The demonetisation in India has put people in a troubled state of mind. Withdrawing cash in limited quantity and standing in long queues outside ATMs without having any idea whether there is sufficient cash in the machine has become a raging concern for Indians. But using technology to cope with the cash crunch has become a popular notion.
While ATMs are being recalibrated to accommodate the new Rs. 2,000 currencies, reports of queues outside ATMs keep getting longer. Lack of proper communication on which ATMs have cash is causing havoc. Due to this, several apps and web-based services have appeared online to help people know whether the ATM near them has cash or not.
Joining the list of crowd-sourced apps is ATMBot, which is not a standalone app but seamlessly integrated within Facebook Messenger for users to quickly get the necessary information. Developed by Tamil Nadu-based Timebender Technologies, ATMBot is a chat bot that lets users track ATMs in close proximity with information about the cash status.
"We didn't want our solution to be just another crowd-sourced spreadsheet or web app, where users had to enter multiple data. With the manual entry of data arises the issue of validation and redundancy; of course, the process itself is tedious," Abishek Muthian, founder and CEO of Timebender, said in a post.
"Hence we decided to go with a Bot, which offers an intuitive interface with minimal entry points for the user to enter & receive data. In fact, the user needn't type in anywhere after an initial greeting for his choice and is fun to use," he added.
How to use ATMBot?
Open Facebook Messenger on your phone and search for "ATMChatBot". Tap to open the profile, which has a blue robot as the profile photo, and send a message. Share your location from within the app to ATMBot and pick one of the two actions: "Enter ATM data" or "Receive ATM data."
Since ATMBot is a crowd-sourced feature, add your intel on the nearest ATM status to help others along the way.
Timebender also said there are no privacy risks associated with ATMBot. It cannot read your SMS, doesn't store any data, no cookies to track the user and the conversations can be deleted by the users anytime. The startup is also looking at the options to bring ATMBot to other platforms such as Telegram, Twitter and Slack.