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NAB and Microsoft show AI’s potential with cardless ATM concept

23 Oct 18

National Australia Bank (NAB) and Microsoft have shown how the cloud, using cloud, AI and biometric technologies to design a proof of concept cardless ATM, developed using Azure Cognitive Services.

Customers who opt into the service would be able to withdraw cash from an ATM using facial recognition technology and a PIN.

The concept of the likely impact of data and AI inspired NAB chief technology and operations officer Patrick Wright who met with thought leaders, including senior Microsoft executives, during a tour to the US earlier this year.

“It just reinforced to me the need for banks to be simpler and faster for our customers; we want to deliver great connected customer experiences,” he says.

“Cloud technology allows us to take advantage of features and capabilities that are world-leading and enable us to deliver at pace for our customers. Working with companies like Microsoft allows us to develop concepts like this. It’s a look into what the future might hold for the way our customers access banking products and services.”

Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall adds, “Cloud computing and artificial intelligence present the opportunity for a new generation of secure, streamlined financial services to be developed and rapidly deployed at scale,

“NAB’s innovation focus is concentrated on meeting the changing needs of the customer; this concept ATM that NAB and Microsoft are working on together provides an important glimpse into the future. We believe AI will profoundly impact financial services and the sorts of solutions that banks will be able to deliver in the future.

“For a consumer-facing application such as the AI-powered ATM we’ve developed with NAB, this sort of continuous AI innovation is important. With its cloud-led approach to information systems, NAB is also guaranteed access to every Microsoft cloud-based cognitive service advance as it becomes available.”

Cloud computing plays a key role in the bank’s enterprise-wide transformation initiative, with its cloud approach supporting NAB’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.

Two recent important cloud-based initiatives see:

  • NAB become the first major Australian bank to begin to transition key workloads to Microsoft’s recently opened Azure Central region which has been designed specifically to handle national critical computing; and

  • To ensure that it has the internal skills for cloud success, NAB has also extended its Cloud Guild development programme and is working with Microsoft to boost the cloud computing skills of its people, having already trained more than 3,000 NAB employees since the programme launched in April.

The concept has been designed purely to test the customer experience of using such technology.

The ATM system, using Azure Cognitive Services, does not store images, only the biometric data, and the data is held securely on Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform; it will be erased following the experiment.

The information will be used only for the purpose of authenticating the customer and for no other purpose. Participants in the concept will not have any of their banking information connected to the system.

The concept was developed in approximately two months by a small agile team from NAB’s in-house innovation lab, NAB Labs, and technology division.