by Hank Schlesinger
When Nautilus Hyosung America Inc., based in Irving, Texas, recently marked its 20th anniversary in the U.S. market, the company had every good reason to celebrate. Perhaps the best thing to celebrate was Hyosung’s leading position as supplier of ATMs in America.
Hyosung’s rise to the top since entering the North American market in 1998 with its MB2000 ATM (quickly followed by the MB1000), is largely due to its popularity among independent ATM operators. As the industry grew, word spread quickly about the firm’s innovative products and service.
“Early on we were a fresh face, and there weren’t many options at the time,” said Jason Kuhn, vice president of product marketing and planning for retail at Hyosung America. “We had an attractive product at an attractive price point.”
Price is one thing, reliability another and the company made a name for itself there, too. “It didn’t take long before it became known for its unrivaled reliability and durability in the retail space,” he continued.
If Kuhn’s name sounds familiar to coin-op veterans of a “certain age,” it’s because he started out at the one-time music and games powerhouse Western Reserve Group (WRG). An operating force during the Golden Era of coin-op, the firm was among the very early adopters of ATMs in the coin-op space, eventually moving out of amusements and entirely into ATMs.
“When we got started in ATMs, we didn’t see it as an alternate industry,” Kuhn explained. “We saw it as a natural extension of what we already had with amusement devices. As revenues continued to decrease in coin-op, we were driven to look for alternate revenue streams.” By 1999, the company had sold off its other business to concentrate on growing the ATM side of things.
“So, not only is coin-op in my blood, being an ISO (ATM lingo for independent sales organization) is in my blood, too,” he said.
Coming aboard Hyosung in 2015, Kuhn saw the potential of the company’s product in the music and games industry via the durable design and ease of serviceability. Subsequent enhancements to Hyosung products have made them even more well-suited to traditional coin-op locations. “I’ve put some of my knowledge of the retail side into the design,” he explained. “We just introduced the Force unit, and I’m really proud of a lot of the operator features that save time and money.”
Among the many unique features included in the Force is an adjustable topper light with a brightness control that can be set to fit into virtually any location setting, an interior vault light for ease of servicing, and a host of mobile apps for route personnel. The company has also created a number of “how to” online videos to help route personnel deal with some of the more common problems they may encounter in the field.
As Kuhn is quick to point out, another key to the company’s success is also an emphasis on service. “We made a decision early on to provide best-in-class service,” Kuhn said. “So, we broke away from the traditional model in the financial world where there is first-line and second-line maintenance calls.” That is to say, the first person that route personnel get on the phone is able to handle virtually any problem thrown at them.
The firm currently boasts satellite offices in Charlotte, N.C; Southern California; and Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. Its Service Operations Center functions as a 24/7 monitoring and support group for Hyosung customers and field service Engineers. Additionally, there is also a Corporate Learning Center based near its Irving, Texas, headquarters that can train up to 50 technicians at any given time with satellite offices across the U.S. also providing training programs.
New Industry, New Features
According to Kuhn and other industry experts, ATMs are now a standard equipment offering in the coin-op world. Educated estimates of the percentage of operating companies now offering ATMs run far north of 60%. However, this was not always the case. “I remember when we started going to the coin-op shows, people looked at us like we were crazy,” Kuhn recalled. “But after those first couple of years, the news spread like wildfire.”
This is not surprising since many operators found ATMs to be low-cost investments compared to other equipment types. Also, some traditional coin-op operators have discovered that an ATM in a location not only increases the cashbox of games, but also the cash sales of the location itself.
Conversely, those operators who haven’t entered the ATM field may feel it’s too late to jump on the bandwagon. Kuhn rejects this thinking.
“Many of them think the opportunity has been missed, that they missed the boat,” he said. “However, there have been a lot of regulatory changes that have created opportunity. There are some folks who left locations because of the regulatory issues. So, there are opportunities there.”
Kuhn also points to continued advances in the technology that will soon create new revenue streams through new transaction sets and applications, such as gift card purchases, cash transfers, and myriad cardless transactions.
“One of my passions with the ATM business is to be able to take it to a new place and continue to grow the revenue opportunities for the operators out there,” he said. “We’re constantly trying to find the new value-added services to provide our customers with new revenue streams.”
These new functions, when they arrive, may also open up new location types, as well as increase foot traffic in a location. Only time will tell what these new features may include, but Hyosung certainly seems determined to retain its prominent spot.
May the ‘Force’ Be With You!
Nautilus Hyosung America’s latest entry for independent ATM operators is called the Force. The new, state-of-the-art unit features a 12.1” color display, capacitive touch function keys, and three-phased brightness control.
Measuring in at just 56.4” high by 15.7” wide by 23” deep, the compact unit features a 6,000- note capacity, as well as an optional camera that photographs users and stores the image with associated transaction records. The screen can also display the camera view, acting as a deterrent to attempts at thievery and tampering, while a second camera mount allows for an additional Wi-Fi connected camera for added security.
“Designed to aid ATM operator serviceability, the Force has a new vault light, eliminating the need for flashlights as maintenance or cash loads are being done,” said Jason Kuhn. “It also comes with four power cord holes, as well as additional bolt holes, allowing for maximum installation versatility and efficiency.”
The Force also includes a newly-designed wireless mounting bracket and two additional power outlets, as well as dedicated spaces for wireless modem and any other preferred devices. As company officials noted, these features are aimed at minimizing communication-related service calls caused by the merchant accidentally binding a cable or unplugging a router when in the top of the ATM performing maintenance.
Article by ReplayMag, read the official article here