Three new ways to recharge minutes with money everywhere

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You spoke. We listened.

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Responding to customers of the Workplace Solution needing to recharge minutes on their phones, Ganart Technologies has released a suite of three new services:

International Pin-less Recharge Minutes

Allows the creation and reloading of a pin-less account directly from any workplace who has a Ganart ME kiosk. Less than two minutes during break or lunch and you’re set! No additional pin codes to enter. Use your existing phone to make inexpensive international calls. As low as 1.5 cents per minute.

Need to call Grandmama but do not have the cash today? Just use Money Earned as your payment source and give Grandmama a call.

Domestic Mobile Phone Top Up

Now you can add funds on your pre-paid mobile phone recharge minutes from any one of our kiosks. This service covers the four top pre-paid carrier networks in the US. No more trips to the store when you run low. You can even use a Money Earned as your payment source.

International Mobile Phone Top Up

Adding recharge minutes to mobile phones around the world just got easier. Simply pick the country from the list of almost 100, and then carrier within the country, then enter the phone number to add funds to and choose the amount of dollars to add call minutes. That’s it.

Whether it’s Uncle Mario in Mexico or Auntie Jennie in Jamaica, you can keep them calling by adding minutes from the convenience of your workplace. No lines, no worries, NO FEES and with Money Earned as a payment source option….NO PROBLEMS!!!

Check back often to our site and our blog. There are many more features and services coming soon.

Three new services tested successfully

I was informed the Ganart team developed, deployed and tested three new services on the Ganart TaaS® platform: International Pinless Minutes, Domestic (US) Mobile Top Up and International Mobile Top Up. This was validated this morning by successfully completing multiple transactions across all three services in our sister company’s Humanetics production facility in Dallas. I would like to congratulate the entire Ganart team on demonstrating why we are a force to be reckoned with.

Thank you. Please keep up the good work.

Best regards,

Art Holbrook

Palm scan security for customers and faster money service

We debuted palm scan security for our clients early last week. The same week, Wayne McHugh and I had to visit one of them – Ennis Safety. They have been a client for over a year and are heavy users of the money everywhere machine. The touch screen of the machine had to be replaced due to a malfunction.

Tracy Mendez, Head of HR of Ennis Safety waited with us to get the machine back up and running. She got our bulletin about palm scan security as an option to PIN entry for Money Earned.

Money Earned is the most popular service at Ennis. It lets a worker get a portion of unpaid wages before payday, without debt, for a modest fee. We actually got a couple of queries from workers walking in asking “Is it going to be working today?” and “what time will it be ready?”.

Thus, we got the screen removed and reinstalled pronto. We then tested it with Tracy logging in. She got a Money Earned in less than 30 seconds.

At the end of her transaction it asked if she’d like to upgrade to palm scan security to replace her PIN. She touched “yes” and scanned her palm three times. She got the success window and receipt for the transaction. Then she logged out.

We asked her to log back and try for another Money Earned, in which she did. All she had to do this time was enter her employee number and then scan her palm. She was in the system immediately. She got another money earned and was done in less than 15 seconds.

Tracy liked the fact that it was faster. She also said that when workers lose their PINs, that they take company time getting a new one. She wants all of the employees to go for the palm scan security.

“Hey, I like that. That’s better.”

She then asked an employee in the break room to come over and enroll in palm scan security.

He followed the onscreen process. As we watched we saw that he got his hand placement pretty well but not as perfect as I would have done it. It was still a successful scan. He then logged out.

She then asked him to go and try a Money Earned. He touched in his employee ID. It prompted him for a palm scan security check. He put his hand in the scanner and BAM, he was in.

He turned around and said “Hey, I like that. That’s better.”

We’re hoping that more will adopt the palm scanning feature. We have already seen a steady adoption over the last few days since we offered it.

To aid in adoption we created this short video that plays on the upper screen of some of our machines. We have a version in Spanish and English.

Customer self service security using palm scanning for transaction speed and security

In our world of customer self service, security and the ease of use, without compromising  compliance requirements, has been going through a build-test-build cycle.

It resulted in a high level of customer adoption of Ganart’s self-service technology.

Since our recent software upgrades and technology enhancements to our TaaS platform, we’re now able to steadily upgrade our customer security, in turn, enriching our KYC (know your customer) database to better service our customers.

It’s a given – technology enrichment is extremely valuable for better customer service.

If we only have to prompt the customer to give information based on the transaction service requirement need, the customer just has to recall only the necessary information once, to fulfill the service they are consuming.  We take that info and build a secure KYC file on them for future transactions, cutting down on their transaction input repetitiveness. The result is a fast transaction and a happy customer that comes back to the me machine.

Customer self service security. Yes, it works.

One such feature that we have as part of our patent pending self service enrollment is an optional advanced palm scan technology to enhance security of a customer account. With this feature a workplace customer will now be able to super secure his account using palm scan if he opts in.

Self service security upgrade enrollment
customer self service security

We spoke to our customers and we found that this is a welcomed upgrade as they no longer need to remember their security code.  We found too that prompting the customer to upgrade their security at the end of a transaction is better received than to have them go through a forceful or interruptive upgrade before they make their transaction. Once they scan in, they are in.

