requirement when handling money and customer data. WDC can be fully integrated into your existing security concept by relying on established standards and procedures. An external, independent penetration testing has confirmed the high quality of the internal WDC safety concept.
State of the Art
New requirements for security features, regulatory requirements, such as data for statistical evaluations (ECB requirements) or the new 5-euro notes are incorporated into the product development and keep the application free of otherwise necessary software enhancements. Additional features for other applications are available and allow a wider use of the application beyond its origins in the banking sector.
Expandable and Combinable
WDC allows multiple devices to be treated as one logical device and thus presented as a service to the business application. For example, the banknote AKT and a coin recycler are available as a combined device. The application handles the equipment from the business point of view as a single system and sends the commands to the WDC. The ETIC provides for the corresponding hardware mapping internally.
Rollout at a major bank on more than 700 systems
Over 700 cash recycling systems with integrated WDC made by a large German manufacturer are now in use. The administrative options (automatic installation and update service) and the decoupled evolution of switch/POS application have allowed the bank to save hundreds of thousands of euros. The reliability and the management of the systems are further points that contribute to the optimization of AKT.
Use in a variety of self-service scenarios
Government offices, universities, public transit systems and motorway service areas are using our CETIS cash handling system as well as WDC technology to control large coin counters, other cash recyclers and special peripherals such as EC cash terminals. The concept allows the end user to view transactions and the entire cash handling process regardless of the device used. The management and handling of different business applications, various types of equipment and required capacities demonstrate the successful and versatile application of the Web Device Controller.
Combined Device Control in Retail
Device control in the retail environment is always challenging. Security and stability are also top priority here. The use of small cash and coin recyclers in retail is an alternative to the usual cash drawer. The customer puts money directly into the device and also receives change from the same device.
This provides helps prevent cashiers from accepting counterfeit bills or miscounting money and provides immediate, safe storage of the monies received. WDC makes this possible. The POS application at a convenience store chain uses the device combination for all payments in and out. WDC takes on the complete responsibility controlling the devices. Extensions for scanners or other devices (such as customer displays) are also handled by the WDC. A clear concept that keeps interface discussions to a minimum and is open for extensions or changes.
The success story goes on. Cash management, which includes optimal control of cash flow, is another plus of the WDC product. WDC links the device and status information and provides this information as a service to the various participants in the cash management environment. For example, CIT (cash in transit) providers are given early warning when a cash strongbox is depleted or exchange or management can decide to switch devices to optimise banknote usage.
The Web Device Controller is a proven, open product which will offer users further device control applications.
Would you like to learn more? Then talk to us, we look forward to it!