Something from last year’s CES 2011


I stay at Mandalay Bay these days.  This is a photo of something I saw last year while at CES 2011.  (Yes, only an entire year late to post.  Sigh.)

    Given that the dialog box format is that of Windows XP, and it’s in an appliance, I’m pretty certain that it’s based on Windows XP Embedded.  Not terribly surprising considering the number of embedded systems out there running on our software.  ATMs, kiosks, digital signage, casino games, video telephones, etc. all run on Windows XP Embedded.
    This is the thing that surprised me:  The casino ticket redemption system used Microsoft Visual FoxPro as it’s local database – probably version 9.  I know that xBase applications have been popular for a very long time but in a relatively new bill changing/ticket redemption system?  (Recall that ticket-based gaming has only really been going on in the last 5 years or so)

Of course I told the cashiers about the failed system.  Based on the fact that it couldn’t make a temp file, I would hypothesize that the drive was likely full.  Maybe something was misconfigured in the logging/event system or the database has somehow grown too large.

But it led me to looking into the companies that build ATMs on Windows Embedded in general.  I used to work with the financial services industry and had 4 banks that all used Windows Embedded based ATMs.  Yes, they were on an Active Directory domain, and yes, they all ran Windows ATM software.  But I never knew the breadth of ATM solutions out there since it was never something I needed to research.

Then I found this.  Look at this list.  Wow:

Names like Wincor Nixdorf and NEC stick out.  I also know that there are some big names in the ATM industry that are NOT listed on the above link that use Windows Embedded.  I’m kinda curious as to why there’s no entry for them.  Probably because they don’t need the publicity – the companies I’m thinking of are huge and probably don’t need it.

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