This is a WIN-WIN for both our customers and our service providers. It also helps customer support, which has now lowered the number of customer calls because a customer forgot his security code and now the identity of the customer needs to be established – an arduous compliance process that’s not speedy. Well, it’s all now resolved by using customer self service security using palm scan technology.

We’re currently in the process of applying numerous as-you-need features to our TaaS platform to increase customer adoption. In doing so it provides a means for faster and more compliant transactions to our service providers.

 

Advanced Terminal Remote Management

While we’ve been scaling up the TaaS platforms deployment, our team has been working in parallel on several remote service features.

At Ganart, we believe in standardizing repeatable processes and develop frameworks to support the automation of them. It has enabled us:

  • To focus on new initiatives and keep support calls down to the minimum.
  • Automation processes also have become very handy for our technicians.
  • A great timesaver to control and assist kiosks out in the field while techs are on call.

One such automated framework developed as part of our Terminal Management Network (TMN) is called MeCocoon. It lets us monitor, manage, control, and remotely configure endpoints as well as support escalation. We recently beta tested the framework on some of the Ganart kiosk endpoints. The results met our expectations.

MeCocoon is now being actively being used by Ganart’s customer support and production support. Some of the features include, maintain network heartbeats, get remote diagnostic information about the kiosk and the ability to remotely recycle the kiosk. With a RESTful architecture, many more features are being designed and some are in implementation phase to the TMN.

The main design parameters for MeCocoon were to maintain a simple client interface (easy adoption), highly asynchronous mode of functionality and great security. The features are assignable, subject to personnel job description, or client’s needs. The MeCocoon services work on mobile platforms too. We actively use MeCocoon this way on Android and iPhone.

What is it?

One of the common questions we face in explaining what we build is, well, “What exactly is it?”  Some people only see the kiosk.  Some people think of it as a traditional financial system.  What people don’t see is the Platform, and it is built to not be seen.

When we started this, I considered building our system on a traditional platform: J2EE.  Having worked with it before, I knew that it would provide a lot of the basic needs our systems required such as threading, lifecycle management, request dispatching, etc.  I even built an initial rudimentary server using JBoss… but was soon struggling with the vastness of the APIs and the overhead of the application server itself.  What I needed was a platform tailored for fast transactionality, easy scalability, very high availability, and a simple API.  So we created one.

Now, almost 4 years later, we have a mature base upon which we build and deliver our services and product offerings.  Our platform is tailored for processing financial transactions in a secure environment and designed for massive scale.  In addition, we are constantly improving the architecture – thinning the transactional layer for lower latency, decoupling systems for better reliability and more flexibility, simplifying and partitioning the database for easier management and improved usage… and more!

Platform and product – they go hand in hand.

Of course, the platform – cool as it is – is really just the foundation of our products.  We also have developed a set of services which can manage millions of individual users in a multi-tenant environment accessing a plethora of product services.  Users can identify themselves to the system using a variety of identification and authorization methods, including biometrics, and securely access their personal information and perform secure financial transactions.  Furthermore, the system manages a network of end terminals which access these services, and is able to deliver, add, and remove new services to the terminals “over the air”.

To this end, we’ve created terminal client software which runs on a self-service financial transaction machine (a kiosk) which interacts with the user via an intuitive touch screen-based GUI and various devices such as card readers and cash dispensers.  The terminal software is extremely flexible and can take delivery of new product services (screens, logic, and data) on-the-fly without on-site interaction.  In addition, the terminal software is designed to be “hardware agnostic” – i.e. the core is not tied to any particular hardware or operating system or device.

The Importance of the Platform

Recently, a Google engineer, Steve Yegge, posted a rant about platforms, comparing the technology stacks of Google to his previous employer, Amazon.  In that comparison, he believes that Google outshines Amazon in all but a few ways, and the most glaring way that Amazon beats Google is in the platform.  Amazon has one; Google doesn’t.  A company which focuses on the platform as a core strategy will deliver more quality products faster that the one that doesn’t.  As Yegge says:

“A product is useless without a platform, or more precisely and accurately, a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product.”

Yegge also says that Facebook understands the importance of the platform.  What started out as a basic social networking site for college kids keep track of each other has turned into one of the world’s largest application platforms.  Recently, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder) said:

“I think the story that we look back will be the apps and things that are built on top of Facebook. The past five years have been about being connecting people and the next five to ten years are about what are all the things that can be built now that these connections are in place.”

Also take a look at Yegge’s comparison of Accessibility, which he calls “The. Most. Important. Thing.” with Security.  In the financial transaction world, security is a paramount concern.  We have standards such as TR-39, PCI-DSS, and SAS-70.  These standards are there to protect people’s money, and protection almost always means to make it harder to access.

We at Ganart get it.  We are building that very kind of thing; not a social networking website, but a financial transaction network which connects everyone, banked and un-banked, with their money in a very accssible and secure way.  And, much like Facebook does on a social level, we are all about the things that can be built now that those connections are in place.