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ATM Security: Is 24x7 'remote surveillance' system the answer?

The new security system from Axis Bank, dubbed 'alert-based surveillance', uses CCTV and sensors for contact, smoke and vibrations to send an alert of suspicious activity at the ATM. But can this 'remote security' really protect the customer?


With Automated Teller Machines or ATMs becoming very important points of service for banks, new technology is being leveraged to provide enough safety at ATMs. After the chilling assault and theft in a Bangalore ATM, there had been widespread calls for improved security for customers.

Most banks are reportedly trying out and migrating to a remote surveillance based security system, thus discarding the physical presence of security guard posted at every ATM centre. Even though the remote surveillance system is in its early stages and public sector banks have only just invited tenders for the pilot project, Axis Bank has already announced a wide application of this new technology.

“Under the e-surveillance facility, the ATM premises of Axis Bank will be monitored 24x7 from a centralized security operation centre. An immediate alert will be activated in case of detection of any unauthorized activity at the ATM site,” said Rajiv Anand, Group Executive and Head of Retail Banking at Axis Bank.

This new security system, dubbed 'alert-based surveillance', uses CCTV and sensors for contact, smoke and vibrations to send an alert for any suspicious activity at the ATM, to a centralised security cell. The staff at this centre would verify the alarm by either video feed or using two-way communication using specially installed speakers. If the threat is seen as credible or some crime is detected, local police stations would alerted and the video of the crime is recorded as relayed.

Axis Bank or any other banks have not themselves disclosed the specifics of how their chosen systems work, for security reasons, but the above system is among others on offer from private security services providers.

The Beverly Police Department in its guidelines on ATM safety says, a CCTV camera should be installed behind a one-way mirror slightly above the machine, which would allow the user to see who is behind them. “Ideally, CCTV cameras should also monitor approaches to the ATM. Doing so provides a greater opportunity to indentify someone engaged in illegal activity. Also ATM installations should be located in well lighted areas with lighting that cannot be extinguished 'after hours',” the documents reads.

According to the Bank Administration Institute, the most dangerous hours for ATM crime are from 7:00pm until midnight, when approximately 40% of ATM-related crimes occur. This highlights the need to have a CCTV surveillance not only inside, but outside the ATM as well with special care on keeping the area well lit.

Axis Bank said that this feature will is currently to be applied at 2,000 out of their 13,000 ATMs and would be extended to all others in the future. The Economic Times reported that, “Four large to mid-size state-owned banks including the Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra collectively floated tenders for about 10,000 ATMs in the past month.” This new system is expected to reduce costs of security at ATMs and also the manpower needed if guards are used instead of this new technology.



Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

Certainly remote surveillance works better than having human guards convert ATM cabins into air-conditioned sleepover rooms and parking spots for luggage and other stuff. But surveillance of ATMs is more than just video cameras, smoke detectors and motion detector alarms.

Surveillance should also include -

1) Warnings on sudden changes in ATM usage patterns.

2) Dye and scent release on currency notes inside the vault / cartridge / cassette of the ATM in case of any issues.

3) Surveillance during stuffing of currency notes.

Rajan R G

2 years ago

This is better than having a human security guard. During the crime, the either security guard is injured or murdered sometimes. The security guard is just for a sake and mostly they will be old people. Why should we risk the people, instead try for better techno friendly surveillance.

Pulse Beat

Hospitals May Be Injurious to YOUR Health
“Recent research reveals 210,000 lives are lost each year by preventable hospital errors! If you choose to include diagnostic errors, failure to follow proper guidelines and omission errors, the number climbs to 440,000 preventable deaths each year. Turns out that these errors are the third leading cause of death in the US, immediately after heart disease and cancer,” writes Mike Adams, editor of Naturalnews.

A problem peculiar to hospital environments is the possible presence of super-bugs. Due to exposure to antibiotics and medicines over long periods of time, bacteria and pathogens evolve to become resistant to these antibiotics. it becomes very difficult to treat  a patient who contracts a super-bug in a hospital.

Western Medicine Needs To Move Away from Its Normative Approach
Writing in the International Journal of Evidence-based Health Care (2006: 4: 180-186), Dave Holmes, Stuart J Murray, Amélie Perron and Genevieve Rail argue that evidence-based health system is “...outrageously exclusionary and dangerously normative with regards to scientific knowledge. As such, we assert that the evidence-based movement in health sciences constitutes a good example of micro-fascism at play in the contemporary scientific arena.” They go on to show “how health sciences are colonised (territorialised) by an all-encompassing scientific research paradigm—that of post-positivism—but also and foremost in showing the process by which a dominant ideology comes to exclude alternative forms of knowledge, therefore acting as a fascist structure.”

Science and Non-science
We are still groping in the dark when it comes to randomised controlled trials (RCTs). For example, common sense tells us that giving beta-blockers perioperatively can only be foolish; it is not a matter of RCTs being misunderstood. Surgery is a big stress to even normal human bodies. Our only defence against stress is our autonomic nervous system which helps us survive in a fight-flight-fright situation. Blocking such a protection in a “closed systems human biology” could be inviting disaster. No wonder, thousands of lives are lost in the bargain. But deaths are only a statistic for the pharma lobby; profit being their God. I have a gut feeling that giving beta-blockers in heart failure does not stand logical scrutiny. In a closed system, if you block the beta-receptors in the heart, they are immediately replaced by the body’s wisdom to keep the heart going. In case the patient misses the doses for a day or so, the suppressed receptors get reactivated making too many receptors active. The tired horse, the heart, gets whipped up to bring on arrhythmias. I know the ‘wise’ people will say that the RCTs have shown otherwise! Luckily, I do not think RCTs are ‘science’.

Tissue Engineering
Tissue engineering and organ growing operations are leaving the realm of science fiction and are becoming reality. The future of life-saving organ transplants hinges on organ farming technology which uses a patient’s own tissue.

Remarkably, this process is working.  The artificial bladder, or any other organ, is derived from a patient’s own cells and grows around a scaffold. In stage-two testing, one company has already implanted the neo-bladder into patients and studied how their body reacts and adapts. Between five and seven weeks, the organ grows around the scaffold.


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