We live in a world where varying forms of automation are being introduced at every turn. In on our homes, in our vehicles, in stores, in restaurants, and the list goes on. While the trend isn’t all that new, it is a trend that is gaining velocity in terms of breadth of application and acceptance levels.
For decades automated teller machines (ATMs) have existed. These machines changed the banking industry by replacing bank tellers for simple transactions with machines. ATM machines have become common place and exist in banks and other areas where commerce takes place.
In more recent times, grocery store checkout lanes have become ‘automated’ in the same way ATMs automated interaction with a bank teller. The automation occurred on the customer service side. What was once a person was transformed into a computerized system that enabled service delivery through the customer’s interaction.
Airports, sit-down and fast food restaurants, theaters, government agencies, parking garages, and a host of other commonly visited places are using kiosk terminals as an alternative to having a staff member present. This is a trend that is not going away.
How does an investor get skin in the game? Great question. One company that has long dominated the ATM market and is the premier computerized kiosk system provider is the NCR Corporation (NCR). NCR operates a hardware, software and services segment that encompasses the full scope of operations for maintaining point of sale/kiosk based infrastructure. When you research the company you will see they are a heavyweight in the segment.
The company isn’t all that sexy, but it has a foothold in an area in the market that is expanding. Being prepared at the right place at the right time is over half the battle when achieving success.