The industry has been leaning even more heavily on its cash handling partners over the past few months and will continue to do so throughout 2017. As Astrosystems’ Debbie Malin explains, that places the onus on them to deliver a smooth and easy transition to new currency.
The biggest news for Astrosystems in the UK over recent months has obviously been the various changes in currency currently emerging from the Bank of England. The challenge for the experienced cash handling firm was to support its customers through as seamless a transition as possible.
“Having a new banknote added to an existing currency dataset is common practice for Astrosystems -even if it is the £5 polymer note from the Bank of England,” explained general manager Debbie Malin.
“When the note was introduced in September 2016, we had already completed the groundwork, having issued the software file to existing customers much earlier in the year. This allowed the operator time to update their machines, either themselves via GBA Talk Programming Kit, or by returning the product to the Astrosystems offices for an upgrade.
“Due to the long standing relationship with the Bank of England, and the preparation of the software file at such an early stage, the introduction of the new £5 note was seamless for many. This process was repeated for the launch of the three polymer £5 notes issued by the Scottish banks – Clydesdale, Bank of Scotland, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.”
A large part of this preparedness depends on Astrosystems maintaining a strong working relationship with organisations such as The Royal Mint, who are responsible for the controversial new one pound coin.
“We have also been working with The Royal Mint for several months, in order to prepare for the introduction of the new 12 sided £1 coin which is due to be launched in 2017,” explained Malin. “It is a very exciting addition to the British currency, and it is vital that machines operators and manufacturers have prepared their machines in order to accept these coins immediately, as from the date of release.”
In order to help facilitate that transition, Astrosystems is limiting the costs of upgrading. “In order to alleviate some of the costs involved with upgrading field machines, Astrosystems are offering the software upgrade free of charge for their current range of GBA note products, and Microcoin coin validators,” Malin explained.
“Customers have the option to carry out these upgrades themselves via a PC programming tool, or they can return the units to the well-established Repairs and Service Centre, based at the Astrosystems offices in Wantage, Oxfordshire.”
Looking ahead, Malin also has a keen insight into how the cash handling sector will develop for coin-op businesses: “The demand for compact coin validators will remain over the coming years, although there is certainly a demand for token operated mechs in the amusement sector.”